Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fire Department Stories

There is one writing project I have been wanting to start for years now but without success. I have thought about getting down some of the funny stories and perhaps serious too, of the fire department days. We have gotten only so far and just fizzeled out. My daughter suggested inviting some of our old fire fighters over and just allow conversations to start while they tape recorded the whole thing That is probably not a bad idea because my memory would only account for a tiny percentage of the calls we all answered . I say calls but , of course, we are not limited to calls. I'm thinking of numerous funny stories around the station as well.

The only problem with the get together is that it seems to never happen so I'm just throwing out this email to invite others to send in details and ideas they may remember from their experience. I left the FD in 91, so most of my old friends stayed for many years longer than I did (some still at it now). My experience was only with the now Defunct Conyers Fire Department but my thinking is to certainly not limit it to Conyers or even Rockdale, for that matter. Good stories; funny, inspiring, factual and not so factual all have possibilities. Here are some other things I thought about in compiling information:

It will not need to be an accurate history book...............guess at dates or no date at all

I don't really intend to use full names of people as much as first names and or made up names.

No axe to griind. I have been putting thing s on a blog just to save ideas and as a place to organize them. I've written some about the old 'osterich' underground newspaper, for instance, without any current anger or agenda. No thoughts of stiring up anything with the current department. It seems they are doing that well enough on their own.

I'm sixty years old now and have worked in a number of different environments in all kinds of settings as varied as a college classroom, bar, probation office and church but I've never experienced one to compare with the fire service. It is something special, a place where you have opportunity for a real brotherhood (used inclusive of women), excitement and fun, along with all the work. I'd like to capture some of the flavor of the service , especially in our experience of a smaller department and most likely in the humor .

Just a thought.......If you are interested send me some stuff.

tom hudgens


Samantha said...

i can't wait to read these-- these are hilarious!! oh, and profound, too, i'm sure :)

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

It was June 27, 1990 just 3 days away from the infamous last day of the ole Conyers Fire Department. The City of Conyers Mayor was feeling a bit remorseful about the consolidation of the City and County Fire Departments and the realization that the end was near. The firemen of the Conyers Fire Department were absolutely without morale and felt as if they were a part of a hostile take over that in fact was a political give away. The Mayor, feeling his abstention from the issue was certainly going to tarnish his happy-go-lucky small town friendly reputation, dropped by this evening for some fellowship and damage control.

The Mayor entered the fire station from the back door and fired out a hardy, “How ya doin’ fellas’!” The reception was subdued and several of the guys just walked away into the kitchen. “Not to good”, I replied. Seeing as now my entire crew had abandoned me the Mayor offered his grandfatherly hand shake and placed his hand on my shoulder to say, “It is going to be alright.” He then was hit with a brilliant idea, horseshoes! He said, “How bout’ a game of horseshoes? I see you guys still have the pits outside.” I thought a second and then capitulated to my elders request all along thinking that I may just let one of the horseshoes slip and sent him home with a nice headache accompanied by a fat lump.

We exited the back door and made our way along the southside of the station to the Conyers Fire Department Official Horseshoe Pit. We set the game at 20 points with ringers counting 5, leaners 2, and within a horseshoe width 1. The Mayor insisted that I go first but I refused and told him that he was the guest so he should throw. He obliged and tossed both horseshoes downrange towards the stake. He was not very successful and it is doubtful that he would have scored a hit with a hand grenade. I stepped up to the line with my two shoes. Throw one was a low one flipper directly center of the stake causing dirt to fly in the air and a final loud CLANK, ringer! The second throw was a bit loftier with a double flip and caught the stake from the left side. CLANK, and a couple of spins around the stake before settling in on top of the other horseshoe. Ringer!

During this time not a word was spoken as we walked the length between the stakes. The silence was broken when the Mayor, being very observant, stated, “Looks like you got two ringers.” I just reached down and picked up my shoes while the mayor was looking for one of his behind an old generator. He retrieved his weapon and was ready for the second round of battle. “You’re up”, he said. I insisted again that he go first. He threw the first horseshoe and it bounced up for a leaner. His second shot erased his earnings and both shoes were now out of scoring position.

