Just Laugh. 2nd Chapter – “May I have a glass of water?”

Like the Dylan Thomas characters no one was hurt in my family’s fires and as a result I can laugh at every one of them, after the event. One, a story I heard from Dot, my mom, long after my sisters and brother had moved into their adult lives. It happened in a house I never knew, not the rich residence in Chicago’s Beverly hills before the Depression, the brick house with servants, nanny and cook. No, this was a cottage they had shrunk into when the Great Depression reared its ugly head. My sisters were six, and five, my brother was three. They were playing in the attic as it was raining. Suddenly, down they came, after a quiet hour of play, and Jane, the oldest asked my mother. “May I have a glass of water.” It was an odd request. The little stinker was faking pure innocence. As my mother looked at the stairs above them she could see the orange lick of flames. Of course, the fire department responded to the alarm and my mother, an the cleanest Irish mother in the world, said the firemen’s boots and the water everywhere did more damage than the flames. And, then she told me, “I should have known those stinkers were up to something. They were too quiet playing in the attic (with matches as it later was found out).” Today, my entire family howls, laughing when we recall her question – “May I have a glass of water.”
© Maryrose Carroll

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