The purpose of this post is to offer my heartfelt thanks to those of you (both givers and readers) participating in World Book Night. After the word went out and givers started signing up, I quickly realized I couldn’t manage to personally thank everyone in the manner they deserved, so I hope this post will go a little way toward doing that. Notes, photos (including the Beagle’s tattoo!), and a video after the break.
This happened a few years back, and I think I posted these on the old version of the site, but just came across them again. One of my more memorable signings. Country music stars get asked to sign the ladies’…well…but when you write a book about fire and EMS this is as good as it gets. I was pretty nervous.
Some old Post-its I scribbled notes on down at the fire hall when I was working on Population 485. This October will mark ten years since that book came out and the reaction to it still surprises me in the most heartwarming ways. It was an honor to write about a place I love, and to write as best I could about fire and EMS from the perspective of the end of the hose and the back of the rig. For all the good things that have come my way, serving on the New Auburn Area Fire Department remains the most meaningful thing I’ve ever been allowed to do, and I still count it a privilege to carry a pager for the local crew.
The scribbles on the yellow Post-its were made after ambulance calls (I remember both calls – one silly, one very nasty – but have no idea what the math is about). The scribbles on the blue Post-it were made as I looked around the local park during Jamboree Days, which is happening again this weekend. Hoping to sneak up there for at least part of it, we’ll see.
Just renewed my CPR license (thanks, Mark!) in order to keep current for this. Been recertifying in CPR for a quarter century now, and every time they change it up a little. Hardest to let go of ABC and go to CAB, but I like that now it’s pretty much down to “push on the chest.”
Done a fair bit of CPR in my life. Very first time (as I wrote about here) I forgot to put the one-way valve in the mask. Yah. Creamed corn. Never forgot again.
What happens when you’re working on a book manuscript and your emergency pager goes off and you don’t have anything handy for writing down the address so you just type it out as it comes over the airwaves (actual cut and paste as I found it when I got back from the call, with address altered for privacy):
He’s always out front talking up a storm, but in the back you hear all the ringing clang and clamor and in there you’ll find his wife Freda at the bellows, who is 4137 Freeder dr cross of Old town hall, hemlock
First responder training last night. Which leads me to say: So lucky and grateful to do what I do. Deep in a book and up against a deadline, trying to get this out (and a big thank you to Alissa and Blakeley, who keep the paddleboat on course), my family putting up with the grump who disappears into the little room over the garage…but man, I’m grateful for this writing life.
That said, I’m also never happier than when I’m hanging out with people from all walks of life – tow-truck operators, nurses, mechanics, truck drivers, electricians, farmers, retirees, office workers, pretty much whatever y’got – who are gathered to speak the language of Fire and EMS. At training last night we practiced inserting Combitubes and King airways, worked with the defribrillators, rehearsed epi pen protocols, and worked some spinal cord stabilization scenarios that included a close examination of the underside of a fire truck. In between, of course, there were the smoke-n-joke (without the smoking, not allowed) sessions, the wisecracks, the friendly needling…all part of the reason that I’ve stuck with some element of Fire and/or EMS for the past 23 years even as the rest of my life has gotten progressively busier. I stick with it because it’s “boots on the ground” in every sense. Emergency calls – even just a handful per year – keep me tethered directly to reality and provide a perpetual sense of scale. When it’s time to hang it up, I’ll hang it up. But for now that pager is either A) on my hip, B) under my pillow, or C) in the console of the car waiting to be switched on as soon as I return to within range of the county line.
So – from those earliest calls through the “Nobbern” days and right up to the present – a big thank you to my EMS/Fire brothers and sisters for allowing me to play in the sandbox.
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.