Having a fire engine with a full complement of firefighters in the driveway is reassuring when there is a fugitive in the woods. Being protected in our sleep by so many law enforcement and emergency workers makes me feel secure. Knowing that police patrol cars, helicopters, search dogs, firefighters, and ambulance drivers know where I live is comforting when one lives at the end of a gravel road in the Hereford Zone. However, sleeping through the arrival of the aforementioned emergency personnel is rather unnerving–not to mention the need for them to be there in the first place.
John and I were awakened at 2 a.m. the other night not by the whoop-whoop-whoop of the helicopter overhead or the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles all around the property or even the low drone of the fire engine in our driveway. No, it was a phone call from our neighbor.
“I thought you might want to know what all the lights are for.”
“Huh? Lights?” That’s when we looked out the window and saw police cars next door at John’s parents’ house and the fire engine in our driveway, right outside the six-year-old’s bedroom window. (He slept through all this, too, as did his mother, although she was closer to consciousness and had some bizarre dreams.) There were enough flashing lights outside to safely land an extraterrestrial space ship. How we slept through it all is a mystery to me. The blinds were open and I wasn’t even wearing earplugs. They were so quiet. There was no squawking of police radios. No sirens. Just the drone of the fire engine, which didn’t sound too much worse than our furnace kicking on. We were so asleep it’s a wonder we even answered the phone.
Our neighbor had police in his driveway too. He had gone out to chat with them and learned of the hit-and-run accident on the highway and the disappearance of the driver onto our property. About then, an ambulance eased past our house down to my in-law’s house.
“Should I go out and talk to the firefighters?” asked my husband while secretly pondering the need for a cowboy hat, rifle, and cigar.
“There’s an idea,” I suggested somewhat sarcastically.
He found out that a police search dog was in use to track the fugitive. We surmised from the ambulance that the fugitive had been found. Alas, no need for the Clint Eastwood gear.
Meanwhile, down at the GGP’s (aka my in-laws, “the Great-grandparents”), the parking area became the staging area for the round-up. Once the fugitive had been apprehended, the emergency team (which had entered the property from the highway) had to figure out where they were and notify the emergency vehicles of the location relative to actual roads. The GGPs watched as police and dog escorted a bleeding, hand-cuffed man up from the stream road along the tractor path through their yard to the parking area of their house. There the EMTs secured him to a wheelchair, hoisted him into the ambulance, and whisked him off to a hospital for treatment. At this point the police departed, the ambulance departed, the fire-fighters went through some automotive gymnastics with flashlights to turn the truck around in our driveway, and then it also departed. The slow parade of exiting emergency vehicles took all the spinning, pulsing, throbbing lights with them.
In their wake, several sets of insomniac eyes stared into the darkness.