Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thank you, Joe!

As the country collectively remembers the events that happened a decade ago today, I thought I'd take a moment to remember events that happened about 27 years ago and impacted Lyn's life directly.

First, let me tell you about Joe.  Joe was our neighbor who lived across the street with his wife.  They were retired.  He had been a police officer in New York, if I remember correctly.  They were a quiet and very nice couple.  The neighborhood kids all knew that at Halloween you wouldn't get candy from knocking at Joe's door.  He gave out small toys instead.  I remember one year that we all got these great, bouncy rubber balls.  They were bigger than super balls and they lasted a really long time.  Anyway...

In October, 1984, our house burnt down.  Lyn was the only one home.  Lyn's school released early that day and Lyn was to be home about an hour before the rest of us were scheduled to get home from school.  Lyn got home, called Mom to report in, fixed herself a snack and then decided to make more tea because we were out and she wanted to be helpful.  She'd watched Mom do it many times each week our whole lives and felt she knew what to do. 

When the water was boiling, she tossed in the tea bags.  She forgot to turn off the stove at that point and the tags on the tea bags caught fire.  This scared her.  She grabbed the tea bags from the pot and tossed them into the trash and closed the trash cabinet's door.  She turned off the stove and went into our room to change her clothes.

Meanwhile, our neighbor Joe was across the street with his wife.  He described having a bad feeling and knowing that Lyn was to be home on her own for a little bit.  He decided to just walk across to check on her.  By the time Joe got to our yard, smoke was curling from around the door and windows. 

Joe snatched the garden hose, turned on the water and went in.  He found Lyn standing in the living room, half dressed, clutching her blanket to her face.  She was frozen in fear and the house was aflame around her.  Joe grabbed her and pulled her out.  He ran her over to another neighbor's house where they called 911 and checked Lyn for injuries.

Lyn was fine.  The house was a total loss and the cat died in the fire. 

Lyn is alive today because our neighbor, Joe, just had a bad feeling and listened to it.  He never wanted acclaim for what he did.  He just responded to a situation in front of him. 

I doubt that Joe is alive today.  He was retired when the fire happened.  However, Joe gave a gift to our family that we could never repay and I can't imagine growing up without Lyn in my life.

Thank you, Joe!

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