Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Reminded, once again, of a valuable community resource


At this time of year I usually give into the impulse to wax rhapsodic about the advent of summer, and this year I was tempted more than ever. I wanted to extol the glory of late-blooming perennials, the smell of mown grass, even the hum of lawn mowers and the sound of children laughing as they play outside. Yes, I wanted to do this, especially as I just completed two different forays into nature's extravaganza.

I went with the Sawtooth Botanical Gardens to Camas Prairie country to observe wildflowers and birds. I had not done this before, but in my enthusiasm to try some of the local attractions in my quest for new horizons, I did it. The Camas wasn't quite yet in bloom, but I loved the day, connecting with other like-minded people and visiting a wonderful eco-friendly and self-sustaining Fairfield home and farm.

A few days later I joined a CSI class for a day at Silver Creek to watch birds with master WRHS teacher Larry Barnes, who seems to know everything possible about this region and its wildlife. The highlight for me was the interaction of the late-blooming wildflowers, the participants, the glorious weather, and observing a nest of bald eagles, whose young were stretched up high on the horizon.

However, instead I find myself today, while I don't dismiss any of the joys of my flirting with those escapes, admiring once again the Ketchum Fire Department, hence my title. It was late in the week of the end of July, and as I sat in my small workroom north of Ketchum on Highway 75, preparing lesson plans, I heard a very loud crunch/crash outside. I didn't directly see the accident, but I ran out to my deck and then called 911. I should not at this stage make any assertions about guilt and innocence, but it was quickly apparent that a large landscape truck had rear-ended a small vehicle, probably turning left into a parking lot.

I went back out on my deck after making the call and saw that the driver of the smaller car was not moving a lot. As there were already other people around, and I had identified myself as the 911 caller, I stayed on my deck and didn't interfere. Almost immediately, I heard the sound of sirens and observed one of the reasons I am so fortunate to live in our community (and maybe any community that cherishes its citizens). The paramedics treated and freed the injured driver of the smaller car and removed him/her to an ambulance: within an hour there were no signs that anything dire had happened.

I know the firefighters from our valley and from many other places received accolades galore for the amazing work they did last year in saving our community from the loss of homes in the Castle Rock fire; they must know how much we appreciate them. However, when embers die and life returns to normal, we often slip back into taking for granted the amazing resources we have here. The incident in front of my home reminded me to be grateful for living where help is so immediately available.

Unlike citizens in war zones or countries whose facilities are decimated by civil strife or poverty, I know I can count on those who serve our community.

`Recently some friends and I were comparing sleeping habits and our bedtime attire. They laughed when I told them my mother always told me to wear something modest to bed in case of an emergency in the middle of the night. During California's Northridge earthquake of '94, where I was at the epicenter, I remember laughing ruefully as I huddled outside on the grass inside my blanket in what she would think of as my lack of appropriate pajamas!

Mom also warned me never to have temporary safety pins repairing clothing tears, because if I were in an accident, people would learn of my sloppiness. I belatedly agreed when I awoke in an emergency room after a college accident, to the apparition of my hastily hemmed dress with its shiny safety pins displayed.

Now my fears are different; I might have to call 911 in the middle of the night to rescue me from something, and people I actually might see around town on a daily basis will have to deal with this old, exposed crone!

But thank God, I hope they'd not give a hoot, and take good care of me anyway.

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