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Every Man Alive Loves a Fire Truck

One day last summer, my wife Suzie and I were out for a walk. When we turned the corner of our street, we saw what no one wants to see: a big fire truck parked in front of our house. We quickened our pace until we saw with relief that the red and white monster was actually in front of the neighbor's house. Not that we were so selfish that we would wish misfortune on our neighbor, but ...

As we drew closer we noted the uncommon calm around the truck. It's engine was not running, there were no hoses lying about, and no smoke apparent. There was also a decided lack of fireman. Never one to miss a chance, I told Suzie to hurry inside and grab her camera.

I love fire trucks. I contend all men love fire trucks. They're so shiny, so powerful, so loud. We live just one block off of a main street and just three blocks from the main Urbana fire station, so the whine of sirens and the roar of engines is famiiar. Any time of day or night.

Sometimes on Sunday's the main station commandeers the parking lot of the mall across the street for hose inspections. That's a great time to gawk: three or four shiny trucks lined up at once.

As much as I admire these mighty beasts of steel, they are, after all, useless without the amazing men who operate them. These modern day knights, whose shining armor now takes the form of nearly-as-heavy fire protection equipment, deserve our admiration and respect. Whether paid or volunteer, you have to hold these men and women in high esteem.

The heroes of Engine 23 returned to their mighty steed while Suzie was still taking pictures. They'd been cavassing the area on foot, reminding our neighbors (and us) to check their smoke alarm batteries, lest they be forced to slay a mighty dragon on quiet Walnut Street. Bless them.