Last night I attended the Fish Pond Village Home Owners Association annual meeting and later that night I had a dream.

The electrical power had gone out and all of us—people who lived in all 25 units—were trapped inside the village. It was a dream, but I still remember it vividly.

It was about 9 o’clock at night and it was dark, with even darker clouds overhead and around the Village. It was so dark that the bats, black cats and armadillos were invisible. Only the howl of an occasional coyote could be heard in the distance. The Village dogs were whimpering and it was all the owners, Cindi, Nancy, Katy, Judy and the others could do to calm them.

Fortunately Rudy had an Armed Forces green beret-approved flashlight and was the first to help. He steadily and slowly made his way toward the gate, for Rudy alone had read and memorized the 15 pages of instructions on “how to open the gate when the electricity fails and everyone is scared out of their wits.” It was paragraph 15 of section 234 and Rudy had highlighted it with a type of pen from which the ink glows in the dark.

So Rudy was ready (remember this is my dream) but, alas, there were cars stuck by the gates, some trying to get in and some trying to get out. The Angels Awake car was trying to get out and the Hazard’s Care van was trying to get in. The drivers of both were frustrated and there was nothing in the instruction manual to help. If the electricity were to suddenly come on, the vehicles might be crushed because the vehicles had lined up on the wrong side of the entrance. Those wanting in were at the out-gate and those wanting out were at the in-gate. In addition, several more vehicles had arrived and lined up in the wrong places. Things were in bad shape.

Rudy decided to call the Village Board of Directors for help. There was no way he could climb over the fence, insert the little key in the little box and open the big gates without damaging the Angels or the Hazards.

Cindy answered immediately, grabbed her Eveready Navy Seal-approved flashlight—which incidentally weighted ten pounds. She went next door and yelled for Karl, but he was confused and had gone out his back door and was trying to get over the fence toward Rambler Street, where he could hear a turkey gobbling in the distance.

Not to be outdone, nor to be without courage, Cindy found her way to Myra’s, also next door, but not quite as next door. “Myra,” she yelled, “come quickly, there has been a problem opening the gate and we are all trapped.” Myra, of course, answered quickly, but she had recently been given permission by the Village Board to place more plants on her porch and in the dark she was being restrained by three palm trees and entangled in a blackberry bush. She couldn’t get loose and would spend the next two nights on her porch.

Cindy, however, was resourceful and headed over to the corner house to find Nancy, who is generally responsible for any problems in the ‘Hood. Nancy answered the call immediately and they headed toward the gate. In the dark Rudy couldn’t hear him coming and they had turned off their flashlights to conserve battery life, they bumped into each other.

They fell to the pavement and with them went their trusty flashlights, but now useless because they were broken. At just that moment the Village Board chairperson (actually a chairwoman) arrived with fiery torch that she had quickly assembled by wrapping an old towel around a golf club, dipping it in kerosene, and lighting it,. Everyone could see again and the sight was not pretty.

Karl, finally realizing where he was, had left his back yard, seized a bottle of lighning bugs that he always kept handy in case of blackouts, and made his way to the gate. He was now standing on the Hazard car and trying to go over the out gate. But at that very moment the electricity came back on and the out-gate began to swing out and the in-gate began to swing in. Unfortunately for the Hazard and the Angel cars, there was a great crunching of metal as the gates and the cars met each other. Karl, now on top of the out-gate, leaped on the Angel, sending it backward enough so that the gate could open. He then, with the help of Rudy, Cindy, Nancy and Judy, pushed the Hazard to the side so that the in-gate could go in.

The gates were a bit damaged but Nancy called Molly and Cromwell immediately dispatched three maintenance men to the village. They arrived two days later and fixed the gates.

I was confused when I woke up—what on earth had I been dreaming about? But then I remembered last night’s Home Owner’s Association meeting and was relieved. I knew then that, even in the most terrible situation, there would be Fish Pond Village residents to help. No need to call 911 or get excited because our Association Board is ready and waiting.

But it was a dream, so maybe I should read the instructions on how to get out of the Village, because the electricity will certainly go off sometime. However, I would have to get out of my garage first and that would take some time and effort.

I think I’ll just call Cindy or Nancy first–I know Rudy will be ready. Dream on!

Karl Franklin
November 16
Fish Pond Village
Waco, Texas