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Posts Tagged ‘fire’

          Last night, after work, I had a couple of errands to run downtown.  Now, if you’ve never been to Newcastle, Wyoming I can tell you right now it is usually pretty darn quiet even on a Friday or Saturday night so you can usually expect to do your errands in the middle of the week without running into anything more exciting than getting stopped by the coal trains that cut through town.  So needless to say, I was surprised to be caught in the center of something that people will be talking about all week.

          It started innocently enough with a stop at the fabric store.  All I needed was a small piece of brown fabric to finish a baby quilt for a friend but since they didn’t really have what I was looking for I took my time checking out everything else.  As I left the store and crossed the street (making sure to look both ways before jay walking) I was surprised to hear the distinct jingle of spurs running up behind me. 

          Now I have spent my entire life around cowboys and I know from experience that if things are bad enough to make a cowboy run in spurs then it is bad enough to check out what is chasing him – even if you are in the center of town.

          Turning, I came face to face with a rather handsome fellow – tall, dark and slender in faded blue jeans, large black hat, shiny silver buckle, boots and spurs but there was nothing behind him, that I could see, that was worth running from.  For a split second the insane thought crossed my mind that he trying to catch me so I flashed him a dazzling smile which he totally ignored as he ran past me to the back of a ‘well-stocked’ ranch truck.  In a single graceful leap, worthy of an Olympic gymnist he landed with one foot on the top of the back tire and propelled himself into the bed of the pickup where he dug into the large stash of tools jammed in around the big red 4-wheeled ATV in the back. 

          I was confused (and still standing there with a stupid grin on my face) but soon turned to look back in the direction he had come from and realized one of the big old buildings on main street was spewing smoke out from around the base of it.

          By now the cowboy had resurfaced from the jumble of tools in the bed of his pickup (at least I hope it was his pickup) with a crowbar in his hands.  Jumping from the pickup he raced back to the smoking building.  Years as a Boy Scout leader had trained me for such an occasion.  Like a tightly wound spring I sprung into action.  I grabbed the fire extinguisher from under the seat of my own well-stocked ranch pickup and followed him back across the street where a small crowd had started to gather.  The ‘Crowbar Cowboy’ went to work prying off the wooden front of the building (under the very large glass display windows) exposing a lot of  hot, charred wood underneath.  Obviously things had been heating up for some time. 

          But he wasn’t alone.

          Two guys from the bar next door showed up to help.  The sober one of the two had grabbed the garden hose used to wash down the beer garden and quickly started spraying water into the smoking holes in the foundation while his buddy (who had obviously started celebrating earlier in the day) kept up a steady running commentary complete with several well-chosen 4-lettered ‘sentence enhancers’ for anyone who would listen.  The really nice man who owns the hardware store across the street showed up with two brand new fire extinguishers still in the boxes which he ripped opened and started using  on the charred wood.  A lady from the beauty shop on the other side of the burning building showed up with her hair wrapped up in a towel and a very large black dog on a leash which she quickly handed over to me before running into the smoking building to check on the poor woman inside who was trying to move the large and colorful display of ladies lingerie away from the smoke rising from the vents.

          Talk about excitement and it just kept getting better!

          People stepped out from the bar across the street (drinks in hand) to get a better look while vehicles stopped in the street – their owners joining the growing crowd.  I’m not sure if it was the smell of smoke or the squeal of sirens but small children and big men suddenly appeared as if summoned by magic while the city ambulance pulled up at the intersection with it’s lights flashing and blocked traffic from the east.  Of course – as luck would have it – a very long coal train was passing through town just to the west of  us and the sound of its air horns mixed with the clang of the crossing bells, nearly drowning out the scream of the sirens from the fire trucks  which ended up having to go around town on the overpass because of the train.

          It was great!!!

          Everyone was getting into it. 

          Smoke billowed around us as the crowbar wielding cowboy tore into the charred wood with grim determination and every man with a fire extinguisher or a hose cut loose as if the whole town depended on them. 

          And there I stood – in the middle of it all with a fire extinguisher in one hand and the leash of a very large, black dog (who didn’t know me from Adam) in the other.

          Man, am I glad I stopped for fabric!

          To bad I didn’t have my camera – Damn!

          By then the firemen showed up with lights and sirens blaring and like smoke in the wind the people started to disappear.  The cowboy with the crowbar headed back to his pickup and promptly left.  Just like the Lone Ranger, he didn’t stick around for a thank-you but quietly vanished in his large Dodge pickup.  Never to be seen again.

          “Who was that masked man?  I wanted to thank him.”

          Personally, I think he got the heck out-of-town before someone asked for his name and then sued him for ripping up a building on main street.  But that’s just my opinion and since I never saw him before no one can force me to turn him in. 

         Since the excitement was beginning to wane I followed him into the sunset.  (Actually it was the alley but ‘sunset’ just sounds better)

          I still had a couple of stops to make before I headed for home – anxious to tell Hubby and our neighbor, Paul all the exciting news.  I was ready when I stepped into the house and Hubby asked why I was so late getting home.

          “Well,”  I started calmly, ticking the reasons off one finger at a time.  “I had to stop and get some fabric for the baby quilt, fight a fire on main street, buy a new charger for my cell phone and fill up the pickup with diesel fuel.”

          It’s a sure sign we’ve been married too long when my Hubby looked at me with furrowed brow and deep concern in his eyes as he said the first thing that came to mind.

          “Why did you have to get a new charger for your phone?”

                                                          Men!

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