It was the stuff of celebrations, those little white balls. We had a lot of it in our back yard when I was small. Clover. Simple clover. But I loved it. I would throw myself into one particularly large patch, grab handfuls of the balls and throw them in the air. As they rained down on me, I would shout, “Happy New Year!”–a child’s version of fireworks that light the sky when each year approaches.

I wasn’t the only one to enjoy the clover. Our pet rabbit, Cottontail, lived in a hutch that leaned against the back of our house. We occasionally let her out to eat clover to her heart’s content. She loved it…as well as the merry chase that followed when trying to return her to the hutch.

We enjoyed our large back yard, with its huge patches of clover and space to run around.

One day Mother and I were home alone while my dad was at work and my sister, at school. Mother was baking banana bread and I was coloring in the living room. The aroma called to me and, as I walked through the dining room en route to the kitchen, I happened to glance out the large picture window that overlooked our backyard. I stopped and looked again, walking closer to the window to be sure I was seeing correctly. Yes, I was. Our back yard was on fire.


I ran to the kitchen. “Mother! Mother! Our yard is on fire!” She paled when she looked out the window, but quickly got on the phone to alert the fire department. We were in the back yard with our garden hose trained on the blaze when the emergency trucks arrived, sirens blaring. The fire fighters quickly extinguished the flames with only the back half of our yard burned. The blaze didn’t reach our home or Cottontail’s hutch.

We were blessed.

Our backyard neighbor was not so blessed. She had been burning trash in a barrel in her yard with the wind blowing our way. The fire chief had some stern words with her about fire safety and, I think, gave her a hefty fine.

I feasted on banana bread when the excitement died down. It had baked twice as long as it should have, making it overly crisp (actually, Mother said it was burnt and needed to be thrown out), but smothered in melted butter, it was just perfect.

And the clover…much was lost, but it soon grew back with a vengeance…making Cottontail–and me–very happy.

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