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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


It was a Friday evening in May and the finale of Dallas was coming on. Like everyone else in the world at that time, I just had to see what J. R. would do. My then-husband was out of town and I had taken my older son to work at Kroger’s: He was a cashier. I said it to him: “You have the house key right?” “Yeah” he replied in a hurry.” Then I rushed home, picked up my younger son and four of his friends and dropped them off at the downtown Cinema 7. Kept looking at my watch: It was 7:00 and I knew I had time to go back to Kroger’s and get a ton of groceries. The house was empty of food. Anyone who has had two sons knows all about that!

Something told me not to buy a month’s worth of groceries. Maybe it was the impending doom that would come down on me but whatever, I’m glad that I only got about five bags of food. Rushed home, searched in my pocketbook and found no house key! It was getting dark so I headed back to Kroger’s and had to get the manager to get my son off of the cash register. “Where’s the house key?” I asked him frantically. “I don’t have it. Kevin does.” Kevin, my younger son, was at the movies.

I ran to my car and head uptown to Cinema 7 and parked in front. Knew full well that my son and his friends were inside but ah the cell phone wasn’t invented yet. I asked at least three people to go to the manager and page Kevin. Sat outside hysterical. No one came back to tell me a thing. I couldn’t park right there and the parking building was too scary [even then] so I rushed home. Went to a neighbor’s house and called a man whom I knew—you’d know the name if I were to write it—and he sent the police to my house. It was now dark and I met the police and they used my credit cards and who knows what else but couldn’t get in the house! The frozen groceries were melting and so was I. By now I was in a major panic mode. The police called the fire department and it wasn’t long till a huge fire truck came roaring up my hill and stopped by the side of my house. My neighbor’s boyfriend had come over in the meantime with a six foot ladder [like that’d help with a two story house] and he had a drink in his hand. He was no help at all and he was bombed.

I explained the situation to the two firemen and I have to say that I was still dressed from teaching school: I had on a dress and high heels. The minute one of the firemen put the huge ladder up the back of the house by my younger son’s bedroom window, my dog started barking and growling.  “We think you should climb the ladder” said one fireman.  “Oh great” I thought. Had to take off my heels and climb that metal ladder while those two firemen held it steady. Each rung killed my feet. When I got to the top, one of them shoved me through the double window and I slid over the metal frame and wound up on a big table in my son’s room. I was hysterical by now.

The two firemen removed the ladder and came around to the front of my house to be sure I was all right. Was I? No way! And I still had to go out and retrieve the soggy groceries. Did that and looked at the clock and it was 11:00! I had missed Dallas and even worse, where was the house key? Meandering around the house in a panic mode, I had to find that key because I had to pick up both sons and those friends as well. And what would I see on the kitchen table? The blasted house key. And one son said he had it. Oh sure, not.

I crammed what groceries I could that had to go in the fridge and set off to get my sons. The whole thing was like some nightmare. Had missed the show, had to climb through a metal window and even worse was that I had on a dress. Mortififed. I’m sure that I passed out after all this going on. I was thankful that my friend had called the police even if they couldn’t get in the house but more thankful that the firemen helped me get inside.
This all happened on a Friday night—one I never forgot ever. The next week was the patrol trip for the sixth graders at my school and since I was the acting principal, I called as I always did at that time and asked if the fire department would send the same two firemen as they had done the year before. “No problem” said the voice on the other end. Well the fire truck came to Robins all right and so did the two firemen: I now knew them well for it was the very same two who were at my house. Feeling stupid, embarrassed and not sure what to say or do, I just said “Boys and girls, the firemen are here to show you their truck and tell what they have to do.” I was never so glad when that day was over! What are the chances of the same two firemen being at my house and then at my school where I taught? A million to one that’s what it is. Oh and rest assured that I rushed out and got four copies of the house key made too. One key just didn’t get it as you now know.

Sherry Hill

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