Paper Tigers In The Golden Cage

And another Sunday is spent at the firehouse, and with it, the promise of less radio chatter, fewer demands, and more time for the mind to roam across our own plains. Even our usual clientele seems less inclined to dial 911 on this day; it’s as though they are intuitively gearing up …

Ghosts & Chaos

THE rain falling outside the station office windows was a perfect background soundtrack to the task at hand on an Easter morning: editing employee evaluations over a pot of coffee. It’s Sunday, so the rest of the crew is enjoying the holiday in the various corners of our cavernous firehouse, …

Soul Plane

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks”           -W. Churchill “I wouldn’t say we were elite, no; when I look at things, though, I guess you could say I’ve had a pretty charmed life.” The old …

The Navigator

*insert witty, heartfelt statement about life being a journey, not a destination* “For all of your suffering No one gives a good goddamn It’s all about the money, son We doubt you understand”  R. Bingham A friend, a good and dear friend, came home the other day to be told …

Shelf Life

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” A. Einstein The first essay in this new year should be a song of unending optimism, right? In …

Uninvited

“There’s a man who walks beside me/ He is who I used to be/ And I wonder if she sees him/ And confuses him with me” -Jason Isbell, “Live Oak”   “I’m so sorry….” my voice never murmurs the words, but I’m sure she saw it in my eyes. I just …

Till The Magnolias Bloom

“I have a Goodwill gift for you.”  A casual sentence that sends my heart into atrial fibrillation. She’s thought of me. She pulled the trigger on a dime-store gift, which is, in and of itself, significant. There’s history there. Flea market, Goodwill, thrift store scores are greater than retail-bought; because …

It Just Happened Today, Again

Every year on this day, we are reminded of that most dark chapter of the fire service, and our nation; I’ve written more than a few essays on a fireman’s point of view on 9/11. When it happened I was a 26 year old side pocket, ladder-truck fireman, who’s only …

The View From Up Here

Imagine if you will, you’re now a lieutenant. Scratch that. You’re a LIEUTENANT on the CITY OF SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI FIRE DEPARTMENT, and that is an alleged “Big Deal” to the Administration of aforementioned department and now you have responsibilities. Real responsibilities with real consequences. One of those responsibilities, among the …

Fully Sleeved, On My Sleeve

The tones ring out, again, at 3am. People seem to have a lot of emergencies, real or imagined, at 3am. Conversely, my tolerance for people who abuse the 911 system is at an all time low when you’ve roused me from a two hour catnap because you’ve stubbed your toe …