Friday, February 20, 2009

The Force will be with them, always.

"I want to learn the ways of the force and become a Jedi like my father."
Luke Skywalker

Some kids are just born into it. Their ears perk up and their heads whip around at the distant sound of a siren. They can spot flashing lights from miles away. They spot the faintest hint of smoke on the horizon. Oh, I know all little boys push toy fire engines around on the floor and dress up as firemen for Halloween or Career Day at least once. I'm willing to bet, however, that most of them can't tell you what's on fire by the color of smoke wafting up towards the clouds. Most kids don't know what a "1050 structure fully involved" means. Most boys don't know how to pull water uphill from a hydrant through a truck. And if the truth were known, most of them really don't want to go tearing into burning buildings when they grow up. Mine do. Because it's bred into them. There's no escaping the power of The Force.

This is our great-great grandfather, Clarence. Clarence was a firefighter with our city department back when horses pulled the water wagons. When Clarence went to work, the firemen took turns sitting atop a tower downtown keeping an eye out for smoke. I'm betting they didn't save too many homes back in Clarence's days on the department, but he sure looked handsome in his uniform. I'm told he was quite a lady's man...even though he was married. I'm also told he drank a lot! In fact, great-great grandaddy Clarence showed up drunk at the firehouse one day. As punishment, he had to paint the whole tower by himself. He ended up falling off the scaffolding and limping for the rest of his life.

Fortunately, the city hadn't had enough of our family yet. In keeping with tradition, our Grandaddy joined the same fire department upon returning home from World War II. Grandaddy was a fireman in the days when they had truck, but no air packs. Firemen just held their breaths and ran in! He recalls pulling fellow firemen out of buildfings and lining them up on the ground, unconscious from breathing in so much smoke. In fact, when Grandaddy had his first open heart surgery, the doctors thought he'd been a life-long smoker. He'd only smoked a little during the war, but his lungs were blackened from inhaling years of smoke in fires. Grandaddy became a city Fire Inspector...which really came in handy during Fire Safety week at school each year. I got to bring in all sorts of cool pencils and coloring books to my classmates! I don't think it hurt my chances much when I wanted to be a school Fire Marshall, either. You don't turn down the Inspector's granddaughter.

Naturally, my sister and I grew up to marry firemen. Yes, both of us. I actually MET my hubby at a fire station. (Don't ask me what I was doing hanging out at a fire department at 15 years old. I never claimed that my parents were all that smart!) Hubby joined the same city department when Darling Daughter was just a tiny baby. My daughter rode on an ambulance for the first time at the age of three months. She wasn't was a parade. She hasn't expressed any interest in flame-dousing herself, thank heaven! She does shriek and beg to ride along when the calls go out, though.

Like I said, if their born into it, you can't keep them out of it. Now the Oldest is putting photos like this one up on his facebook that make me want to yell, "Don't go into the light! Keep away from the light!" Yes, seeing your baby stand within yards of a wall of fire WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE does wonders for a mom's sanity.

I'm grateful that my twins seem to have developed a healthy sense of fear when it comes to fire. If the smoke alarms go off, they're on their bellies heading for the door! They'll run back inside in a flash, but at least they run out first! I guess if they're going to have a driving force, I'm glad it's an honorble one. I'm glad to be married to a man who's willing to put himself in danger to help others. And I'm proud to have a son who's willing to do the same.
Happy Birthday, Hubby! You still light my fire!


Chelsea Gour said...

Wow, it really does run in your family. There's just no getting around it!
So, Mrs. Incredible ...what are your super powers? LOL

a Tonggu Momma said...

What a history! And happy birthday to the husband!

Michelle said...

happy bday!! i love that pic of him & her!