This is a special memory from my own childhood.
My sister and I had walked downtown to get cherry phosphates at the drug store when we heard the siren go off. The little town in Michigan that we lived in only had a volunteer fire department. When there was a fire the phone call would go to the only gas station in town and they would blow the siren. You could hear it for miles and it would signal all of the volunteer firemen to go to the fire station.
When we heard that siren, my sister and I looked at each other. Could we have really set the backyard on fire — for the 2nd time that week? It was a Thursday afternoon in the middle of summer. The first time we’d set the yard on fire was Tuesday — two days earlier. We RAN! We did not run fast enough! The backyard was on fire and this time it had even spread to one of the old unoccupied dog sheds.
For the second time that week, we had tried to burn the trash out back. It was what you did with the trash back then and what you couldn’t burn you hauled to the dump on Saturdays. Burning the trash was a job for grownups. We weren’t supposed to do it but for some reason we had it in our heads to surprise our mom! Oh, we surprised her all right!
You would have thought we would have learned our lesson the first time but obviously not. I don’t have much memory of the first time but I sure remember that second time. I remember that fire engine coming up our driveway. My sister and I had the hose on but we weren’t getting very far. Thankfully there was a fire hydrant at the end of our driveway and they got the fire under control quickly. But when the fire was out the real fireworks began. The Fire Captain was mad and he was mad at us! We were in so much trouble and our mom wasn’t even home yet! We got the lecture of a lifetime about how farmers had dropped everything to come help a silly fire that we had set! Other volunteers had left their jobs to come help with the fire. Not once! Twice in the same week! I remember him telling my sister and I that if we ever caused another fire he was going to fine our parents! I don’t remember the monetary amount but that may have been because I knew in my heart we were NEVER going to burn the trash again!