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 …

To The End, To Failure, To You & Me

We filed in, the last visitors in uniform of the day. There is no good news on this floor of the hospital; people here often aren’t going home. Family members stand teary-eyed and solemn, holding vigil over their loved ones as they slip loose these earthly shackles and transition to …

5128

On May 5th, 2015, the City of Springfield Fire Department was dispatched to its five thousand one hundred and twenty eighth call for the year. For run #5128, Engine Company #1, C-shift was toned out for a “fire in a house” call at approximately 7:50am. The house in question was …

Thank You, Anonymously

The note with my handwritten name on the envelope arrived at the firehouse, an event unusual enough. We rarely receive personal mail there outside of the obligatory thank-you note from grade school kids after a tour or event. The hand writing caught my eye, as I did not recognize it. …

Do It All Over, Again

“Your story isn’t calm. The road has been chaotic at times, filled with detours and rain and loss so sudden and soon. Sometimes, the bliss was so elevated your heart could hardly hold it. Sometimes it was maddening to have, and then to lose. You learn soon enough that it …