Let me set the stage.
It was a little past seven o’clock last Thursday evening. The weather was very foggy that night, and the sun sets before five this time of year, so it was really dark and nasty outside. Danielle was easing Ethan into his bedtime routine, and I was fiddling with some hardware in my office.
I heard distant police sirens and fire engine horns growing steadily louder. Our neighborhood is usually pretty quiet. We don’t get a lot of police chases or gang shootouts. But the sirens grew louder still, and I could see the flashing lights through my office blinds. A moment later the noise reached its ear-splitting cacophonous crescendo of police, ambulance, and fire sirens, along with occasional loudspeaker announcements too distorted to make out. I decided to investigate what was going down.
I peeked out the front door, and I saw a massive fleet of police and emergency vehicles across the street a few houses down. Neighbors were all coming out to see. Some people were shuffling up the street toward our house. I was sure I smelled smoke.
I retreated inside, and Danielle and Ethan were there staring out the living room window. Ethan looked absolutely terrified. The noise was unbearable. We had no idea what was happening. Was there a fire? An industrial accident? A natural disaster? I was ready to pack a bag and say goodbye to all my worldly possessions forever.
As a ladder truck crept past our house, we finally heard a voice on the loudspeaker we could understand. It boomed THANK YOU FOR COMING OUT TO SUPPORT THE CHRISTMAS PARADE.