As I was writing the "You Know What Really Grinds My Gears" Post, I was reminded of the things that really keep me coming back for more. Some are obvious, of course, but others more ethereal. Now that's a big word for a fireman...but don't worry, I looked it up. So, here are a few of the "Little Things" that keep me into the job...again, you can agree, disagree, laugh, or add to it....
1) A working fire.
2) A cigar back at the station after a working fire (don't worry...it's not a common thing, and we are obeying all laws in regard to a smoke free working environment).
3) A thank you from a citizen.
4) The firehouse kitchen table at shift change. Or anytime, for that matter.
5) A little kid's wave as we ride by on the big red fire engine.
6) A big kid's wave as we ride by on the big red fire engine.
7) The smell of canvas, coffee, oil, smoke, and cleaner solution that permeates the firehouse when you walk in. Man, they should bottle that stuff!
8) A pat on the back from a brother/sister.
9) When someone you trained calls you to tell you they used what you taught them and it worked!!!
10) Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn.
11) When you little kid wants to come and see you at the firehouse...but not really to see you, but to see the fire apparatus!
12) The brotherhood that doesn't just come from within the department, but from all across the world. When you can just stop in at any station in the country, and the fellas sit down with you and talk shop (and trade patches:))
13) The fact that something new happens every day and there is no way to know it all...so it's best to keep the eyes and ears open. You learn so much if you pay attention!
14) When your best friends, not related by blood...but rather a bond forged by fire...have their kids call you "Uncle."
15) When you're family understands the fire service enough to know that they are part of a an even bigger family.
16) Sittin' behind the rig after calls at my volunteer house saying I'm going to go home...but I end up talkin' with the brothers for another two hours.
17) When someone shows you a more effective way to perform a task/tactic and you say, "why didn't I think of that?"
18) Seeing younger members grow and develop into awesome firefighters.
19) Seeing those same younger firefighters "get it" about the brotherhood.
20) Watching the sun rise.
21) Being there for a rookie's first fire and seeing their eyes get big. Oh, what they must be thinking! Remembering that it was the same for me not too long ago....
22) Waiting for the day when everything "clicks"...all personnel work together and do things perfectly to accomplish the mission. Or at least something close to that:)
23) Following old traditions...starting new ones.
24) We can't forget the big red fire engine!!! Or truck!
25) Knowing that this job is a gift.
I'll post more as I think of them....let me know what keeps you coming back for more!
OK...I thought of one more...when your kid wants to be a firefighter for Halloween...every year!:)
On a more serious note, and to chime in on what Bobby was saying...something that keeps me coming back is the fact that I've made a lot of mistakes, and I care enough to make sure that someone else learns from them. I feel that we should all take on some self-deprecating qualities...we should be willing to show our weaknesses and talk about the mistakes we have made to keep others safe. I'm nowhere near the firefighter that I'd like to be...but maybe someone will learn enough from me someday where they'll be the firefighter that I could only imagine being...
Stay safe, brothers and sisters...