by Heidi Nestor, Writer and Editor,
Snickers, the Calico cat, ran throughout the old
Victorian house that sat at the end of the block. He was looking for
Granny, and found her where he had feared she’d be…in the attic.
That only meant one thing - Granny was pulling out seasonal
decorations for the Fourth of July, Snickers’ least favorite holiday.
Granny heard him mewing and yelled to him that
she would be down shortly to fix his dinner.
But that wasn’t what he was upset about.
He mewed again.
Granny told him not to worry that she wouldn’t accidently lock herself
in the attic again like she did on Mother’s day. “Besides,” Granny
added, “I have my Life Alert on, if anything happens I’ll just push my
magic button and help will arrive.”
Snickers howled this time and Granny peered down the retractable
attic stairs to see the Calico staring up at her. “What is it?” Granny
asked while carrying a small box of red, white and blue decorations
Snickers took one look at the box and took off.
Granny then knew what his problem was - the noise from all the
fireworks. “Don’t worry, my
pet, the kids are coming over.”
That would make the evening a little better because the kids
always comforted him, so he could bare himself through the night of
By the time
Snickers had eaten, bathed himself, and was napping peacefully in the
grandkids rooms upstairs, Granny had fully decorated the picnic table
and bench in the backyard for the evening’s festivities.
“DING DONG” came from the front door announcing
visitors had arrived.
Snickers had beaten Granny to the
door and they both welcomed in the grandkids, all nine of them.
“C’mon Snickers, let’s go play,” called out
Granny’s ten year old grandson.
He ran up the stairs to the room where he stayed when visiting
Granny. Snickers followed in pursuit. “I want to play, too,” yelled the
boy’s seven year old cousin running hot on their trails.
The rest of the kids and parents made their
sojourn to the large back yard where Granny’s eldest son started the
grill for cooking the traditional hotdogs and hamburgers.
The family sat at the picnic table talking and laughing.
Everyone was in a festive mood while excitedly waiting for the
firework show that the small town puts on every year in the park across
the street from the Victorian house.
upstairs the two cousins and Snickers played on the beds when suddenly
the boy says, “Hey, guess what I got?”
his younger girl cousin.
“Uh-huh, my dad
gave it to me.”
From his pocket
he pulled out a wrapped sparkler.
said. “Let’s light it.”
The boy tore off the wrapping and the two raced
down to the kitchen with Snickers in tow.
They lit the sparkler by the gas stove and soon colored sparks
started twirling about.
“Let me hold
it,” The girl squealed.
“No, it’s mine,” The boy shouted back.
The girl tried to grab it but the boy started to
run into the living room.
There she chased him around the furniture as sparks flew into the air
and onto the furniture. Then
the kids ran out of the room, through the kitchen, out the door into the
back yard never noticing the couch started to smoke. One of the sparks
had flown off and landed onto the couch.
The fireworks show started as Granny’s living
room filled with smoke.
Snickers ran to the door that leads to the back yard but it was closed.
This was not turning into a good night for the little feline.
First, he had to endure all the noise from the fireworks, now the home
is filling with smoke and none of the kids are there to make him feel
Outside the family sat around the picnic table
happily scarfing up holiday food, listening to music, and watching the
loud explosions in the sky while never hearing the house phone ring.
Granny’s Life Alert Monitored Smoke Detector had gone off
signaling the emergency center.
A dispatcher was
calling Granny, but since there was no answer he notified the local fire
department. Sirens rang thought-out the neighborhood ending at the end
of the street where the old Victorian house sat.
“Mom, they sound
like they’re right out front.” Said Granny’s daughter, and before they
knew it a fireman had walked into the yard, holding Snickers, and
explained that they had arrived just in time before the couch fully
ignited, and it was now safe to go back in.
Everyone ran into
the living room and stared at the black soot that ruined Granny’s
green velvet Victorian tufted sofa.
“My couch!” exclaimed Granny.
“How did this happen?”
The boy and the girl gave each other guilty
glances but remained quiet.
Granny asked all the family members but no one knew how an empty living
room could have caught a couch on fire.
“But we never
heard anything,” said Granny’s son.
“All the outside noise prevented you from hearing
the alarm and the phone ringing.” The uniformed man said.
Snickers piped up with loud meow, “Or your furry family member.
Nights like this even your neighbors don’t know there’s a problem
until it’s too late.”
female firefighters came down the stairs from checking out the house
making sure everything was ok and overheard the conversation.
looks good upstairs; did you find what the cause of the fire?” One of
answered the fireman.
indeed,” retorted the other firewoman, “I don’t feel comfortable leaving
without finding out the cause first.”
“Let’s go over
everyone’s story again and again.” The other one said looking at the
“This could take
all night,” piped up the boy.
“Indeed it could.
Too bad you’re not going to be able to enjoy the rest of the food
and firework show,” replied one of the female firefighters. Discouraged,
the boy stepped forward and explained what he and his cousin had done.
The firewomen smiled at him and pulled out the sparkler wrapper
and handed it to him.
The fireman said, “What’s really important is
that Life Alert notified us before a catastrophe happened.”
After getting a
strong warning about the safety of fireworks, even sparklers, from the
fire fighters and the boy’s parents, the family was finally able to
return to the festivities in the back yard.
“I’m sorry about your couch, Granny,” said the
boy handing her some pocket change.
“I’ll pay to fix the couch.”
“I don’t want your money, my love, just your
promise that you will never do something like this again.”
He agreed and went to play with the other kids.
Granny’s son put
his arm over her and said, “Mom, are you going to be able to afford to
fix the couch?”
Besides, I’ll just use the discount I get from my homeowner’s
insurance by having a monitored fire alarm.”
“I’m sure happy
you have that Life Alert protecting you.”
“So am I.”
Granny answered and then Snickers walked up and leaned against her leg,
“And I think Snickers is grateful too.”
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