Fire Department updates, local activites that are keeping me occupied, and a few interesting personal stories

I’m so very thankful that several of the volunteer fire departments (VFDs) I’ve helped stay in touch with me. It’s been a blessing in my life, and they tell me that it is in theirs too. It touches my heart so deeply that I’ve been able to make a difference in the lives of others for years to come as several of the fire chiefs tell me often.

Chief Caruso, New Prospect VFD, South Carolina, has many times over the past 10 months that we have known each other that I will probably never know how many people’s lives will be touched and saved by equipment I was able to purchase for the fire departments. It’s hard to believe I met Chief Caruso 10 months ago. Chief Caruso and his wife Pam have become such a large and important part of my support group. I had no idea when we met that this would happen. Several other departments still stay in touch and they let me know that I’m making a difference now in many ways. I want to share some of them with you. I also want to thank you, my friends and readers of my story. I’ve had several people tell me that they are more aware of the needs of volunteer fire departments. A few have made donations to their local or nearby volunteer fire departments and others have let me know they will be adding donations to the VFD’s in their wills. Together we can make a difference.


Chief Caruso recently sent me this photo of a vehicle accident for a call they responded to. There were two people trapped in this car and it was wobbling and not steady enough for the rescue team to go into the vehicle and get the people out. When he sent the picture he wrote “That this is some of the equipment you purchased for us. Helping save a life. They are rescue struts, used to stabilize the vehicle while removing the patients.” I have to tell you that it touched my heart and made my day feel extra blessed and happy.


Chief Altman, Odum VFD, Georgia, sent me two framed pictures of his department members wearing their new gear, and also a picture of his members and their families. I know that the volunteer fire departments feel that their department members are their family. They depend on each other in so many ways, especially during calls to save the lives of the people and property, and each other so they can go home safely to their families.

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Elizabethtown VFD, Illinois, received their new gear and radios and they sent me an old helmet that they all signed. They added wording In Memory of Tim Dillard who was the chief I was in contact with their department. Sadly, he unexpectedly passed away in the fall. They also sent me one of their department t-shirts. I love the logo on the shirt and I want to share it with you. So appropriate for a fire department. I wore it to an event the other day where there was a short fireworks display.

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Chief Dent, Madray Springs VFD, Georgia, let me know that their county recently bought them a much needed used fire truck. It was promised for several years and it finally happened. It’s a good thing. The truck they have been using is from 1981 and it has a little over 102,000 miles on it. The newer truck they just bought is a 1994 model with a little over 32,000 miles on it. It also came almost fully equipped with hoses, ladders, etc. They are giving the older truck to a nearby department in the county. I will post a picture of the truck when I receive it.

As I’ve been talking with the various departments over the past 8 or so months, one of the things I’ve realized is that they all try to help each other. They always look for ways to donate the gear they have that is no longer needed to other departments. Sometimes their used gear is better than the gear another department is using. For example, I found out about the Elizabethtown VFD in Illinois because when Chief Dent was reviewing the videos that were in competition for a contest he was entered in to win 10 pairs of fire boots that the department that was in 2nd place had bunker gear that looked worse than his department’s bunker gear. He asked if he could give the other chief my contact info, that perhaps I could help them get some new equipment. I said most definitely, Chief Dillard contacted me and I am thankful I could help them. Chief Dent’s department won the 10 pair of boots, they submitted a great video. I’ve added this link to the boot video in a few stories. It’s really funny to watch.

On other topics…

Did you ever wonder… Who thought of this innovation, idea, or perhaps medical procedure? Who was the first patient a procedure was tried on? Many times I have wondered. My friend Carol recently had eye surgery and she wrote something about who was the first person this procedure was tried on and who developed it. She included the history of the procedure and the doctor with the email. It was interesting. I’m not sure I would want to be the first one with an eye procedure.

