One of the characteristics of small town life, no matter where in the world, is that many individuals play multiple roles in a community. The local mayor may be a local business owner who gets $5000 a year for their compensation for public service. Volunteer firefighters are called from church services. When I lived in rural Iowa, the same person served as county sanitarian and 911 phone operator. Clearly few septic systems were ever pro-actively inspected.
Last week I got a note from a friend from rural Manitoba. They had some excitement when their combine caught fire. As my friend Margaret reported: “Brother law looked back and there was smoke so jumped out. First couple of hours of combining of the season. Ed was in the other yard dumping grain.”
Getting assistance in such an instance can be difficult. My great aunt’s house out in the country started fire in the ten minutes between my calling her and our getting to her house and the volunteer fire department was already there—very impressive. My friend experienced a bit of a greater challenge. She said: “Fire trucks were slow. Apparently 911 has different names for the North south Roads than I do and we are on a juridical boundary. Also 911 didn’t answer very quickly. Should have called the fire chief’s tire shop in Benito. Probably couldn’t have save it anyway but scary.”
Thankfully all were safe. Margaret recently sent me a note that said: “Combining is going well. They brought in a custom combiner and will look for combine over the winter. Yields are good.”