Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Toy Jeep

I just had an existential moment that I had to write down and share if, by chance, anyone reads it.  I was out in the garage trying to figure out how I want to build some 'rustic' wood toys for my grand kids.  I found a small piece of wood I thought I could use for the tires and  put it on the work bench to drill out the circles.   It took a while to drill out the first wheel, "man, this is hard wood." When I looked closer I realized it was a piece of wood I had saved from Andy's parents sofa.  So far, no real big deal I suppose but suddenly I flashed back to the first time I ever saw that furniture in the den of Jim and Bonnie Arnold in 1968.  It wasn't new then but I just thought of how long this wood has paralleled my life .  I remember one time  Bonnie gave  me 'a look' when I put a glass down on the end table with out a coaster or anything.  I got the message real quick!  Or Papa Jim,  asleep in his chair, snoring away with all kinds of noise, people and activity going on around him.  It only took a moment or two, going in rewind , to review several such snapshots:  I was the only Colts fan , watching the Super Bowl with a whole household of Joe Namath fans.....(especially Andy's mom.,    asking my future father in law for permission to marry Andy (I was sitting on the sofa but really squirming!.......Jim was gracious and said yes)  Enough.   I just flashed across the years and stopped  briefly , almost in a blur .  The really neat part was the brief visual of one of the gand kids picking up this little toy and banging it on the loudest thing available (as Ella is fond of doing )or worse yet pouring a whole cup of water on it or pushing it through the mud in the back yard (a noble thought for a Jeep)   "Sorry Jim and Bonnie!"
    I saw the look on Bonnie's face but this time, for a great grand child, it turned into a smile.

I just put this down to remember it;  I'll spend more time latter......must get back to the Jeep'
Tom
I reread the story that I posted this past weekend and I didn't even understand it.  I got lost trying to keep clear on exactly what was happening especially at the very end.  It was a story I started years ago and left unfinished but now it's back in the shop for more work .  I guess my main thought is that I discovered a new appreciation for writers in working on this little story.  It's hard.  
Maybe The Mysterious Mr. H  will be back, maybe not.  I need some help in correcting it.  SAMANTHA  if you're listening...........help

tom hudgens

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Toy Jeep

I just had an existential moment that I had to write down and share if, by chance, anyone reads it.  I was out in the garage trying to figure out how I want to build some 'rustic' wood toys for my grandkids.  I found a small piece of wood I thought I could use for the tires and  put it on the work bench to drill out the circles.   It took a while to drill out the first wheel, "man, this is hard wood." When I looked closer I realized it was a piece of wood I had saved from Andy's parents sofa.  So far, no real big deal I suppose but suddenly I flashed back to the first time I ever saw that furniture in the den of Jim and Bonnie Arnold in 1968.  It wasn't new then but I just thought of how long this wood has paralelled my life .  I remember one time  Bonnie gave  me 'a look' when I put a glass down on the end table with out a coaster or anything.  I got the message real quick!  Or Papa Jim,  asleep in his chair, snoring away with all kinds of noise, people and activity going on around him.  It only took a moment or two, going in rewind , to review several such snapshots:  I was the only Colts fan , watching the Super Bowl with a whole household of Joe Namath fans.....(especially Andy's mom.,    asking my future father in law for permission to marry Andy (I was sitting on the sofa but really squirming!.......Jim was gracious and said yes)  Enough.   I just flashed across the years and stopped  briefly , almost in a blur .  The really neat part was the brief visual of one of the gand kids picking up this little toy and banging it on the loudest thing available (as Ella is fond of doing )or worse yet pouring a whole cup of water on it or pushing it through the mud in the back yard (a noble thought for a Jeep)   "Sorry Jim and Bonnie!"
    I saw the look on Bonnie's face but this time, for a great grand child, it turned into a smile.

I just put this down to remember it;  I'll spend more time latter......must get back to the Jeep'
Tom
I reread the story that I posted this past weekend and I didn't even understand it.  I got lost trying to keep clear on exactly what was happening especially at the very end.  It was a story I started years ago and left unfinished but now it's back in the shop for more work .  I guess my main thought is that I discovered a new appreciation for writers in working on this little story.  It's hard.  
Maybe The Mysterious Mr. H  will be back, maybe not.  I need some help in correcting it.  SAMANTHA  if you're listening...........help

tom hudgens

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Too Close to Home

I was watching a commercial on television the other day and found myself tearing up. Instantly, I snapped out of it and tried to critique the whole thing and figure out what had affected me like that. Obviously, I had personalized the situation and it touched an emotional hot button.
What does that mean? I could analyze everything and never learn anything about myself! The commercial was easy to figure out. It was a holiday dinner table with family sitting around it. I filled in the blanks with memories of my own childhood holidays . It is easy to see where the 'good tears' came from. (and the bad memories)
These same mental gymnastics happened to me as a firefighter in a more negative way many times. It is so easy to think about you own wife and kids when pulling up on the scene of a fire or automobile accident , or heart attack victim, etc. It was usually just a fleeting thing, over in an instant, because you don't really have time to dwell on it.

