Made my annual pilgrimage to the New Auburn Area Fire Department banquet Saturday. Played a little bingo, visited with the Beagle (and his tattoo), many other dear friends and neighbors. Dang, I love the place.
Also got to see a guy I made many calls with in the past. In Truck, I mention him in the following passage:
Ryan fell through the ice on his way to go fishing last winter. He went all the way to the bottom and bounced back to the top without losing his fire pager. Now we call him the human fish finder.
Ryan’s real name is Rayne. I remember when he first started with the department. Like all young rookies, he got his share of ribbing, and plenty of it from me. But it is with utter solemnity that I report Ryan/Rayne moved up north and joined the Ashland Fire Department and is now being honored (along with three fellow members) for actions that have my deepest respect. If you know anything about Lake Superior in winter, you will understand how grateful we are that everyone is back safely ashore.
So last night was the final class of our required biannual emergency first responder refresher course. These days I am privileged to be answering calls with the Emergicare division of our local Township Fire Department, but the only refresher that fit my schedule was the one up in New Auburn, with my old Population 485 crew. So it’s been fun. A goofball reunion of sorts.
My good friend, neighbor, and butcher, Bob the One-Eyed Beagle was in fine form last night. He informed me that yesterday someone came by the meat market with a bunch of books and asked him to sign each one of’em. He got a big kick out of that. Then he told the story of how he hauled an old defunct TV to the recycling center the other day. He says he stopped at the cafe and one of the regulars asked him why he had a TV in the back of his pickup. “I told him I was trying to get the Outdoor Channel!” said Beagle.
Snuck up to Jamboree Days Sunday. It was good to see folks. My wife and I and our two little ones wandered around through the carnival, ate charcoal chicken and homemade hot dogs, sat on the sidewalk and caught candy during the parade, and watched some softball. I got to see many of my Nobbern firefighting pals. Always so good to visit. The photo above is of me and my friend, neighbor and fellow firefighter Bob the One-Eyed Beagle. Not only is Bob a good guy, he is a master at turning our pigs into neat little packages of smoky delight…
If you don’t know the story of how Bob got his nickname, it’s in here.
P.S. It used to be the beer tent, but now it’s the beer barn. They’ve done quite a job of tuning up the park there in Nobbern. I remember when I moved back in 1995, there was a falling down softball backstop and some old horseshoe pits. Now it’s a going concern. Tip of the cap to all the volunteers sung and unsung.
In 2007, my wife and I had the opportunity to take over my mother-in-law’s farmstead near Fall Creek, Wisconsin. I am no longer in the New Auburn fire district, but am pleased to say I am now allowed to carry a pager for the local volunteer rescue service in my township*, and I still make it back to “Nobbern” regularly to see the Beagle, help out at Jamboree Days, and attend the annual banquet with all my NAAFD pals. In other words, we’re still neighbors.
*I am required to complete a refresher course (currently a 28-hour module) every two years to maintain my licensure. Sometimes my book tours and/or road schedule preclude my attending in a timely manner, in which case I revert to “inactive” status until I can complete the requirements (I often have to piece together more than one refresher). This is a tidbit of interest to only a tiny wedge of folks but I include it here as some of my publicity materials and bios refer to me as an “active” member of the local fire or rescue services, and although I am now in my third decade of EMS service, I didn’t want to appear to be misrepresenting the department on account of a technicality. There: The explanation is officially longer than the post.
Publisher’s Description: in over his head with two pigs, a dozen chickens, and a baby due any minute, the author of Truck: A Love Story gives us a humorous, heartfelt memoir of a new life in the country.