CENTERVILLE – [HN NOTES] – It was so cold last evening, a cop told a fleeing suspect to freeze, and he actually complied.
It was so cold going through the drive-thru, my dog asked for an extra large coffee – she hardly ever does that!
It was so cold on the way to the following call, I saw man trying to chip his Cocker Spaniel away from a fire hydrant!
It was COLD I tell ya!
And it’s uncertain what actually caused a water main to suddenly burst open on Padlock Lane last evening around midnight, but I’d wager it prolly was for the same reason dogs were ordering coffee and freezing to fire hydrants.
When the young boy in pajamas approached in the bitter cold street, asking excitedly if he was going to be on the news, I was still trying to figure out what the hell had just happened. Firefighters had initially responded to the address for a report of smoke in the basement. Moments after arrival, a COMM FD incident commander radioed there was about a foot of water in the basement, but no fire… and that the electricity needed to be shut off before they could do anything else.
Meanwhile, a guy from the water department appeared to be slightly crouched over – not unlike Chubby Checker – dancing the “twist” in the middle of the intersection. He was really getting into it! ‘Pretty good dancer,‘ I thought. But upon closer inspection, I realized he was working some type of water valve shut-off tool, the long handle forming a “ T ” with a longer narrow metal piece stuck way down into a hole in the pavement to be twisted round and round (“like we did last summer”)…
… and then, moments later, a firefighter radioed the water was indeed being shut off… and everything was starting to make sense… and the pieces were all coming together…
… and while standing there dressed like a modern [Inuit], breathing into my fingers, trying to re-awaken the fine motor skills needed to make subtle changes to the camera settings, my dog warm and toasty back in the car, finishing her coffee no doubt (that part, her enjoying hot coffee while I froze, didn’t make any sense) was when the scene elements on Padlock Lane suddenly crystallized in my half-frozen brain. I suddenly realized what had happened. It had actually been a neighborhood flood that had touched off the alarming series of events.
‘Wow,’ I thought, actually silently mouthing the word “wow,” looking at the kid in his pajamas, the one who said he had been awakened by all this… then looking at the quickly freezing stream and newly formed ponds in and around Padlock lane, then back at the kid, then back at the ponds, then at neighbors that were now standing outside of their homes, talking, also looking around at things… and it occurred to me this all was happening on a Sunday evening. A school night. “You got school tomorrow?” was the only thing my half-frozen brain could summon up as polite conversation with the kid in his pajamas… with me, standing there like a frozen dope, in the middle of the street, feeling colder than a witches’ (rhymes with mitt)… as the kid didn’t seem cold at all, he seemed excited, probably thinking what I would be thinking at his age…
… and it was then an adult male, prolly the kid’s dad, stepped in and fielded my “you got school” question with something like, “yeah, he might get a pass on school tomorrow.” And looking over at the skating rink that was forming around the kid’s backyard swing set, I tended to agree with him – what a mess! There was no way anyone was going to school tomorrow, these people’s lives had just been turned upside-down. My heart broke for them… even though the guy who appeared to be “dad” seemed to be taking things all in stride, a real pro, God bless him. His home with a foot of water in the basement. No power. Colder than a witches’ (rhymes with — just think “Bernie Sanders!”) out…
Where were they all going to stay for the evening? And as if on cue, the incident commander answered my thought while radioing dispatch, the family had “made arrangements to stay at a neighbor’s home for the night.” (What a freaking-unbelievably-awesome neighbor!)
HN returned about three hours later and was surprised to find several large trucks, a backhoe and water main repair guys digging a hole in front of the now flooded, vacated residence… the family that was once inside, now staying nearby with a neighbor. ‘Good,’ I thought, they were fixing the problem right then and there!
The street was now a sheet of ice and a Barnstable cop was thinking about calling in a sander, likely the highlight of his evening on such an otherwise quiet, five-million-below zero, midnight to eight shift.
I began thinking about the displaced family, remembering the dad-like guy enthusiastically saying to me, something like, “you should have been there when I opened the door and water wooshed in!” and still taking it all in stride… and on top of the situation too! I had been too cold to really think clearly, with my brain half-frozen, I had completely forgot to ask if he was, in fact, “the dad.” Either way, in my gut I was thinking, ‘what a great dad,’ as I watched him assessing the damage with the kid who appeared to be his son…
I began also thinking, very impressed, ‘everyone seems to be really on the ball over here on Padlock Lane, these guys are going to be okay! Carry on, awesome Centerville neighborhood people…’
(And then I drove back to the lonely truck stop up on Route 6, where I finished compiling these notes, seeing hardly a soul out for the remainder of the frigid, awful evening… wondering if that other guy I saw earlier finally managed to chip his Cocker Spaniel free from that hydrant… 😉 )
P.S. – Today’s Hytown Vignette necessitated a call to a good doctor – Dr. Lonnie Smith, that is… after all, one must take care of one’s health these days!
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