A man walked through the now deserted forest. Only two days ago, it had covered in bright red, yellow and orange leaves; animals scurried to and fro: But now… now it was a different story. The man sat on a fallen tree, remembering the events he had been through the day before.
He was sitting at home playing Monopoly with his eight year old daughter when he was paged. There was a forest fire in the small community in which he lived. He leapt to his feet to answer the call. When he looked at his daughter, she was in tears. Her eyes seemed to say, “Here we go again Daddy. I thought we finally got to be together…but now you have to leave.”
“Of course Dad,” she said miserably.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
He nearly leaped out the door into his vehicle toward the fire station. Still, he couldn’t get his mind off of that little girl. Before he even arrived at the station, he realized he couldn’t disappoint his daughter again. There were others who could take care of the fire. So, he turned his car around and began heading for home. His pager went off again, but he ignored it. Moments later his phone rang. He answered the phone angrily to an evenly matched tone, “Where are you!?” the chief demanded.
“I can’t come in. I’m real sorry Dave.”
The men hung up the phone unhappy with one another. Suddenly, a roadblock appeared. He’d have to go a different route. As he neared his home once more, he saw smoke and soon saw yet another road block. This one was obviously set up by firefighters. He stopped the car and ran to the first person he saw, “What’s going on?” he asked. But he knew the answer before he could hear the reply.
“Forest fire,” the man said.
“Aren’t you going to put it out?”
“No can do. We can’t get the engines here… Only three drivers and two are on vacation.”
“What about the third one?” He asked, hoping someone had made an excuse for him.
“He wouldn’t show up. Said he didn’t feel like coming to work. All I can do now is to keep anyone from entering the area…that includes you Buddy.”
“You don’t understand! My wife and my little girl are in that road! I have to make sure they’re okay!”
“I’m sorry Sir, I hope that they were evacuated in time.”
The man shuddered, remembering the cold words of the firemen. His mind then wandered to the day before, when he had finally been allowed to enter the area. His home was burned to the ground…Only the ashes remained. What was worse still was that his family could not be found. If I only would’ve went to work…None of this would’ve ever happened, he thought to himself, But hindsight is twenty-twenty.
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