The Bells Was Ringing


Ed. Note: This blog was written by Lynn Larson, who remains in Eleuthera to enjoy the fun and excitement–and the sunshine.

The sign under the Methodist church bell which rings for all church services, has a sign under it: “To be rung for church or only in case of fire or lost”. Today at noon the bell rang and rang. The air was acrid with smoke, and the salt pond which was to have retained yesterday’s big brush fire, didn’t. It was dried up.

The pealing bell brought neighbors into the street (s). “Why didt de dig de trench las night?” “Why dint de cut de brush from de path of da fire?””How close be it?” “Where is de new truck?” So many questions.

While the women asked, the men mobilized. “Who has a well?” “Bring de bukits” “Get da shovels.” and off they went, each on a particular mission, a few to watch and report back to the women and children who waited.

The big mystery was the whereabouts of “Beauty“, the new fire truck whose dedication Judith and I attended several weeks ago. You might remember that Beauty failed on her first mission, a fire run to a home in Cotton Bay. Once her tank was empty, her hose, stretched into the nearby sea, was plugged, and only drops dripped from her nozzle.The house, newly remodeled, burned to the ground.

Beauty is one of the two rescue vehicles in South Eleuthera, the other being the ambulance. Together they form SEEP (South Eleuthera Emergency Project), an unfortunate acronym if ever there was one. Well today’s fire was Beauty’s opportunity for redemption, as the traveling minister yells thu his microphone every night about six. Beauty was not up to the challenge. Seems Beauty had a flat tire and couldn’t be driven.

Out went the call for the trucks at Governor’s Harbour, and Wymss Bight. From my vantage point on the hill, I watched and listened as they came roaring into Tarpum Bay, sirens wailing, from north and south. A huge earth mover was toted past on a flat bed. The ambulance joined the procession. Trucks of men with shovels, buckets, loose hose, loud voices shouting instructions tore by. The women waited.

Gradually it became clear that the fire was under control. No one was hurt,no house burned, although Ann’s Take Away was almost taken away by flames.

The men returned to the waiting women smelling smokey and with tales of personal heroism. As the vechicles started their homeward journeys, Beauty limped gamely down the road. wanting badly to be part of the action, but too late to claim her place., There surely will be another opportunity…. Let’s hope Beauty will be up to her third trial by fire..


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