Monday, March 19, 2007

Today's Letter, The Letter F

I really like Firemen.
Sure, it's a sweeping generalization. There were those "bad" fireman from Backdraft years ago....
But, by and large, I really like Firemen.
I have a long history with firemen (if not just the idea of firemen) dating back to pre-school. The ONLY thing I can clearly remember from pre-school is the day the firemen visited. In fact, I don't even really remember the firemen themselves, I just remember the plastic red hats they gave out (and how realistic they seemed to me) and I wouldn't take mine off for nap time. It caused a stir... and that's all I remember. Years later, I realized how comforting it was to merely wave and smile at firemen as they drove by. It kinda feels like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. Even now. Maybe even more now?
I'm the product of living in the west village on september 11th, 2001 (and for many more septembers before and after)-- but I'm sure it has something to do with this strange dreamlike moment as that big truck passes you by. Everyone on the truck is safe. At this very moment, before they arrive at the next disaster, these guys are safe. They're just heroes-in-waiting. I know I'm not the only one to feel this way: Everytime a firetruck drives by (usually without siren) or a man in the uniform walks by on his way to drain a hydrant, I say something to whoever I'm near --'firemen are great, aren't they?' i say, and my friend(s) and/or strangers I talk to say, 'yeah, i love firemen.' --it's inevitable.
I just wanted to recognize this passion for firemen has been a before, after, and a now thing for a lot of us.

I have a very, very good friend that is still a NYC fireman and I'm very proud to have this friend. There's a million stories I'd like to re-tell about my friend, Marcel, but maybe they'll trickle out little by little over time.... Marcel introduced me to the world of Engine 24/Ladder 5 in NY. Among other wonderful things Marcel and the guys have done for me, they once saved my apartment from burning to the ground. And they lost 13 guys on september 11th, 2001. In a bar one night, not long after that september day, I met three firemen who had driven across country from Oregon. They were in town to help replace a truck for a company who's ladder truck was totaled. We spent the night getting good and toasted (it's all you really wanted to do in those first few weeks afterwards) and played a lot of bad pool. As we stumbled on to the next location, I asked what Fire Company they were helping out. Probably no coincidence, it was Marcel's, ladder 5.
The fireman mystique grew-- it was bi-coastal.

Just yesterday I was sitting outside of a coffeeshop and that classic, iconic big red truck pulled up in front of me. Three firemen jumped out and two of them came right towards me and squished me between them on the bench seat. I wasn't really sure what we were all joking about, but I know I unabashedly giggled with joy!
I like firemen.

On the same day, I walked into a shop and before I knew it, I bought these plates. I couldn't pass them up. Yes, the old firetruck drawings caught my eye. But, what really did me in was the fact that they were all from different counties in New York. My firemen and their rides immortalized on china plates! (Plus all the other potential history these things hold: this one, Tarrytown, is the only town I've ever been arrested in. But, that is another story for another time. Maybe when the letter of the day is 'P' for "police".)

The other "F" for the day is flowers. My friend, Mo, is in the DeYoung Bouquets to Art Show which is going on this week, and she gave me some of her left overs once she'd finished her amazing creation. The house is now happily FULL of them! Thanks, Mo! It was inspiring to watch you work today.


Christina said...

love those dishes!

Rye said...

Firemen are great, it's true! 24/5 was my local house too. Great find on the plates! keep writing!