So, in Getting Through, I mentioned about the fire behind one of our houses when I lived with the Folks as rating right up there with getting bitten by that dog on my scary shit-o-meter that I gone through. This predates Joey. Of course, she knows about it, though.
It was the Summer of ’94, I believe. I was in Summer school, and the Folks’ office manager at the time, Peggy, was driving me to Midland High (BOO, I went to Lee, albeit, on the technicality Midland wasn’t crip-friendly.) with my boy, Will. I remember I’d decided to tackle Stephen King’s It that Summer. This was before Kindles and apps, so J lugged that bitch around ‘til I finished all 1,138 pages.
Anyway, one night we were all in bed ‘til BAM, BAM, BAM, BAM! It was the popo going door to door getting everybody up to evacuate houses, because, I believe, some jackweeds were partying in the fields behind our house, and, surprise, surprise, dropped a cancer stick in the dry grass. We’re known for droughts some Summers, this was one of those Summers…AND, apparently, it was kinda behind our pad.
I don’t remember all the specifics of why we couldn’t use our van to get me out, but we couldn’t, so the popo and Dad lifted me IN MY ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR into the bed of his truck, closed the bed, and we were off with Mom driving, my sis, Kat, and our two Bostons, who Kat corralled with a double-looped chain she JUST HAPPENED to know where to find, riding shot gun.
So, here I am in the bed of this truck, freezing my ass off in the Summer, no doubt, or MAYBE it was because I was scared SHITLESS, because it was pitch black with smoke, and, try as Mom might to take turns carefully, I was sliding, one time against the gate. It was a diesel, so Mom and Kat couldn’t hear me yell, “SHIIIIIIT!”
First, we qwent to a couple fam friends, the Bertelsons, and from there, we went to the Dunns, who had a van, because their son, Keith, who I’ve known since he was diapers, is a crip. When we got there, we camped out on their couches, watching the news. It was eerie seeing the silhouette of Dad and a popo leading horses on the tube.
No one’s place burned down except for Old Man Solomon’s (the guy the street was named after) place that was a wooden abandon shack, and no one got hurt except my dad got a cut on his shoulder when one of our horses spooked when he and a popo were getting the out of the stalls to lead them to safer pastures.
It was definitely one for the ages.
A couple things I learned: 1. I hated riding in that truck…especially after it was what I rode in to visit my brother the weekend before he died. 2. Our chairs ARE NOT heavy enough to keep us from sliding in a moving vehicle. 3. My dad’s hella strong, and 4. It was the second example that I can get through anything, the first being when my best friend, Noe, died.
You can too…even when you think not.
Be good to each other.