Waiting for the Mailman

Mike “Goose” Davis

Mike Davis became a hero last week. He saved two Hispanic people from burning up in a house fire.

Mike’s name is Mike, of course, but most people call him by his longtime nickname “Goose.” Mike explains it this way:

“I bought me a goose one time up at the auction barn in Franklin. I must not have been more than 9-10 years old. So I had to carry it down Main Street to where my daddy’s truck was.

“Well, that goose took to pecking at me and flogging me with his wings to the point that everybody I saw started laughing at me. And, gradually, everybody started calling me Goose, which is alright by me.”

Over the years, Mike has become something of an institution around Leiper’s Fork. It’s hard to say how he got his celebrity status– longevity and personality, I guess, along with his nickname, of course– but over the years he has become known as a town character. Every town has one, and he’s ours. He’s a big tall man, with long blond hair and a rough yellow beard, and he looks for all the world like a down-on-his-luck Alan Jackson.

He’s a builder by trade, and a good one. He built out the tackroom in our barn. He’s very smart and doesn’t miss much of what goes on in the Fork.

Anyway, while Mike was driving into Franklin one day, he spotted a house on fire by the edge of the road. He pulled straight over into the yard and ran up and began banging on the front door. He didn’t know whether there was anyone home, but there was a truck in the driveway so he kept pounding louder and louder.

Finally, Mike said, a woman’s face appeared at the window looking frightened. You’ve got to understand, of course, that Mike can look pretty rough when he’s been working– with his wild hair, tattered bill cap, and sleeveless work shirt. So you can imagine what this woman thought when she looked out and saw this wild man banging on her door. Mike said, “She probably figured I was going to rob her.”

Eventually the woman opened the door and Mike began shouting, “Get out! Get out! Your house is on fire!” But the woman just stood there looking at him.

Then Mike finally realized, “She don’t speak no English. So I reached in the door and grabbed her by the arm and drug her outside to where she could see the fire.” The woman then broke loose and ran back into the house with Mike running after her yelling, “Get out! Get out!”

The lady ran back inside, it turned out, because her husband was asleep in his underwear back in the bedroom. She and Mike roused him and they all managed to run back outside to safety.

The fire had engulfed the back of the house by this time, so Mike called 911. This is the way he describes the phone call:

“That phone rang and rang and rang until finally this lady come on the line, and I said, ‘There’s a house on fire out here and y’all need to get out here quick!’

“Well, she punched some buttons or something and finally asked me where the fire was. So I told her it was on West Main right next to the school bus yard.

“Then she started asking me for the house number. She said they couldn’t come out without having the house number. And I said, ‘Hell, lady, it’s on West Main right next to the school bus yard. Everybody knows where that is!’ But the lady kept saying they had to have the house number.

“Well, hell, I didn’t know what the house number was. Just right next to the school bus yard is all I knew– everybody in town knew that. But she just kept asking.

“Finally, I got fed up with her and said, ‘Hell, lady, I ain’t got time to stand around and wait for the mailman to come!’ And I hung up the phone and went to see what I could do about saving the house.”

It was too late, though, and everybody just stood around out in the yard and watched as the fire destroyed everything.  A fire truck arrived about 20 minutes later, but the house was long gone. And the poor bereft homeowner was still standing in the yard in his underwear.

But Mike was a genuine hero– he’s that kind of guy– and Channel 5 came out to interview him about it. And he told the story just like I’ve said.