The Firetruck, the Strawberry Pie, and Paintballs

When we lived in Arlington, Texas on Ashbury Drive some of our neighbors wanted us to leave. Our family was just too strange. Not only did we raise rabbits, homeschool our children, and have way-too-many cats, we just acted different and sometimes the neighbors just couldn’t stand it. Take the incident of the firetruck for example.
Upon arriving home from a camping trip I discovered that the valve on our camping van’s propane tank was leaking. Propane was spewing out and there was no way to stop it. I connected a long copper tube to the valve, ran it about 6 feet away from the van and up into the air about 6 feet. Then I lit the propane. The flame was 6 to 10 feet long. I then set out a lawn chair and got a book to read during the long wait for all the propane to burn off. Our neighbor across the street peeked out and saw this conflagration. She almost had a conniption fit. “What was that crazy man doing now?!” her body language seemed to say, but not a word to me.
Soon the fire engine arrived lights on, sirens going. It stopped in front of my house. The firemen looked at each other and shook their heads. Some grinned. They sauntered over, looked around, looked at me in the chair. “So, what’s the story?” I closed my book and explained. They said “Well, you are doing it right, but next time call us, ok?” I agreed it would be best.
It was a slow day for the firemen so they invited our kids up into and onto the firetruck to check out the new on-truck computer system and more. Soon people gathered: Adults staying back, the neighborhood kids creeping forward in hopes that they, too, could get up on the firetruck. (They could.) Soon the firemen had to leave. Our neighbor ran out as they pulled away “But, but the fire is still going!!” again no word to me.
We joked about cooking hotdogs, inviting out the neighbors, and had a great time on the front lawn. I babysat the fire until about 10 that night when it finally went out. At least the neighborhood kids liked us!.
Then there was the time the neighbors were called out by the blood curdling screams of my teen-aged daughter. First they saw her father run past, laughing maniacally. Then there she was, chasing him halfway down the street. The disturbing part was the fact that her face and hands seemed to be covered in blood. It was the most fun I’d ever had hitting someone with a strawberry tort pie….
Of course my wife was also well known, like the time the rottweiler next door was barking angrily at our kids, cats, and rabbits in their own back yard. Our wooden fence needed to be replaced, but the landlord hadn’t tended to it yet. The dog had knocked a panel most of the way over so that he could stick his head through and possibly jump over into our yard. Carol told the kids to get inside and retrieved my paintball gun. She gave him a few shots point blank he would never forget. Then she sat down on a milk crate and every time he stuck his face through the gap he got a shot. He soon learned to keep in his own yard. She then propped the fence back up and called the kids back out. We never had any more problems from the rottweiler.
Yeah, we were a bit weird for urban life, but if anyone needed help – they came to us….

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