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Darla Stories...9-1-1 Edition, Nashville

After 3 years of good times in Dallas, Bill up and decided he wanted to go to graduate school. (It was actually kind of always in the plan, but it sounded better to say “up and decided”.)

He chose Vanderbilt University as the place to get his MBA and before I knew it we had rented a townhouse within walking distance of the university. It was two-story, but quite small. So small in fact that…I kid you not…once, when we got our new puppy Looper, we had a friend of Bill’s come stay with us. He slept on our pull out couch downstairs. Looper was fenced into our tiny, tiny kitchen. The dog barked and cried the ENTIRE night. So I had to keep getting up and taking the dog out. Problem was, when the couch was pulled out, it reached from one wall to the other. So I had to keep climbing across the bed to get to the dog. I felt awful about it. Over and over it was “excuse me…excuse me.” “I’m so sorry….so very, very, sorry.”

Now if we’d been thinking better, Bill and I would have just traded and given him our bed upstairs and slept on the pull out couch near the dog. Apparently though common sense isn’t something they can teach you - even in the fanciest of business schools.

And come morning…well our visitor was gone. Left in the middle of the night to travel home. Said he wasn’t sleeping anyway. And come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him again. I’m still just so sorry about that.

But back to the 9-1-1 Nashville episode.

And I should say up front that it really did sound like we were getting bombed by the Iraqis. It really, really did.

And this was 1993 so we weren’t too far past the Gulf War and I guess I was still a little jumpy.

Bill was away at a study group and I was home by myself. It had been sleeting and snow was predicted. The ice started piling up on the electrical lines and pretty soon transformers began blowing all over the city.

Now I had never, ever heard a transformer blow before and had no idea that it could sound like a bomb exploding. And it was happening over and over and over again. And the sky would light up each time.

So I called 9-1-1.

And told them I thought we were being bombed.

By the Iraqis.

And Bill just dies that I ever could have possibly thought that the Iraqis had somehow managed to get all the way to middle America without being picked up on radar, shot down by our military, etc.

And I tell him I did not have time to worry about all those details.

The nice folks at 9-1-1 assured me we weren’t being bombed. And when they tried to tell me it might be transformers blowing, I told them it sounded more like a bomb…even though, AS I MENTIONED, I had never heard a transformer blow before.

And in my defense, on the news it said “loud explosions were being reported” - I guess they had heard I’d called.

It wasn’t long though before our own power went out.

And it was out for five of the LONGEST, COLDEST, DARKEST nights of my life.

I nearly froze to death.

Felt like Laura Ingalls except there was no fire for Pa to stoke.

And I probably would have considered calling 9-1-1 to tell them I thought frostbite was setting in, but we needed electricity for the phone to work.

And that might have been the only time I ever thought about calling 9-1-1 and didn’t.