The fire chief, whom I had not seen since the group of Yoga ladies closed the flue in the sittingroom , filled the house with smoke and then called the fire department before calling me, knocked on my door the other day. " I've come to tell you that your neighbour Bob Bishop is going to burn his house down on Saturday. " I've been in Maine long enough to know that the whole story would be revealed to me in good time. "Oh, really?" I replied. "Yep," he said. "Well it's good of you to tell me," I said. "Yep. He's going to burn the whole darn thing down." I nodded. "Yep. He gave it to the fire department. Donated it. So's we could burn it". I was beginning to get the picture. "We got fireman coming from all over to practice on Saturday morning and then at 12 noon we're going to light 'er up and let 'er rip." I nodded again knowing that Bob Bishop was from 'away' and that this would somehow be part of the unfolding story. "Yep. Seems he don't like his house and so he's going to burn it down. Going to build himself another one that he does like." He paused so I could fully appreciate the wonder of this. Where exactly I fit into this considering I can't even see my neighbour's house I didn't know. "I was wondering if we could park some vehicles in your parking area. And fill up the trucks from your pond."
Ah. At last. "Why, of course," I replied. And so it came to pass that yesterday, the first real day of spring, warm, sunny, still and beautiful was punctuated by the sound of 13 volunteer firemen's pickup trucks arriving in our driveway, loud speakers, back up beeps, horns, whistles and engines, as well as pumps slurping thousands of gallons of water out of our pond. And, as billed, at 12 sharp, a huge billow of black smoke started growing in the south followed by bright red flames. Shortly after this, a blizzard of large black ash flakes rained down upon us as bits of Bob Bishop's unloved house fell onto our heads.