It’s been a few weeks since I’ve taken the time to embarass myself in front of you. (I should work on being more motivated.)
Thought you might like to hear about the time I burned down an entire barn. (I mentioned it so long ago. I was hoping you’d forget, but I’m pretty sure you didn’t.)
(I’d like to.)
I was a senior in high school. So, somewhere in between getting my senior pictures taken, filling out scholarship applications, and having a really bad case of “senioritis”…I also burned down the barn on our family farm.
Lest you think I was a 17 year old playing with matches, I need to let you know that because we lived in the country, we were allowed to burn our own trash. Quite opposite of enjoying matches, I was always afraid of the little sticks. My mom never could get me to light a candle for her in the house and I certainly never wanted to burn the trash.
But finally one Saturday, she took me out to the trash barrel with her and showed me (again) how to light a match and catch the trash on fire. I guess she figured it was one of those skills I really should learn before leaving home in a few months. So like all good daughters, I watched carefully and learned how to light a piece of a garbage on fire.
Fastforward to the following Saturday. We were cleaning house like we always did on Saturdays, but Mom started to not feel well so she went to go lay down.
I decided to keep cleaning and surprise her with a clean house when she got up. And then I decided that I really wanted to surprise her with what a brave girl I was by burning the trash all by myself. (Sounds like I was five, but really, really the burning the trash thing really freaked me out.)
So out I went with the bags of trash and the matches, working up my courage all the way to the barrel. I got the match going on the second try, which I felt so good about. The trash was now burning and Mom would be so proud.
Perhaps I should stop here and tell you that I was so concerned about the fact that I would be suprising Mom with a clean house and by the fact that I had actually burned the trash myself that I didn’t consider the fact that the wind was blowing pretty hard. Oops.
I don’t know why I chose to look outside later – probably to look out proudly at my burning trash. But look outside I did. I noticed that some of the trash had blown out of the barrel way over to the grass in front of the barn. I thought, “Hmm. That can’t be good.”
So I went out there to stamp out the “bit of fire” I had seen from the window.
(Okay…I’m starting to have stress at this point of telling the story. It’s okay, Laura. Just relax. It was years and years ago, and no one got hurt. It’s okay.)
I went out to stamp out the fire – but really – it wasn’t very stamp out-able. There were quite a few pieces of trash and the grass in front of the barn was tall and dry – and it was pretty windy. (How did I not notice the wind before?)
I decided that I’d better go wake up Mom. (This was not quite the way I had planned to surprise her.)
She was realllly groggy, so she was quite disoriented when I was trying to tell her about the trash burning by the barn. But she went out there with me and we dragged our little garden hose over to the burning patches of burning grass. The hose produced a little trickle that barely even got our hands wet. (I’m PRETTY sure we looked ridiculous holding that dinky hose with a tiny bit of water dripping out!! We laughed about that later. Much later.)
Then we noticed that the fire was spreading to inside the barn. I was kind of feeling somewhere in the middle of being freaked out and being in denial that the barn was now on fire. I mean – THIS could not be happening!
We went in and called the “fire department” which in Tiny Town USA, meant a bunch of volunteer farmers. When the first guys got there, they saw that the fire was now bigger than they could handle so they started calling all the other fire departments in all the surrounding communities.
They sent Mom and me back into the house while they worked. At this point, they decided that there was nothing they could do to save the barn so they just started to spray down all of the other buildings on our farm so that the heat from the flames wouldn’t catch them on fire too. I was in the house crying and watching the huge barn I had played in all my life be engulfed in flames. The fire was now HUGE…because that was one huge barn. And, while we actually didn’t use the barn much anymore – it was full of old, dry hay. Lots of old, dry hay. The fire was huge.
My dad, in the meantime, had been on a tractor a few miles away. He saw the smoke growing larger and larger in the direction of our house. He finally got nervous enough to get into his pick-up and come on home. The closer he got, the more afraid he got because the fire really looked like it was coming from our place. He knew Mom and I were home, and he was afraid that it was our house on fire.
So while I was freaking out and crying and panicking about what my Daddy would say when he saw that I had burned down our barn, he was just so thankful when he pulled into the yard that it was just the barn and that we were safe.
Well, I guess there’s nothing much more to tell. The barn and all the hay smoldered for about two weeks, which was a really fun and long reminder of what had happened. I called my brother, who was away at college, to tell him what had happened. The way I was crying and carrying on trying to tell him the story, he was worried that someone had died or something – so when I finally got it out that the barn had burned down – he was also relieved that it was just the barn.
And then it just gave him one more thing to tease me about… :)
So there you go.
What I’d like to know is – have YOU done anything like that will top that one? Please tell me I’m not the only one with outrageous memories and stories to tell.
Whew…I’m exhausted. ;)