Of course, I suppose even Alton might not have been able to predict what happened next.
See, after you smoke the meat and feed it to your wife (who especially likes salmon prepared this way), you have the issue of the coals to deal with. Husband is very safety conscious. When he uses the deep fryer (for our Thanksgiving turkey) or the meat smoker, he uses them in the middle of the yard so nothing will catch fire… and the hose is right there should something go wrong. He leaves the smoker in the yard overnight, and after this latest bout even left it out there while the sprinklers ran. Nothing like a little water to help douse those coals. Or, so you’d think.
Flash to Tuesday night. I got home from visiting my brother around 8:30 or 9:00pm. Smelled smoke and thought, “man, I really feel bad for the neighbors. That smell really lingers after using that smoker thing.” It really did smell like a campfire. But, you know… no big deal. The Hawthorne tree in full bloom smelled worse than that.
11:00pm Tuesday night and Husband and I are in bed. I’m not asleep yet, so when the fire engine turns up on the street next to our house I’m the first nosey neighbor to the window. “Oh, I’ll bet it’s the older gentleman who lives in that house. I think he must be sick again. Wait, they’re moving. Honey, they’re pulling into the cul-de-sac.” Husband (from the bed), “They’re probably turning around”. Me, “No, they appear to be parked”. And all of the sudden: RAP RAP RAP on our back door (which is glass, so it was loud). Husband jumps out of bed, and goes downstairs to see what’s going on.
There is a policeman in our backyard.
“What do you all keep in the flower boxes in your back yard”, he asks my husband. Husband looks up at me and all I can think is, “Nothing. The dog digs up every flower we ever plant there so we don’t use it anymore.” Husband said to the officer, “I put the coals from the smoker in there, but they were from Sunday and they were wet.”
This was the result:
This is the other side of the flower box. Our backyard is bordered with trees. The whole perimeter of our yard is covered in dried bark – which looks very pretty and is, most likely, very flammable. The fire didn’t reach this part of the yard yet, the dark soil you see is what the firemen (who, btw, were about 25 years old and DARLING) dug out of the flower box.
(This is what the perimeter of the yard looks like. This is the part leading from the fire site up towards our side deck.)
And this is a view of the back of our house that is attached to the back and side decks. Please notice that the house is not burned in any way – because I am convinced that someone “upstairs” was watching out for us. (Thanks Mom!!!!)
So, after the trauma of the night as we were settling back in our bed, husband turned to me and said, “I’m sorry.”
My loving, caring, empathetic, heartfelt, best-wife-in-the-world response?
“Hey, better you than me.”