“Fire station,” my partner answers the phone while I groan in my sleep. “No ma’am, we don’t do that. No, the chief’s not here. I’ll pass that on, sorry.”
“Who?” I manage.
“Lady on the East end. We didn’t pick up her garbage this morning. It’s garbage day and she wants to know why we skipped her.”
“But we don’t . . .oh hell, never mind.”
Who calls a fire station and why?
The answer might surprise you, and, to that end – with the help of my wonderful coworkers – I have compiled a Top Ten list of Silliest Calls for Help:
1) Garbage Collecting. It’s not in our scope of practice; it’s odd to us that so many residents believe it to be. In fact, we ourselves often forget to put our own garbage out, and have been known to come flying out the door with a Hefty bag while the truck meanders on past.
2) Pool Maintenance. We can’t fill your new pool with water from our tanker. That water is reserved for fires, and besides it came from the canal and, trust me, you would never, ever want to swim in it. No, we don’t know how to make it clean.
3) If you are the Captain and you want to offer us a cruise . . . We do want to go, we do! But no matter how long we “hold” you never come back.
4) Utilities. Beyond our control! And if you’re ComCast, we can’t add the fancy movie channels. Some of those might be inappropriate anyway. Our trustees are religious and they pay the bills.
5) We’re not always sure what time the post office is closed for lunch.
6) Or what the supper special at the local tavern is.
7) Or why there’s no school today.
8) We’ll be glad to set up the meeting room for the Cub Scouts, but we can’t help you with how many snacks you’ll need to bring.
9) The Chief will get mad at us if we let your children and Dalmatian puppy pose on the truck for a family portrait. You call him.
10) We would love to come and kill the bat fluttering around your kitchen but you’re not even in our district and if somebody here has a heart attack while we’re out there swinging a tennis racket . . . well, that could get ugly.
Which of course brings us to all the millions of good, good reasons to call us! Don’t wait if you have pain or sickness or fire! If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, your life alert beeps or your car door slams on your fingers! We’ve come for dogs in the canal and even cats in trees. We love you! We just can’t do anything about the garbage pick-up.
Today’s Facebook question involves choosing a favorite flower.
“White roses,” it states, “represent purity and innocence, and are traditionally associated with weddings and new beginnings.”
Carnations for divine love, Daffodils - unrequited love, larkspurs - fickleness.
Not a fan.
Why are dandelions not an option?
I mean, here they are already, marching across yards and ditches, alleys and junkyards, shoulder to shoulder, yellow heads tucked against the blustery early May wind. Nature’s fiercest warriors, they know no boundaries, respect no lines, do not discriminate. They are plentiful and free to everyone.
Has ever a mother accepted a handful of these lovelies from her little one with anything but the utmost exuberance? “Oh my!” we say. “Aren’t they gorgeous?” And then we inhale that sharp fragrance until our noses are yellow with it.
They are beautiful! I don’t own a single warm weather memory that isn’t dotted with bright yellow, as essential as the blue of the sky itself. Childhood summers were spent weaving their stems into chains, staining our fingertips green. We studied the rudiments of dandelion wine making, made a wish while scattering the feather seed balls, and chanted “mama had a baby and its head popped off” until the ground was littered with the beheaded beauties.
Dandelions are forgiving – they come back.
My own children gathered them up by the fistful and set them on the counter in water glasses; and even though the bloom’s demise was immediate, we would keep the wilted stem for days. I have to admit (and I think most women would) that I have received roses with less enthusiasm.
At my aunt’s funeral, my cousin’s final act was to offer a dandelion – she stood for a time with her head bent, sunlight brightening her hair, and then she lay the little flower on the coffin, creating a memory so sharp, so poignant it will be forever linked in my mind with the first green of spring.
Weed, you say? Dandelions are the flowers of life, brave and resilient and absolutely glorious. They represent all that is good - round of face, bright complected. Shouldn’t we all be more like them, planting our feet firmly, squaring our shoulders against the opposition and raising our heads to the sun?
Perhaps a bit overboard, you say? Yes, maybe, but I will make my husband read this before he reaches for the Round Up.
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