July 31, 2009 11:03:00 AM
Last Thursday I was so excited that I almost could not work! It was one of my "deposit" days at the junkyard and I can only hope that I got it right - in this day and age we need every dollar to count. Well, anyway, like I said, I was so excited because I was going to get to take my grandson, Coleman, to the uptown fire station to see the firemen and their fire trucks. My other half, Mike, had arranged with Ken Moore, the Fire Chief, to let us give Cole a first-hand look at one of the finer things about Columbus. We had to be there at 6:30 in the afternoon - I did not want to interfere with the firemen''s supper hour.
After telling my son, Judson and his wife, Jennifer, I started to get everything ready to go. I thought Cole should wear anything but red for my pictures I planned to take. I wanted to go by and get a Jubilation''s cheesecake to take for the men to eat, and I needed to get all my flowers watered and the lights turned on before I left to go pick-up Mike at City Hall. I was rushing around all day so it made the hours go by faster for me, thank heavens!
Well, finally, 6:30 came and we were pulling into the No. 1 fire station. We were immediately ushered in to the main building and surrounded by the nicest group of fellows. First, Captain Mike McReynolds told Cole that if he "heard" the noise that was just fixing to go off over the loud speaker, he should take his Mother''s hand and go to the back of the fire trucks, as the firemen would be going on a call. After a short call to 911, the sound came over the speakers filling the station with the alert; Cole grabbed his Mother''s hand, with his mouth wide open!
We then went outside to the trucks. Cole got to sit in the seat of the first truck and then in the second truck, he got to pull the cord to blow the loud horn. I jumped when Cole sounded the horn. Captain McReynolds showed us the axes and hoses, air tanks and hats and all the things that these fine men have to save us citizens of Columbus. I must say that not a thing was out of place.
I guess that most of us take for granted these fire trucks and firemen. For every minute of every day, 24/7, these men are just waiting for us to call on them. They all keep in shape and check the trucks and mow the grass and study CPR, all just to help us. I have always said that I would not live far from a fire station and I have abided that rule. It is sort of along the line of the advice my Dad always gave me. He always said to me, "Don''t go to bed without gas in the car" and I have always kept a pretty full tank. Therefore, I will always try to live close to these men and their trucks because I know they will come and quick if I need them.
I kept telling them we had to go because they had not eaten when we got there - they had been off giving blood. However, one of the men told me that this was one of the most fun parts of the job, showing the young ones around the fire station. These guys could not have been more gracious or patient with us or Cole. I was so proud that I had the opportunity to show him just one of the important jobs that "big" people do. I did have a few chill bumps during this visit as I watched those brave men talk to young Cole and show him what their job was all about.
Before I go, let me tell you one other story, and I hope Judson will forgive me. About 33 years ago, I took the same steps with him. Remember the fire station down by Red Bird Field in Propst Park? It would be located right in front of Stokes Beard School today. Well, I took Judson by for a visit with another group of fireman. These men seemed to be older than the group we have today and probably not as "with it," but they were just as nice. They set Judson up on the concrete wall that ran the length of the station, it was real wide, and when they rang out the siren, well, Judson, passed a little audible gas. I''m sorry, I just had to tell this, it is one of my funniest memories and it always makes me smile, remembering that little blonde head of hair and hearing Judson''s own siren.
So with Cole, I hope he will remember his trip to the fire station. I am wishing he will tuck away in his memory bank how nice the men were (and how big the trucks). He has not taken the hat off or given up the whistle in his bag of treats that they gave him. In fact, to get him home in his car seat, they had to turn his "Chief" hat backward.
I do not know how to express my thanks for these men who look over me day in and day out but I want them to know if Cole should ever "grow-up" to be half the men they are, then I will be proud, with or without a fire truck.
Carol Littlejohn is an occasional contributor to The Dispatch. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.