I have resigned from my local, hometown, volunteer firehouse in preparation for my move to the Middle East.
Tonight, I went down there to clean out my locker and turn in my keys. My name was still on the board under "EMS Sergeant."
I was feeling cry-prone when I arrived. That pulled a tear or two out of my eye. You see, had I not resigned, tonight would have been my night for duty. I'd have been running with "Skipper," "FirePlug," "Brooklyn," "Peru," "Fester," "WMD," "Squiggy" and the rest of the crew.
Fortunately, when I got there, they were all out on the call. Nobody was there to see me stand in the empty ambulance bay and sniffle.
I get to clean out my lockers and such before anyone gets here. They arrive, having stopped for dinner on the way back from yet another auto accident and promptly settle down to eating. They're not paying too much attention to me other than an occasional "Hi."
Have I already "passed on?" Have I so quickly fallen from being one of them? I'm not sure. The banter is still there. We still bust each other's chops as if I were still a member but, there's a relaxing of authority. I'm no longer "Sarge."
Then the cake. WMD pops out of the chief's office with it and surprises me.
"We'll miss you, Sarge!" in blue frosting.
And a framed picture. Someone thought it was a good idea a few months ago to get a picture of the whole crew in front of the engine. We're all there, in our gear, trying to look proud, mean, tough or just present. It's in a frame and, because I'm the tallest, I'm in the middle. Despite the "tough look" on the faces of these men and women, it really looks to me like I'm surrounded by my family.
I manage to not cry until I get home. Still have leaky eyes as I write this.
Triple Threat, I will miss you all!!!