Tuesday’s Tale FromThe Tailboard

Sibling Sympathy

Remember Nero? You know—the emperor who reportedly fiddled while Rome burned?

I know, I know—no proof, but a double-meaning idiom nonetheless.

But let me tell you a TRUE story, no idiom, no double meaning, and certainly not the sign of an ineffectual leader. Just a little tale of…well, you’ll have to decide.

Any time an alarm comes in, the hearts start pumping. It may not be anything  huge, but the fact they must respond as though it were gives an adrenalin rush. And if the address given is a familiar one, i.e. family, friend, neighborhood, etc., it adds to the already building tension.

Such was the day of this tale.

First, there is protocol you must understand. You wonder why you have two screaming engines show up for what turns out to be a grease fire? Simply because it is impossible to determine from the person reporting the fire what is really taking place. One caller my panic when they see anything that resembles a flame, while the next person—either because of their personality or shock— will remain calm while their so-called Rome is burning. Thus, two engines always respond to the report of a structure fire. Think about it. If it were your property burning, wouldn’t you rather have two trucks respond, even if only one was needed to extinguish the flames, rather than have to wait for the second one to arrive? Regardless of how it is done, there are always engine-followers, and scanner experts who know best. But—I’m off on a soap box. Back to my tale.

Bob was on duty, and the address of the reported kitchen fire was his sister’s house.

Because there are always two sides to a story, I must relate his sister’s version.  You see, she had just gotten a new tape recorder (yes, this is an OLD tale). Remember how fun it was to listen to your own voice. On this particular evening, she’d put a skillet of grease on the stove and while it was heating decided to record herself…singing…an old familiar hymn…all three verses.

Yep, you guessed it!!

In all fairness, the fire was out by the time little brother arrived, all decked out in his firefighter gear. But there was lots of smoke.

And the story goes that little brother took big sister aside. And HER side of this story goes something like ,”now, when you get calmed down, you need to call your insurance company.”

Again, HER words— “I WAS CALM.”

OH, I’m sure you’re wondering what song she was singing.  Would you believe…

To God be the Glory!!!

That’s this week’s tale, and I’m sticking to it.




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