Friday, February 13, 2009



Note: If God had not pulled my pitifully fearful, paranoiac, struggling, human form into this thing called A.A., none of the following would have any relevancy in my life, today--or ever.

My daughter is a driver-engineer-paramedic, in other words, she's a Fire Fighter. She runs many calls, presently is assigned to a really busy shift.

I have more than a few stories which "Fire-Girl" has written about her "memorable" calls, lives saved, sometimes lost. FG writes of the aftermath of some of her 'runs', we call "the family afterwards". Often she visits in the hospital or at home, someone whose life has been saved. Sometimes she visits the spouse or other family members of a loved one whose life was lost.

Her empathy and compassion (she's simply your 'average firefighter') is astounding to me. I mean--I'm her father--a recovering alcoholic, whose entire prior life was dedicated solely to the satisfaction, pleasure and immediate gratification of.....ME.

The professionalism of these public servants we all know about. The inevitable emotional stress is almost always reserved for a later time, after a particular run, or end of shift. It is then that FG sometimes types a story to her Poppa (can you believe, that's me?). Often her written pieces involve survivors (or non-survivors) of vehicle collisions. Her descriptions of twisted, mangled humans, bodies broken and/or bloodied, would make salable writing if wrought in the wonderfully-keyed words of Mary L.A. (Mary Louisey).

I have FG's permission to publish her stories--unedited--so the following is an excerpt from a very recent "note to Poppa" from my daughter:

"...last shift in the late evening we ran a call in a very rough neighborhood - very poor area, lots of crime, etc.....small fire was in a very tiny little house... but boy it smelled good.... fried chicken!! Anyway, I made a comment about how good it smelled in there and those people wanted to fix me up a plate to take back with me. It was very touching and very humbling.... people who have next to nothing wanting to fix me a plate of food. I had tears in my eyes leaving there. "

Now, please slip back with me about 40 years. I was still 5 years away from my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, and also my sobriety date. Daughter (future Fire-Girl) was about age 3.

Naples, a then-small village, did not even rate mileage signs on the highways e.g., "NAPLES 80 MILES". Along part of our Gulf-of-Mexico frontage was a 7-foot high sea wall bordering a smallish section of a 20-mile long, W.I.D.E. expanse of clean sandy beach.

Future-Fire-Girl, under 3 feet in length, many times stood on top of that wall, shouting out, "ONE...TWO...THREE!!!" It was Poppa's signal to get over there, because this was "jump" time...and she DID jump, right out into nowhere, expecting "Poppa" to catch her. And--even while drunk--I always DID! What faith! What trust! I recall thinking then, "If only I could trust GOD like that"! And now, 34 years after, I think, "If only I could trust GOD like that"!

And I urge (read: PRAY FOR!) all of you--and I, to come finally to trust in God, and believe fervently, that He can and will and does restore us to sanity.

"c. God could and would if He were sought."
(Not caught-grin!)



Lou said...

Steve-O,I have found the less people have, the more they give. Because they know how it really feels to have the heat turned off, or not be able to give a child anything for Christmas. It's good your daughter saw the gesture for what it was. And how proud you are..your post is pulsating with love.
Oh, never mind, I had my husband's glasses on. OK, pulsating stopped.
PS Where are the **grins**

Christina said...

What a great story, Steve, thanks for sharing. Please tell Firegirl I appreciated hearing her experience. I too work with many underprivledge, poor people and see thei modest homes much gratitude and generosity. Its touching and forever reminds me how lucky I am.

I too love the 3 pertinent ideas inthe BB. I heard once at a meeting someone quote "God could and would if her were sought". And the guys finished it up with....

"I think I will keep on soughting".....very nice....thanks :)

cw2smom said...

Wonderful post! You must be so proud of your daughter! Her compassion is awesome! I am enjoying your blog! Blessings to you and Fire Girl! Lisa

RipGurl said...

Stunning Story! I just love knowing that being sober will only get better and better.

Sounds like your daughter is a real gem.

steveroni said...

Besides Fire Girl, I have another daughter and a couple sons--each one has a story worthy of a blog one day. I'm so proud of them ALL! Who woulda known?

thanks for the kind comments.

Banana Girl said...

I love the last line. Our pastor always says a prayer in closing a baptism that includes: "God grant them the comfort and desire to bring their children to this place where, surrounded by love, God might be taught as well as caught." Now when I here it, I will think of your FG. Thank you for that image. Precious. J.

Molls said...

Thank you for another terrific post Steve!

Anonymous said...

That story brought back memories of my days in social back home in California when I was with Child Protective Services. I would be handling visitations between parents and their children, often in the grandparent's home. There was one particular family that I grew to know quite well that made the best Mexican food that I had ever had. Burritos and tamales to die for. And even though (or maybe because of!) I had the fate of their children in my hands, they always tried to push a to-go plate in my hands as I left the visitation.

You know, I can just see you catching your little Fire Girl as she lept off the wall. Even drunk.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Happy Valentines Day!!!!

I'm glad Flex is back to watch over your overflowing heart today!


Mary Christine said...

How very proud you rightfully are. Wonderful.

Linda S. Socha said...


She sounds like a gal I would enjoy knowing. Hope your week continues the Happy Valentine's Day feeling!

J-Online said...

I really enjoyed reading this. I know you are proud....with VERY GOOD reason of course. What a wonderful young woman you have for a daughter! Jenn

Mary LA said...

What a wonderful daughter you have --