Out here, in Redneck County, things are pretty dry. We didn't receive our annual dump of snow until March and then, POOF!
it melted with a stretch of unseasonably high temps. Normally, I wouldn't complain about this, but last summer, the hubs and I had to do a lot of landscaping to go with our new house, and this dry weather is havoc on my grass.
This is the time of year that the doofus that lives next door likes to set his lawn on fire and watch it burn. In theory, it is a controlled burn, with just enough flames to eat the brown grass and make everything emerald green. In theory.
In reality, two years ago yesterday, it was more like Mr. Hillbilly got wobbly with his brewsky, tossed a match on his lawn and drove away, while instructing his 13 year old daughter to keep an eye on the flames. He needed more beer.
Seven miles down the road, I was cavorting with my redneck parents. When I went outside that afternoon I noticed a huge black, billowing cloud in the south. I commented to my dad that some schmuck must have been a turd and started a ground fire.
Back at my place, due south, a certain hillbilly 13 year old was on the phone, gossiping like all girls her age do, about whatever boy she was currently obsessed with. As she sat there giggling, and twirling the phone cord around her pinky, the wind shifted. In my direction.
20 miles away, Mr. Hillbilly was paying for his brewsky at the local tavern. When the money in his wallet ran dry, he decided to head on home.
Missy Hillbilly eventually noticed her lawn was still brown. "What's going on?" she thought as she wandered outside to check it out. Panic struck as she noticed her yard wasn't in flames, mine was.
I have to commend Missy Hillbilly. After she noticed the flames got away from her, she did everything she was supposed to do as a 13 year old child. She phoned me. But I was still cavorting with the redneck parental unit. She ran and got help from another neighbor. She called 911. She used my hose to water the ground around my house, thereby saving my home. She saved my dog by letting him off his chain, as the flames were licking at his paws and he had no where to go.
By this point, I decided to come home. My Bug needed to be fed, and it was time to start thinking about feeding Fric and Frac as well. So, I bundled my tribe into the Redneck wagon and off we went. Due south.
When I pulled into my crescent, the first thing I noticed were all the flashing lights. At first, I thought it was my brother in-law, with his tow truck, pulling some nitwit out of my ditch. But then the sea of black caught my eye and the smell of burnt soil tickled my nose. It took a moment to realize the entire front of my property was now lost to this hot monster. Seven acres of trees protecting my home from prying eyes - lost to fire. I slowly recognized that the orange jumpsuits were actually a team of firemen stomping out the devastation.
Missy Hillbilly got burned trying to save my property. My golden retreiver was burned trying to escape. Kids toys, bikes, lawn furniture, and tools all got demolished by the licking flames. But my home was still standing, surrounded by a sea of black, smoking grass. But it was still there. And I was extremely thankful for that small miracle.
As I was assessing the damage with a fireman, Mr. Hillbilly neighbor drove up. Intoxicated. He didn't understand what went wrong. He left his kid in charge, afterall.
Justice was served that day when the R.C.M.P. arrested his sorry ass for drunk driving. And he got nailed with a huge fine from Redneck County as well as the clean up bill from the fire department. As well as the bill from the power company for having to replace three power poles.
His wife apologized after telling us it was our fault, because if I had decided to stay home that day there would have been an adult around to help her daughter fight the flames. She didn't seem to understand that her daughter never should have had
to fight the flames in the first place.
Their insurance company coughed up some money in our direction. (Turns out the Hillbilly's have had 12 fire related claims in 18 years!) But the money was not near enough to clear the devastation or replace seven acres of trees. But on the brightside, it motivated my hubs and I to build our new house that summer and destroy our yard completely. Start from the ground up, if you will.
Two years later, a new home and a new yard, I guess I should be thanking our Hillbilly's next door.
So, thank you dear Hillbilly neighbors, for being firebugs as well as raging alcoholics. My life is so rich because of it.