How the Danger Ebbs and Flows

| 8/9/2012 9:42:10 AM

Tags: Fire, Alarm, Fire Alarm, Rural, Siren, Bells, Horn, Warning, George Locke,

A photo of George“Hear the loud alarm bells – brazen bells.
What a tale of terror now their turbulencey tells.
Much too horrified to speak. No, they can only shriek.
For all the world to know how the danger ebbs and flows…”
From  - “The Bells” by E. A. Poe

When I was thirteen years old, I awakened one night to the awful hooting of the town fire horn. It shattered my dreams with its sudden shouts and I sat up in my bed, clutching the blankets around me.  Downstairs I heard my mom and dad moving about the house and talking.  It was very late.

The hollering and bellowing continued as I crept downstairs from my attic room and asked my parents what was happening.

“There’s a big fire someplace east of town.” My father spoke as he squinted out the window of our second floor apartment in the old Vermont farm house, part of a connected architecture structure where my family lived after we had moved a few years before from New Hampshire.

The house was on the main street of Wilmington, a village of seven-hundred fifty souls perched on the Deerfield River and smack between Brattleboro and Bennington, two of the largest towns in the southern part of the state.

Many folks were heading in the direction of the fire and suddenly my earlier fear turned to excitement.  A big fire. I had never seen a big fire before and I begged my parents to let me ride my bike and see what was up. My mother frowned but dad said, ok.

rusty locke
8/17/2012 7:57:25 PM

Thank you Rosalind. I'm a horrible romantic and I love the 19th century. I was perhaps born too late. Poe, Whitman, Conan Doyle, and the rest are good friends of mine. The poem itself has been put to music by the late singer/songwriter Phil Ochs and is a beautiful song which I perform my self on occasions. You can hear it here

rusty locke
8/17/2012 7:52:43 PM

I am most appreciative of your comments. We all need a figurative slap on the back every now and then (or maybe even a real one - not too hard, though!) I hope to post once every two weeks, perhaps even more.

rusty locke
8/17/2012 7:50:44 PM

Thanks, John. I love the town and the memories it carries for me. I have a piece in the "Cracker-barrel" Magazine about Wilmington and the Memorial Hall and a piece from me will be published in the December issue of "Good Old Days" magazine about Wilmington. I appreciate your comments.

john lazelle
8/14/2012 10:21:42 AM

Love the blog George. I am a lifelong Wilmington resident and member of the Wilmington Fire Department and very much enjoyed reading your blog, thank you for posting! John Lazelle, Wilmington, VT.

nebraska dave
8/11/2012 12:41:49 PM

George, welcome to the GRIT blogging community. Fire is a fascinating thing. It can be devastating like you describe but then again it can be a wonderful thing. The campfire has spawned many a spooky story. Smores were born around the campfire. The mesmerizing flames just have a way of making things peaceful. I've not had any scary events that involved fire so all my memories are good ones. It would be terrible to have a house down. Have a great day. I'm looking forward to read your next post.

rosalind miller
8/9/2012 9:19:26 PM

Welcome to the Grit Blogs! Your beginning is terrific with the quote from Edgar Allen Poe! I think that I shall have to read The Bells again, for it has been a while since I have done so.

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