Ready to Dance
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This is an actually an old blog I wrote. It really does not have anything to do with rescuing dogs or saving money. My husband was a volunteer firefighter several years ago. Talk about NOT making or saving money !! LOL But this is my blog and I can post it if I want to 😉 So … happy reading.
We were watching a movie… We were eating dinner… We were enjoying drinks at the bar… We were having a good time… And then the pager goes off. In a matter of seconds, he is gone and I am alone. Again.
My boyfriend is a volunteer firefighter. Yep. Volunteer. He does not get paid. He does not get a benefits package. He doesn’t have normal working hours. His work schedule is what is known as ‘on call’. There is no telling when he will be called in. It doesn’t matter what is going on or what he is doing. It could be the middle of the night and the tones will go out, scaring us out of a deep sleep (trust me … not fun). Before I know it, the front door opens and closes and his side of the bed is empty. Again.
While I am left to finish cooking (if you know me you probably just had a moment of fear and panic at that statement) he is off to do the unimaginable. Fight fire. And he is not alone. All over town, there are volunteers rushing to get to the firehouse to face who knows what. They are indeed a family of firefighters, all sharing the same thing … crappy hours and dangerous job sites. Yep. Dangerous. As you know, fire is sometimes known to be. One never knows what to expect when a call comes in. More often than not, in this town, it is an AFA or activated fire alarm. When it isn’t an AFA, it is likely a CO alarm or a water sprinkler alarm. Basically, lots of alarms. The volunteers share the same rush, the same excitement. When those tones go out, they run. Always hoping for ‘the big one’. If the words ‘working fire’ ever come over the scanner, you better believe they be runnin’. Chasing flames, eating smoke … they have all these poetic phrases to describe what they do. The engine in his house even reads ‘…ready to dance with the devil.’ Fancy metaphors to describe the accuracy of what they love to do. And don’t get me wrong, they LOVE to do it. (I sometimes wonder in my many abandoned moments, if sometimes he doesn’t love it more than he loves me. Nah. Close, maybe.) They say one has to be just a little bit crazy to be a firefighter. Volunteers are a kind of crazy all their own.
The significance and importance of what these brave souls do is undeniable. Without them, more homes would be destroyed, more lives lost. Not just anyone is willing to serve under these conditions. Remember the no pay, always on call, sheer interruptus of one’s life only to run out and risk said life …. voluntarily. Yea … definitely crazy. And completely selfless. It truly takes a special kind of person to live this life (and I do mean special).
As for me, I cannot explain the feeling I get when I hear those sirens screaming and see those bright lights flashing. Truth be told, I have always felt this since I was a little girl. My grandpa used to have a scanner, much like the one that lives in my house now. He used to listen to that scanner all day and all night. He would take me out on calls and we would watch the fire trucks fly past us, sirens blaring loudly, flashing lights dancing against the starry (ok smoggy) backdrop of a night sky. There were men in bulky uniforms and scary looking alien type masks running into buildings with colorful flames shooting out the broken windows. Exhilarating. (Pause to reflect on my childhood memories…) When my grandpa passed away, I found that I couldn’t sleep at night without hearing the static and voices coming over the radio. It became a part of me. Growing up, I surrounded myself with firefighters. Hanging out at the firehouse, going to parties and always chasing calls. A bonafide hoopelette (not sure if this would be the correct spelling of what is undoubtedly a made up term coined by some of the finest volunteers I know.) I would stand on the street watching houses burn …. for hours. Mesmerized. Over the years, I made friends who shared this same fascination (surprisingly). It was amazing and truly indescribable. Fire held such power … such beauty.
So … I get it. In fact, when I started dating my boyfriend, he was not a firefighter. He had family who was on the department and they always tried to get him to join. I was all for it. Once again, I could hear the scanner and I could feel the rush that came whenever I heard sirens singing in the night. I loved the idea of being with a firefighter. The thrill and the pride pulled at my heart. His graduation was an amazing experience for me. I literally swelled with pride and love and of course, admiration. All these years I’ve spent admiring firefighters, respecting fire with an awe that I cannot even put into words, and feeling that rush of excitement (which is now coupled with a sharp stab of fear at every call). This time, it is much closer to home.
We were watching a movie… We were eating dinner… We were enjoying drinks at the bar… We were having a good time… and then the pager goes off. In a matter of seconds, he is gone and I am alone. Again.
But I know that he must go. I also know that he is with family – his brothers and sisters who will have his back no matter what. That feeling of pride I have because of the brave, selfless man he is outweighs the aggravation and annoyance of being left (most of the time). And I know without a doubt, that he is indeed a little bit crazy. I suppose, I must be too.
UPDATE: My husband is no longer on the fire department, as we moved out of a volunteer town. He still has family there and I pray every night for each of them and the ones that are left behind.