For several years Jan and I each had some additional local responsibility. She was a member of the zoning commission and I was the fire board clerk. Same Tuesday evening each, once a month. This was back in the days before Tom retired, and he often wasn’t home before Jan and I went off to our meetings. As the remaining members of the house were dogs and cats, no problem. Angus andFiona’s job was waiting for Tom, they didn’t need us.
Come summer time, though, there were summertime grandkids in residence. They were well accustomed to going with Jan to a quilt shop, or with me to work if there would be a shortage of adults in the house. I can imagine them squealing with joy in a quilt shop. At the township they settled in with sketch books or potholder looms.
The summer Emily and Laura were 9 and 7 was the year UncleTom’s Tuesday night schedule got extended. The girls were quite used to amusing themselves when they came to work with me, so I took them to fire board meetings and they settled into the back of the room with whatever they brought to amuse themselves. When Jan left her meeting she went right by the fire house, and if the board member cars were still around, she’d pull in and pick them up.
One night they could barely keep quiet leaving the room and were pouring their tale into Jan’s ear as soon as the three of them reached the parking lot: The firemen got a new fire truck today and one of those men wanted the firemen to start a fire so they could put it out. The man who is the fire chief said that probably wasn’t a good idea; what if they accidently burned something. That other man said “That’s why we have insurance!” And then you came, Aunt Janice, and we can’t watch that man start a fire.
Little girls were in bed when I got home, so we could laugh over the story Aunt Jan told me about missing the fire. They were so disappointed! I told the fire chief the next day how sorry those little girls had been not to see a fire and the new grass fire unit in action. “You missed it,” he said. “They walked out of here backwards, eyes like pie plates. I was almost sorry I couldn’t start them a fire.”