It was a warm summer night and my sisters and I were getting ready for bed. My youngest sister, Kim, was already in her pajamas and under the cover. Sharon was in bed and reading a book. Gail was brushing her long, straight hair. I…I, was in the bathroom washing my face. It was our usual nightly routine, but tonight would be a little different.
While I was in the bathroom washing my face, I heard Kim say a little gruffly and perturbed, “Turn off the lights, I want to go to sleep.” Gail replied, “Just wait a minute…I’m brushing my hair.”
A few minutes later I noticed the bedroom light was off. I was still in the bathroom rinsing the soap off my face, when I heard Kim holler rather loudly, “Hey, everybody, the house is on fire! The house is on fire!” Without any hesitation, I ran out the front door in my pajamas and soap still on my face, to escape the fire.
Seconds after I arrived on the front porch, I looked around and saw my whole family (all nine of us) were standing on that tiny front porch, huddled together. Dad in his sleeveless tee shirt and underwear… Mom in her thin nightgown. My three brothers, Terry, Mark and Jeff were there too, in their pj’s (really their underwear)…now, I ask… what men wear pajamas? I don’t know, maybe some men do.
We all stood there, cold, visibly shaken, huddled together, looking at each other when Dad asked, “Where is the fire?” A logical question…I mean, that’s why we were all there. He continued, “I don’t see any fire.” Mom replied, “I don’t either and there’s no smoke.” Then she asked, “Who yelled the house is on fire?” We three girls all looked at our youngest sister, Kim. I could see a sheepish grin on her face, even in the dark. She didn’t say anything until we all said in unison, “It was Kim!” Everyone’s attention was now focused on her. Dad asked, “Kim, what made you think the house was on fire?” She began her explanation and we were all listening, in our nightclothes, in the dark, standing huddled together on that tiny front porch.
“Well, I thought the house was on fire. When Sharon turned off our bedroom light, I saw a bright light outside my window. I looked out and saw lots of smoke everywhere and something bright, like fire, so I hollered because I thought the house was on fire! It scared me.”
Dad began to laugh. Everyone was now smiling. “Kim, that was the mosquito wagon going by. It just passed our house about 5 minutes ago. That’s what you saw. They were spraying for mosquitoes. It wasn’t smoke you saw.”
Kim, was still smiling with an embarrassed look on her face, while the rest of the family was laughing. One by one we filed back inside and to our own beds. It was rather humorous to all of us and we still laugh about it from time to time, but not Kim. She doesn’t want to remember this episode at all.
After we all settled back down for the night, I was thankful it wasn’t a real fire. I was also thankful for those really tall bushes surrounding our front porch and that it was dark. I can’t even imagine what people would have thought if they had saw us all huddled together on that porch that night in our pajamas, especially Dad, who Pastored a church in our small town!
I’ll never forget that night our house almost burned down, but I’m sure my younger sister Kim, would rather we all forget it, but that’s not going to happen.