I Hope There’s Not A Fire.

The optimist in me says that it’s a good thing to see an almost-overgrown fire hydrant because that means it’s never been needed. Then there’s the realist in me that says, hey, what happens if there’s a fire? Do firemen have some kind of record of where hydrants are in a specific area? Seriously, this one is weirdly tucked away in a back corner, but I guess the bright red color stands out enough against the green weeds that it makes it easy to find.

It also reminds me that the cul-de-sac where I grew up didn’t have a fire hydrant for several years. I’m not even sure where the nearest one was but, fortunately, there was never a fire so one was never needed. At some point, though, some realist must have realized this was an oversight on the city’s part and some workmen came in and dug a trench in the street about four feet long and six feet deep. Then they left it for at least a week, maybe longer, and all the kids who lived around there–six or seven of us–would dance around it and jump over it. None of us got down in it, though, since we didn’t think we could get out again, especially after it rained and it filled up with about a foot of muddy water.

Then there was the neighborhood dog, Freckles. Freckles was a large Springer Spaniel, a wonderfully sweet dog, and self-appointed protector of the kids. He’d be the sire of my wonderful dog Friskie, but that’s another story. Freckles was also goofy and, being a Springer, loved nothing more than chasing tennis balls. One day we were taking turns throwing a ball for him–we had to take turns because Freckles never really understood the “retrieve” part. He’d chase a ball, grab it, run around with it, and eventually drop it somewhere else.

The ball bounced into the trench and Freckles thought about it for a moment then jumped down in there. All of us panicked because we were as protective of Freckles as he was of us, but he was quite happy down there, dancing around in the muddy water with a tennis ball. We were trying to figure out how to rescue him when he hopped back up by himself and danced around us with a big grin that clearly said, “Do that again!”

 It’s common knowledge that dogs love fire hydrants–technically any upright object, but hydrants are a popular target. Freckles, though, was sorry to see the hydrant installed because it meant the trench was filled in. He was an eternal optimist.

That hydrant is still there. I think it should have a memorial plaque honoring Freckles.

Source: Google Street View

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  1. M.L. James

    Our dog Buddy: Where’s a good fire hydrant when you really need it? Ah, here it is!
    Me walking Buddy: Buddy, no! We are not stopping at that fire hydrant. Do you know how many other dogs have used that? Ick. Stop. Fighting. Me. We are not–
    Buddy: I’m stronger than you. Also, that’s what I want to know. Just how many have been right here? It’s okay. It’s a dog thing.
    Me: sigh Make it quick! And wipe your feet before you go back into the house.
    Buddy: You take all of the fun out of going for walks!
    Me: sigh
    M.L. James recently posted…A Saturday to RememberMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Hey, better Buddy should use the fire hydrant than the house. We used to have a dog who’d look very apologetic every time he needed to go out. It made me feel bad for him because I thought I must have given him the impression at some point that I didn’t like taking him out. In fact I was always happy to do it. I got so much into the habit of reassuring him that it was fine that now any time any of our dogs ask to go out I tell them, “All you have to do is ask.”


    I grew up on a dead-end street, too, Chris, and I can’t remember if there was a fire hydrant, but I do remember that nobody had a dog. We’ve been talking about fire hydrants lately — specifically how each locale has fire hydrants painted particular colors. My son and I used to note that when we would walk around and lately we’ve been discussing that again, wondering what it all means. I don’t think it means anything to the dogs, because they’re color blind, but I do like that white and green combo on Freckles’ hydrant.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I think the colors of fire hydrants are mostly meant to be eye-catching so they’ll be easy for firemen to spot, but I’ve also wondered if there’s some significance to particular color schemes. And while I also like the white and green combo I think, in honor of Freckles, that particular hydrant should be white and brown.


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