Introducing Ronna’s Blog

Guest author, Ronna Anderson
Paris, Arkansas

My family and I arrived in Paris, Arkansas, 20 years ago this past Fourth of July, with the items and clothing that could fit in the car with the five of us! We left California behind us just days after an earthquake that had really shaken some people up. That’s not why we left. The earthquake seemed trivial in comparison to some of the other activity that was occurring around us at the time, and although we had never been in or had seen Arkansas before, we arrived full of hope for better days ahead.
Within two days I had found a job, and less than two weeks later, had bought a small but adorable house on North Fifth st. To this day I think back to two events that took place within our first few months in our new life, and chuckle!
My oldest son, 14 at the time, was helping me rake leaves in the front yard. The neighbor told us that it was usual to “burn” the piles of leaves once you had raked them. A strange concept for a single mother of four that had just moved from a big city, and had never seen anything like that done before. But, wanting to do as the Romans do, burning it was. “How does one burn leaves? Ahhh, most likely the way one burns charcoal in the barbecue!”
Once the leaves caught fire, and I watched diligently and kept control with my trusty rake, the wind shifted! The flames grew higher than I would have expected, and headed towards the house! Within seconds a car pulled over that had been driving by and a man jumped out and began helping to push the fire back. Another car stopped, then another, and another! There were several men working at putting out that fire, and they did so quite well! I remember being amazed at the fact that town folk would just stop and help, no questions asked!
When the fire was out, I was yelling “Thank you! Thank you so much!” as each man jumped back into their car or truck and headed on down the road. Except, one man walked up to the porch and explained to me that I would get the bill in the mail. “A bill?” I asked, confused. “Yes”, he replied, “the volunteer fire dept needs to be reimbursed”. I laughed and laughed. When I told him I had just moved here and thought all those men were citizens passing by he giggled too. Then he said something that stole my heart….
“Since you have just moved to our town, and didn’t know how to burn the way you should, and have children to feed, we will not bill you this time. But please be more careful in the future!”
That man, I believe, was John Paul Wells. And I did learn my lesson. And I have passed it on to others!
And have never forgotten the kindness…..
Love ya;