Last week, out town’s fire chief died suddenly of a heart attack. He was 61. He collapsed playing baseball, running from 1st to 2nd base.
I did not know him and know the details only from the local news’ reports.
Today there was a public memorial for him, and a procession of fire trucks through town.
I decided last night to take Luke because I knew he’d love to see all the firetrucks and that the fire chief was being carried in an old horse-drawn carriage, our town’s original fire truck. I felt a bit guilt, though: we were going to see the firetrucks and some horses, not to mourn the death of someone.
But we went anyway, and we sat patiently on the side of the road, waiting for the procession to come.
Luke played with his toy tire truck, running it up and down my leg.
After about 30 minutes, the procession came.
Luke enjoyed himself. He enjoyed waving to the firemen and seeing all the motorcycle cops. I, on the other hand, started crying as soon as the bag pipes began to play. I was overcome with emotion: seeing community members on the streets,the somber family of the chief in a limo-bus, all the firemen who marched in their finest uniforms. It was all so emotional.
We went home, and even though I had no intention of doing so before I watched the funeral procession, I turned on the T.V. to watch the 2 hour live televised memorial on our local station. I was even more overcome with emotion. The fire chief, being eulogized by his closest friends and colleagues, would have been proud. And I loved hearing the heart-felt and amusing stories about him.
He seemed like a wonderful man, and I felt deep sympathy for his family and friends.
It seems we lost a great man last week. I’m thankful I went to the procession.
For in my initial silly attempt to amuse Luke, I found a much greater reason for being there: a celebration of life and the wonder of death, a pride in my community.