Some words of wisdom and tradition from one of the crew…
As I enter my 20th year on this job of all jobs (THE best one in the world that is…), I am once again faced with working around the holidays. I have worked many, many Christmas days, Christmas Eves, New Years, etc…. You get the point. I always reflect on what is must have been like for our past Brothers working around this time of year. We now enjoy the many traditions they have passed down to us, just as the many holiday traditions we enjoy with our families on our off days.
I now have the honor of teaching these traditions and passing them on to numerous “new” guys. I can’t help but be filled with pride as I explain the “how to’s” to the wide eyed rookies gazing in my general direction.
As the years pass, I notice that some of these deep traditions have fallen by the “we don’t do that anymore” wayside. This affects my inner well being. What a disrespect it is to the past Brothers to trivialize traditions they once held in high regard. Although I do understand change and its effects on things, I believe we must never forget where we came from. This time of year really brings those beliefs to the top of the glass.
I enjoy every minute of this season with my sons and wife; however, never far from my mind are those who have lost a Firefighter and no longer can enjoy the time of the season with them. Especially, those children that no longer have Dad there to administer the annual Christmas noogies, hand out the overpriced imported plastic toys, sing an off-key carol, or just put their arm around them and make them feel damn important.
I also think of those empty seats around the Firehouse table, once occupied by a fallen Brother with their special holiday wisdom and charm. There are many new Firefighters in our business that will only be exposed to the wisdom and traditions of our past Brothers through us.
This is my challenge to you… Honor the past, challenge the future.
Create tradition. If you’re working on a holiday that takes you away from your family and the traditions they enjoy without you…..do something. Often times holidays around the Firehouse can be challenging to some. Take advantage of those around you and create traditions that will long out live your legacy. Don’t have to be complicated, just effective.
We will be partaking in the first ever shift olympics this Christmas Eve. The events are created by each shift member, and probably will be unlike those allowed by the olympic committee. We’ll have some fun, laughs, tender feelings, and I’m sure we’ll learn a little in the process. Somehow no matter what we are doing, as long as we do it together…we get better. We learn.. Not only important stuff, but about ourselves and each other.
** Remember that some of these pups don’t learn the same as older dogs….so THINK. Use your brain and get them to use theirs without the aid of those damn phones.
Our profession is deep in tradition. If it is not nurtured…it will not grow.
Have a safe and Merry Christmas.
Pass it on!