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Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)
TITLE: Where there’s Smoke, There’s Fire!
By Barbara Lynn Culler
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I was weary after a day of apartment hunting, and desired the comforting oasis of my home. Traveling up a residential street, I noticed wisps of white smoke rising up and around my front windshield. I pulled over to the side thinking that there had been no previous indication of trouble in the engine, and hoped it was just over-heating. Across the street, I noticed a corner house that had the carroty-colored neighborhood watch sign in the window. I hurried over and knocked on the door to ask for assistance. A man answered, and while still standing in his doorway, looked out over to my car and nonchalantly stated that he did not feel that particular color of smoke was any indication of fire. He refused to call for help and closed the door.
Feeling rejected and alone, I returned to the scene and removed important papers and items from the car. Within minutes, the smoky wisps turned into geysers of black soot bursting through the gaps and the now bronze colored smoke billowed out as traffic began to back up. Several minutes later, a man in a gold colored BMW drove up and dialed 911 on his cell phone, then began to direct traffic.
A well-intentioned man came along, scaled the brick wall of someone’s yard, threw over a garden hose and sprayed water under the car’s hood, oblivious to the consequences of water on a potential electrical fire. In one loud whoosh, large tongues of fire licked the front end of my poor little car. The red-orange flames danced across the vehicle as pumpkin colored smoke rose into the sky like a mushroom cloud. I was horrified, yet I was calm as I tried to think what to do, where to go and how to get there. As I watched the spectacle before me, the car’s front right tire melted then popped like a balloon. The metal radio antenna collapsed in slow-motion to a 45 degree angle, the front window exploded and the Chevette’s sky blue paint simply dissipated. It was reminiscent of the final scenes from the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The stench was ghastly; I feared an explosion and stood far away. With hand covering my mouth in disbelief, I prayed,
“God, I cannot handle this alone. Please send me some support.”
The fire station was a mere five blocks away, but fire fighters had not yet responded to the first call and the man with the golden car called a second time on his cell phone. About that time, the fire truck came rolling up, and the flames were quickly doused. The neighborhood watch person had a change of heart and had contacted the fire department. He came over to me and contritely apologized for not believing that I needed help. A few minutes later, a friend from church unexpectedly appeared and stayed with me to the bitter end.
As the scorched carcass of my car was being hoisted up onto the tow truck, I observed an unscathed red-orange colored 42-ouncer soda cup in the back seat and smiled at the evidence of my addiction to Diet Coke, wishing I had some at that moment. After my first-bought car was unemotionally hauled away, my friend took me home.
Although powerless to action as the showy fire and spirited destruction of my car, I shall never forget that day when God heard my prayer and responded to my cry for help.
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