Monday, July 20, 2009

Guest Blog by Robin Hathaway

Robin Hathaway, author of the popular Dr.
Andrew Fenimore and Dr. Jo Banks series, has
kindly agreed to appear as a guest on my blog,
and here's her contribution. Robin's writing has
always been music to my ears, and this short piece is no exception.
Check out Robin's web site, , and be sure you haven't
missed any of the adventures of
slightly-stodgy-but-lovable Dr. Andrew Fenimore,
and the swingin' motel medico, Dr. Jo Banks.


As you all know, Larry is a connoisseur of
old music boxes. We have one in our family—a
Mira, made about 100 years ago in
Switzerland. It's a beautiful wooden box, which
plays a collection of metal disks with such tunes
as "My Old Kentucky Home," "Stars and Stripes
Forever," "Lohengrin's Wedding March," etc. Once,
Larry kindly provided us with a history of the
box. Now, I'd like to tell you a true story about it.

One bitter cold February night my daughter,
Anne, aged twelve, woke us saying she smelled
smoke. (The fire alarm had gone off but we hadn't
heard it.) My husband and I shot out of bed.
Well...he shot, I crawled, because I had a broken
leg at the time. While Bob investigated the
smoke, Anne called 911, and I sat at the top of
the stairs, waiting to be helped down. It turned
out the fire was in the furnace.

The firemen arrived within minutes and
ordered us all out of the house. It was about 10
degrees and sleeting. One of the firemen carried
me out and planted me on our icy front stoop
where, despite the weather, the neighbors were
gathering. He went back in to attend to the fire.
As it turned out, the fire was electrical and was
put out easily with a bag of baking soda.
Everyone trooped back inside, except me, who had
to be carried (I could get used to this!).

While we were thanking the firemen, the chief spied the
music box in the corner of the living room.

"What's that?" he asked. We told him and he
immediately demanded that we play it.

So, there we were, at three o'clock in the
morning, in our night clothes (and in my case, a
6 lb cast) listening with four firemen to "Oh,
Susannah." One fireman began tapping his
foot—another sang along to the music. Pretty soon
we were all jigging and singing to those old
tunes. We must have played a dozen of them. (I
don't know how many houses burned down in the
meantime!) When the party finally broke up the
chief fireman warned us not to turn on the oil heater until it was repaired.

After they left, silence fell on the house,
and suddenly we became acutely conscious of the
cold. We decided we had better all sleep in the
same bed to keep warm. We were just dozing off
under a mountain of blankets and comforters when
Anne sat up in bed, and said, "Isn't there a law against this?"