Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Sense of Community

Things are surely different in a small town. One thing that stands out is the local fire department. As far as I know, Cuba has always had a volunteer fire department. I seem to remember that Dad joined at one time. I think there was a small sign and a blue light on the front of one of our cars.

Every night at 6:01 PM the siren is tested here in Cuba. It is almost like the whistle that signifies the end of the day. It only lasts about 10 seconds but it is clearly heard all over town. It would be impossible not to hear it. It takes a couple seconds to spool up to a steady pitch, then it holds that pitch for a few seconds, then it spools down.

The pattern is different when the siren is sounded to call the volunteers. It spools up, holds the pitch for a few seconds, spools down somewhat but then spools back up again. It repeats this pattern for a minute or two. The rising and lowering pitch makes it unmistakable and impossible not to hear.

The siren has sounded three or four times since we have been here. A few evenings ago it went off about 7 PM and in just a couple minutes we saw fire trucks heading north out of town past our RV park. Most likely they were responding to a traffic accident or medical emergency because ambulances soon followed. At 1:55 this morning we had the first night time sounding of the siren since we have been here. It woke both of us and probably everyone else in town. Apparently not enough volunteers responded though, because five minutes later it sounded again.

As I lay in bed, trying to go back to sleep, I thought about the difference between living in the city and living in a small community. I realized that the difference is just that.... community.


  1. Wow, I've never heard you be so philosophical. Very nice to read your poignant post.

  2. Isn't it the truth? After living in Arizona for 52 years, my home town is still Cuba. Some may think that is weird, but out here, when you hear sirens, you pray that "Someone" will be safe. Back there, we knew who it was and what happened, and were concerned.