truck path across Anne's front yard

image: Path of the truck across my front yard. My house on the left, and my small hackberry tree on the right. Arrow points to the cedar tree that stopped the truck

|| 13 August 2018

Living Dangerously at Provence-sur-la-Prairie

In the past two weeks, two bizarre occurrences have made life dangerous here at Provence-sur-la-Prairie. I am happy to report that the cats Sam and Kiri, the two baby possum, and I are nonetheless alive and well. But things might have turned out very differently. First, there was the gas leak.

At the top of my to-do list for my August away from the Nouvelles was to solve the mystery of a faint smell of gas in my backyard. Some days I noticed it, some days not. You ignore a possible gas leak at your peril, so I called the company that had replaced the old gas lines under my house several years ago.

What the workmen found with their high tech gadgets was somewhat bizarre.

My underground gas line to the house had cracked at a point beneath my vinca bed at the back side of the house. When I watered the vinca, the expanding clay soil sealed the leak. But when the soil dried out, the gas would leak up through the large cracks that the drought had put in my back yard. These cracks were (fortunately) 10+ feet (3 meters) from the house.

Cutting off my gas solved the immediate problem of a possible explosion. And replaced it with inconvenience. The work to install a new gas line could not begin for four days. In the meantime I had no hot water and could not cook on my kitchen stove. Then the actual gas line installation work took a day and a half. All in all, I had no hot water and no stove for six and a half days. Inconvenient, but with every blade of grass dead and dry, the potential for setting off a neighbor conflagration had been real.

More bizarre than the gas leak

Even more bizarre than the gas leak was the incident that occurred in the early hours of Friday, 10 August.

Shortly after midnight, a woman driving her car at high speed on the wrong side of the street crashed into my next door neighbor’s truck parked at the curb in front of his house. The impact and the angle at which the woman’s car hit the truck propelled the truck up over the curb and across my front yard some 150 feet. The truck missed the corner of my house by about 10 feet / 3 meters (and my little hackberry tree by inches) and was finally stopped by one of my old cedar trees.

In the photo at the top of the page you can see my house on the left, and the small hackberry tree on the right. And the cedar tree that stopped the truck.

In the photo below is a closer view of the cedar tree. The upper yellow arrow points to the sawed limb that went through the windshield of the truck. The lower arrow points to a piece of glass from the windshield still embedded in the bark of the tree. Around the piece of shattered glass you can see scraped bark from the impact. The tree does not (yet) appear to be damaged. And it prevented the truck from going further and hitting my neighbor’s fence and possibly her house.

cedar tree that stopped the truck with yellow arrows pointing to sawed limb that pierced windshield and glass embedded in bark


My neighbor’s truck is damaged beyond repair. A total loss. The woman driving the car that caused the damage was immediately jailed by the police. According to my neighbor, she was charged with texting while driving, failing to stop at a stop sign, and having drug paraphernalia in her car. Another neighbor’s security camera recorded the woman’s car running the corner stop sign and hitting the truck. Solid evidence.

I am fortunate that my house sits 50 feet back from the street. If it sat 20 feet closer, the path of the truck would have caused it to hit my front porch. And I have two windows next to my bed that open out on to the front porch. My heavy bedroom drapes would probably have protected me from flying glass. But still not a pleasant thought that the big 4-door truck might have hit my house a few feet from where I was sleeping.

So it goes at Provence-sur-la-Prairie. In June the storm felled my big sycamore tree. In late July came the gas problem. Now in August we had the truck-as-flying-missle problem. The old adage says that things come in threes. Perhaps life will be calmer now. For a while.

be chic, stay slim and PLEASE do NOT text while driving — Anne Barone

Index to Previous Nouvelles