I stepped up and threw the first one again using the same technique as before, a low and slow one flipper right down the middle. CLANK! Another ringer. “Your quite good at this”, the Mayor commented. The second throw took the exact flight path as the first. CLANK! Ringer. I could not believe that I have scored four ringers in four throws. It was pure luck but some of the most timely luck I had ever experienced. I did not display any sense of surprise. I seized the moment before the Mayor had a chance to comment. “Great game Mr. Mayor. I really enjoyed this”, I said. “Well, I guess I better get back to work. I’ve got to cleanout my locker. I’ll be going to Station 3. I think they have some horseshoes set up out there. Maybe you could stop by and we could play again!” I suggested. He agreed that that was a fine plan and that he looked forward to the rematch. His entire visit had lasted only five minutes. With a quick hand shake the whole affair was over. That was the last time that I ever spoke to or saw the Mayor.

I re-entered the station through the back door and there sat my cohorts. “That was quick.” One of the guys stated. “Yea, he plays horseshoes about as well as he does anything else”, I replied. While it didn’t really change anything it was one of those moments of victory in a desperate circumstance that couldn’t have been any sweeter. Going from 24-48 to 24-72 – a $5000 pay cut, Having more sick leave accrued than the county allowed – Loss of 1000 hours of sick leave, The look on the Mayors face after the 4th ringer – PRICELESS!

David said...

Lieutenants Icy Hot Ice Cubes

One day while holding court at the fire station kitchen table we drifted on the subject of physics. My lieutenant was a pseudo-intellectual who knew a little about everything but was a master of none. He could theorize most anything without even the simplest of practical application. At this lunch time inquisition he decided to impart wisdom onto us as to how water synthesizes from a liquid to a solid. He said, “You know that at the molecular level water moves faster when it is hot so therefore hot water will actually freeze faster than cold water. This is because the solidification process is about molecular movement and the faster the molecules move the faster they react and bond.” I was taken back a bit by the certainty of his explanation, but after a few second I called B.S. on his hypothesis. He was emphatic that he had studied this in depth during a recent college course.

I did not have the benefit of any collegiate wisdom but was confident enough in my knowledge of hot and cold to know he was dead wrong. The debate became heated as I attempted to explain my high school recollection of the process of water turning to a solid. I avowed that in order for water to reach a solid state that it must reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit and that it would take 90 degree water longer to reach 32 degrees than it would 60 degree water if both were placed in the same freezer at the same time. “Preposterous!” the lieutenant exclaimed, “It would be just the opposite. It is the molecular movement that causes the change.” He insisted.

My next act nearly sent him into a full blown rage. “O.K. I will prove you wrong.” I told him. I retrieved two ice trays from the freezer, dumped them out and rinsed them good. I filled one with normal cold tap water (temperature unknown). The next one was filled with hot water from the tap. Authors note: It is important to mention that the fire station water heater temperature is set high enough that the hot water can easily take dried gravy or three day left out dehydrated grits and instantly liquefy them off any dishware and never clog the drain. I asked him if the station hot water was sufficiently hot for a rapid freeze and he confirmed his approval with a reluctant nod. With the second ice cube tray filled with this near steam water, I placed both ice trays in the freezer.

At one hour the cold water tray was over half frozen. Only a little jiggle of water could be seen through the clear top layer of ice. The hot water tray had not even glazed over. At one hour and thirty minutes we gathered again at the freezer. This time I took a tea glass with me. I opened the freezer and yes the cold water tray was completely frozen solid. The hot water tray was barely starting to glaze. I dumped the solid ice into my glass and poured me a tall glass of sweet tea as a victory drink. I took the hot water tray out and dumped the water into the sink and then filled it with cold tap water and returned it stating that I had to ensure we would have ice in time for dinner. The lieutenant said nothing. I decided to push the knife in a bit so I just stated, “No theories trump practical experimentation lieu…… if there anything else you need me to test out for you?”

That was the sweetest ice tea I believe I have ever had. Ahhhhhh, southern table wine.

Tom said...

david........you have a way with words!

This could be a large book!