Who knows how, or why I came up with the question but I remember asking my parents one morning, “If there is tar on a telephone pole, can it burn?” Simple enough question, I suppose.
Mom or Dad told me that, ‘yes, it might be a fire hazard,’ and that was all I needed to hear! I headed out the door and up the street, then into the ‘boonies;’ the tall grass in Okinawa where we often played – only because we were told not to.
After what seemed like hours I finally discovered a telephone pole with tar on the base of it. Looked like a fire hazard to me! So, down the hill, through the boonies I ran until I got to my street. From there it was just another short sprint to our house. Once I got into the house, I called the Fire Department, as any good citizen would, to report the fire hazard I had just discovered.
I was asked where I lived, and where the ‘hazard’ was. I told the fireman I would meet him back up the hill and take him to the spot myself – as any good citizen might. So, back up the hill I went.
It wasn’t long before a couple firetrucks rolled up, and the guys got out in those neat shiny, aluminum-foil suits. Even after I exclaimed what I had seen they were still not sure what they might be dealing with. So, I told them I would take them up through the boonies – to show them the spot – and off we went.
By this time it was shortly before noon, and hot as Hell, although I wasn’t allowed to say ‘Hell’ in those days. I thought those guys did pretty well though – dragging their hoses with them up through the boonies on a very hot morning!
It was when we finally reached the ‘hazardous’ telephone pole that the Chief became hotter than the morning! And his language! ‘Hell’ was the least of it…
In the end, I actually felt bad for those guys, dragging those hoses back down off that hill that morning – but no where near as bad as I felt after Dad got home! And from that day on I haven’t cared how much tar is on a telephone pole. The damn things can all burn as far as I am concerned!