I have a conversation with my dad every Saturday night at six in the evening. This has been going on for years. In fact, my step mother laughs that they could set their watches by my calls. I love it. It makes my week to be able to touch base, find out how he is doing and learn things about him that I never learned while we lived together. Who thinks to do that when you’re growing up anyway? Your parents are busy taking care of you and you are busy making them old before their time.
Dad never spoke much about his childhood when I was younger. Probably not at all, actually. This was completely the opposite of my mother, who was always talking about her family this and her family that. Then, when we spent time with the extended families, we’d learn things neither of them spoke about. Interesting times to be sure.
Back to Dad.
One evening, he was telling me there was a fund raising breakfast at the volunteer fire hall that serves their village. This was to take place the next morning and he and my step mother were looking forward to attending. Dad was praising the new Chief because since he arrived on the scene, there had been several upgrades in equipment, training for personnel and this meant better service to their Village and County. He mentioned that in the nearly 40 years they lived there, everything had been in a steady state of decline. When it got to the point that the citizenry felt that they’d do better organizing a bucket brigade to handle local fires, the new Chief was hired.
Seems he IS a retired Fire Chief and has come in to turn the volunteer fire department into a more professional group of people. He has demanded the volunteers dress the part, receive much more training and that the antiquated equipment be replaced. This is not cheap, the money has to come from somewhere. Seems that millage votes over the years have passed but they never asked for enough money. Something must be done.
This is where my Dad comes into the picture. NEVER in his 81 years on this planet, have I ever heard of him taking an interest in local politics. He votes. He is seriously into the political party of his choice and would burn the wee hairs off your ears if you want to dare debate him on any of his beliefs. (please don’t do this, it is not pretty) But never has he allowed himself to take action locally, until now.
Not only was there a breakfast that Sunday, there was a Town Hall Meeting scheduled for Monday and Dad announced he was going to be there with bells on! (oh boy) He felt it was time people got their acts together and built the fire department into something capable of being able to serve the communities. He lives in one of richest Counties in Michigan. The citizens include celebrities, retired business executives and incredibly successful business people running companies all over the world. He feels they can not only afford to give money but that they should take a stronger interest in making certain this never happens again. It seems that the fire department requires close to three quarter of a million dollars to upgrade it’s trucks, building, technology and to keep it’s personnel up to date.
He’s out to rattle cages and I am certain they will listen. He’s going in with valid comments. What he has to say makes sense and if need be, I am convinced he’ll be heading a committee to ensure everything gets done.
What a terrific example Dad is setting for not only his fellow residents but for his family and friends, wherever they live. I’m honored to be his daughter and look forward to our subsequent phone calls as he keeps me informed of the further adventures of Citizen Ken!