[I don't know how people experience this, especially firefighters and other public safety folks. I don't believe I have ever asked anyone so I'll do that now. Comment on this post and tell me if this has ever been something you have experienced.]

In a business like the fire service, you really need to develop the ability to disassociate, even repress, these thoughts and memories if your going to keep yourself from melt down. Of course you have to try to be objective, right? Then again, are their situations where identifying with victims the way we almost instinctively do, may help us do a better job? That is a factor always present in counseling, I know for sure. Even when you try to stay objective and professional, if you are a human, or at least an honest human, you have to be touched emotionally to really have empathy for your client, don't you? I mean, I'm asking, do you agree or disagree?

This is a real dilema for the helping professional. To just deny and repress the feelings one has to experience on emergency situations is a recipe for disaster, or at least burnout eventually. On the other hand, if you let yourself identify with every fire or accident victim and 'feel' for them, you are the one who will end up an emotional 'basket case'! I believe the best path is a balance of both ends of this continuum. Honest expression of the way you feel about some of calls you experience ( especially the bad ones) and a learned, professional , detachment from the scene which allows rational thinking. This is obviously not an exact science. Again, I'd be interested in the way others have experienced this and perhaps dealt with it. post

tom hudgens

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

The humble beginnings (Introduction)

Draft

I've always held to the idea that if you wanted to get anything done, especially the tough jobs, you should just get a bunch of firefighters together and stand back. They will get the job done! In doing so, there might be a slight chance that something could get broken or wet but that's a small price to pay. Besides, they would most likely stay around and dry the place out and probably fix what they broke! I've seen dog-tired firefighters, still on the scene of a house fire at two a.m., going the extra mile to reunite a child and his lost puppy, or find an elderly couple a place to spend the night , or simply making sure a scene is secure and safe before going back to their station. Speaking of the station; everyone knows that's the place to go if you are hurt or lost, or need shelter from the storm or to get your blood pressure taken, to name a few The funny thing is that most of the time the firefighters are falling all over themselves to be the one helping. The fire service puts together this interesting blend of people and gives them a rather simple (and impossible at times) mission:' Whatever happens today, Handle it!"

These are the folks I want these pages to focus on in both funny and serious ways. I'm sure there is no shortage of books and publications telling one part or another of this story and I say, more power to them. I haven't researched this but it appears that especially since 9-11, the fire service has received more and more good press. They deserve it, even though that was a tragic way to get it! My hope is that these stories will take a rather unique approach in several respects: Most of the stories are in a small town setting and not not New York City. Not that there is anything wrong with New York. I remember first reading "Report from Engine Co. 82" and being really impressed with the job those guys do, even to the point of emulating them. I suppose if there is a national stereotypical fire department it would be them. Funny though, when you're crawling into the middle of a house on fire, super-heated like hell itself and you sucking air and dragging hose, weighted down with BA and bunker- gear, half expecting to find a victim any minute, you probably are not asking yourself, now is this a big city fire or a small city fire! I know there are differences but , you get my point.

One other difference. I write from the perspective of a former firefighter, now retired. When I left the fire department I was one of the older guys . Okay, the oldest guy ) but now some of my cohorts that stayed are retiring with thirty plus years. I only had seventeen . The occupation I entered after the fire department may also influence my approach to this story. I spent another 17 years as a psychotherapist and psychology teacher. among other things. The teaching and counseling have offered me valuable experience for the task of understanding and developing personality profiles for the type of person who eagerly rushes into a burning building while everyone else is running out! I don't know, that is kind of strange! I went to graduate school while still with the fire department and I will admit, I had no shortage of subjects for practicing on and administering personality tests and the like. We had our share of dysfunctional people. In fact my shift may have actually put the 'fun' in dysfunctional but I really do not think we were significantly different from any number of other occupations. "Vellee Interesting"...... We may come back to this dellima.

The other difference in this book is that it will be a compilation of several different person's stories and not just my own. Over the years we discovered that whenever we get two or three firemen together the memories and stories just seem to flow. Hopefully that is what will happen as we pull together this book.
Enjoy!

Tom Hudgens