Near Fatal Surprise
A personal anecdote from living on the farm on the ‘B’ line between Kincardine and Tiverton, Ontario that was published for my parents as a gift in Rooster Showdown and Other Tales for the Farm. Request permission to reprint through the contact page.
The morning it happened the air was thick of moisture enveloping my body with discomfort. My hair was sticky with sweat from the summer heat that hadn’t broken during the night. My waking was a momentary lapse, as there was no noise in the house and I thought that everyone was still sleeping. Before I drifted back into a waking sleep, I rolled out of the sun that was invading my rest.
“Tammy! Kim! Come quick. There’s a fire!” yelled a voice, shocking me into wakefulness.
I scrambled out of bed, my heart beating at breakneck speed, and awkwardly stumbled through the doorframe to my sister’s room. My door was connected to her room and another doorway connected her room to the hall at the top of the stairs. Tammy was in a similar state of alarm.
All this time my parents were still yelling, “Fire! Get out of the house!”
Questions raced in my mind. Where was the smoke? Could we get down the stairs? Should we go through the apartment, out the patio doors, and down the outdoor stairs?
Tammy was just ahead of me on the main stairs of our old farmhouse. I decided the best course of action was to follow my wise older sister! We made the turn by the fish tank at the bottom of the stairs and followed my parents to the backdoor of the kitchen. I was so confused. Where was the fire?
We ran out the door almost simultaneously and my parents yelled in unison, “Surprise!” Tammy and I stood speechless for a moment absorbing the reality of the situation. Before us, in the yard, was an unexpected thing…a pool! Not a metal washbucket. Not a teeny plastic kiddie pool. It was a neck deep, plastic lined, metal sided, laddered, deluxe pool, pool! We could not quite believe that this was what we were seeing. I was speechless — which doesn’t happen often.
As I became conscious of my parents and their excited laughter, I was a little disturbed. I mean, I had just been taught fire safety in Kindergarten and yelling “Fire!” when there’s no fire is serious business. I thought their humour was a little demented!
Well, these feelings didn’t last long, because, hey, it was HOT, and there was a pool sitting right in front of me. I still can¹t believe they were up half the night assembling the pool in secret to have this surprise ready in the morning. This was one of the most memorable moments of my childhood.