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fall 2003

Howdy Folks,

For once, I'm happy to be writing one of these letters, cause a few days ago I was almost toast.

Our friend Judy "the Torch" from Youngstown paid us a visit that almost turned into the last we would ever receive. On the second night that the Torch was here, I woke up about 5:15 in the morning smelling something that did not smell good and my eyes were burning. I got up and stuck my head out of the master suite door and looked down the hallway into the great room area of the house. Somebody had left a light on in the kitchen area behind the great room, and the entire area was flooded with a thick white haze that looked like the Missouri river fog that often envelops the area in the summer. I got a good panoramic view. (Remember this bi-level is 100 feet long.) I stood staring dumbly at all that fog at the other end of the hallway when my cerebral gears finally clicked. It doesn't fog up on the inside of houses.

Fire! Well, friends, I went streaking (the correct term since I was buck-arsed nekked) down the hall headed for the kitchen. There sitting on the stove was a tea pot, melting over a low fire. I shut off the fire, cracked some windows and the deck door for cross ventilation, then turned on the AC/furnace fan. I checked everything, sat for awhile, and finally went back to bed.

When I awakened later that morning, Shirl and Judy were already up. Seems Judy is in the habit of frequently brewing herself a little late night tea to help her sleep--only this time she changed her mind and thought she'd turned off the flame. Instead she turned it on low. When she woke up about six and came upstairs, she thought all the haze looked spooky, like London fog. So she went back to bed! I yelled at her, "You went back to bed! Were you afraid Jack the Ripper would get you?"

This house is all cedar, even the wall studs. The carpenters who did remodeling for us told me, "Man, if this place ever starts to burn, you got two or three minutes to get out or it's barbecue city." Incidentally, that morning was Shirl's birthday. She almost got to try and blow out her house instead of candles on a cake.

Anyway, Judy's kitchen privileges are revoked, and the next time she comes for a visit she gets a sleeping bag on the lawn and a can of sterno to play with. The woman always was nuttier than a pecan tree. And she melted a treasure. That tea pot were genuine ceramic, made in Ceram, by native Cermamites. Try replacing that!

Jim "Dalmatian"

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