It was my recent honor to be present for an event in my hometown of New Auburn, Wisconsin, to honor Chief Ernie Sylvester (below, center, in shorts), retiring after 40 years of service to the village and surrounding environs. It was my privilege to serve 12 years beside the Chief and my other neighbors.
The backstory here is too complex and insidery to adequately address, but in summary the photo you see below is the result of my two brothers and my brother-in-law, some wheeling-and-dealing, a practical joke involving a whole lot of pink paint, and the fact that my brother Jed and I have five daughters. Also, note vintage and fully functional fire siren.
The girls loved it, and there was much giggling* during last night’s low-range back forty joyride.
*some from a logger and some by a bulldozer operator – thank you, uncles.
Searching for something, I came across this entry about Jamboree Days (in my hometown of New Auburn, Wisconsin) from July, 2003:
Jamboree Days always has the feel of a family reunion to me, but when it comes to capturing the ineffable essence of the thing, a member of one of the large local families may have put it best. Referring to the subtitle of Population 485 – Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time, he raised a glass to the hubbub, and declared, “Here I am, meeting my neighbors one beer at a time.”
Someone just sent me this link, which reminds me one more time to say thanks to all the friends and neighbors who turned out for this. You did a bunch of good. And my brother’s barbershopper quartet opened for us! What fun, and they also gave us a gorgeous national anthem.
And as always, thank you to the Long Beds. Chuck, Chris, Billy, Molly. Can’t adequately express what a comfort and privilege it is to look up from my International guitar and see them working away…
My hometown. Gonna be up there with the Long Beds Sunday. Benefit for the food pantry. Canned goods and non-perishables welcome, but also they can really use plain ol’ checks and dollars as this allows them more flexibility in providing folks with bulk items and items that aren’t so frequently donated or don’t stand up to long-term storage.
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.