An extra dry winter made the
grass of Osage County dry and fire ready as kindling for fire wood. If you
walked across it there was an awareness of this. Should a fire get out
from a spark there was a strong possibility it could grab hold of the
place not stopping until there was a destruction of everything going
before it. If gates were not left open cattle would be burned. Houses,
sheds, equipment setting in its path not even stumbling blocks for it when
it raced through the homesteads. Like a lion it could leap and cover
distances easily, first crouching and then racing at great speeds.
The jangling of the phone was
a constant thing since her husband once had a small electrical business
and though he was retired the necessary answering of it must be done in
case of some small electrical emergency, one or another. His consulting
work could direct folks to the proper person for their repairs, and was
necessary too, in a small way, to help keep a peaceful community. This
time the voice at the other end was that of their granddaughter.
"Gramma! Gramma D!" the girl
was obviously agitated. "There is a fire out back." "I don't know what to
"Where is your Mother?"
"She is on her way home." "I
got here first, off the school bus."
"Are you alone?" The
Grandmother wanted to know.
"My friend is with me." The
frightened little girl told her grandmother.
"Go in the bathroom." "Get two
very large towels." "Dump the trash can."
"Fill it with water." "Go out
to the fire." "Dip the towels in water and swing the towels like a jump
rope." "Put it out."
Gramma waited. No call. She
waited a while longer, still no call. Finally she would not wait any
longer to call the girl's other grandmother who lived not to far from her.
"Ginger!" "Did Aleese get the
"Oh my!" "Oh dear!" "What
There was a moment's silence
while the caller tried to think. "What is going on?" "There was an
"I'll call over there!" Ginger
In just minutes again the
phone rang and it was Ginger.
"D!" She was concerned and it
told in her voice. "There is no fire at Aleese's house."
All at once "D." knew she had
made a mistake. As it would happen, her husband came walking in the door.
"You must go over to our son's place." "There is a fire out over there."
"I made a terrible mistake." "I thought it was in town." "Our
granddaughter, Megan is over there, maybe trying to put out a prairie fire
with a wet bath towel."
Again D was sitting nervously
waiting for the phone to ring. She was on the edge of her chair. "What
have I done?" She wanted to cry. "Their voices sounded so much alike." "I
thought it was Aleese, not Megan." A small town fire in a mown back yard
was not a problem at all compared to the tall, thick, dry, prairie grass
around the house of the ranch place. The grass was short directly around
the house but the Grandmother knew on farther out it was taller and more
At last, the phone rang, and
it was her husband. "You will be glad to know your granddaughter put out a
prairie fire with a wet bath towel." She could see her husband grinning as
he spoke. "It burned right up close to the house but the two of them got
"I'm so thankful." Gramma "D."
was completely honest. This was one time, a mistake she made had been
covered by the quick actions of her only partially grown granddaughter who
was exhibiting the mature mind of a much older person.
The next morning as Megan came
through their house on the way to school. She sheepishly grinned at her
grandmother who praised her for having saved the ranch, "with an old bath