I have wondered many times about how things came about like bicycles, ice skates, and more things than I could list. I was watching the Olympics last night and thought, who came up with the idea of putting a 1/4″ wide, long thin metal blade on a shoe or boot so people could ice skate, and then coming up with the various types of turns and jumps. Or, the snowboards… why would someone want to strap both of their feet onto a board and do these daredevil flips in the air while flying down a steep slope with jumps and lifts. How about the one man luge? I cannot imagine laying flat on my back on a sled/board with narrow metal runners, going over 80 miles an hour, through an ice run where I can’t see where I’m going and have almost no control.

I remember when I was at a Disney park many years ago watching a show of characters like an action cartoon showing on a wall of water. I thought how does someone come up with that and how does it happen? I can imagine a room full of people where someone says I have an idea… for this show I want a wall of water to shoot up in the air about 40 or 50 feet, be about 100 feet wide, be constant and smooth enough for us to show a cartoon/video on it for several minutes, then have it stop suddenly and have live action and characters appearing as if they are part of the video. I don’t think I would have wanted to be the person making it happen. Can you just imagine being in the room when that was discussed. I’m sure there are other things you could substitute. It’s kind of like in the movie Apollo 13 where they had to find a solution with limited parts that was what was on the spacecraft. Only then they had things to start with. Other ideas would have to start with nothing but an idea. And it happened.

I’ve been going out to eat at local privately owned restaurants. There is a pizza place called Your Pie nearby in Lighthouse Point. They make nice size individual pizzas which are cooked in an open fire oven. The customer selects the type of crust, sauce, and toppings from a large variety of meats, cheeses, and vegetables. You can have as many types of veggies as you want added to the pizza for no additional cost. There is a large selection of cheeses, meats, and vegetables to choose from to create the perfect pizza for that day. I try to create a different one every time I go. Sometimes I have them mix types of sauces for a unique flavor. Some people get really creative. One of the times I went there I was really impressed by the pizza that was being made for the customer in front of me. They said I could take some pictures of it. I want to let you see this masterpiece.



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Grand Canyon Clouds

I saw this picture of clouds in the Grand Canyon that was posted online in early December 2013. It is a rare occurance. Here is a link to more photos and the story CNN wrote about for this rare occurence.



Author Debbie Macomber, who I wrote about previously and met in 2011, responded to an email I sent her letting her know that I wrote about her wonderful books in one of my stories. Debbie offered to send me some of her books that I hadn’t read. She sent me a few of her newer books and the DVDs of her Mrs. Miracle books that were on Hallmark Channel a few years ago. I’ve been reading these books and I always enjoy Debbie’s stories. I can feel the love and spiritual energy she puts into all of her stories.

When I’m laying in bed at night, I occasionally watch some DVD’s that friends sent. I’m still watching the Carol Burnett show DVDs. There were about 18 hours of shows. I love watching these videos, I laugh a lot. The characters that Tim Conway plays are so funny. I love watching the other actors faces as they try not to laugh at Tim’s antics. Many years ago when I lived in Fort Worth, I saw The Odd Couple with Tim Conway and Tom Poston. Tim Conway was so comical. He came up with the most amusing faces and circumstances during the performance. I have a feeling some were ad lib. Sometimes castmates seemed to have trouble not laughing too. One scene I remember is that he had a large metal soup ladle in his hand. It had a long handle and he was holding it tightly. Then he decided to put his suit jacket on… only he still had the ladle in his hand. Imagine trying to put on a suit jacket holding a soup ladle with it getting stuck in the sleeve of the jacket and not letting go of the ladle or taking off the jacket. I think this sketch went on for several minutes. I laughed so hard not only at this sketch, but also throughout the performance.

This weekend the city I retired from held their annual event which includes a parade, an antique car show, and children’s activities during the day. At night there is a concert, bounce houses for children, and the evening ends with a 2 or 3 minute firework show. Lots of people come to the evening event. There are some food trucks, but most of the people bring food, tables, blankets, chairs, etc. It’s like a huge picnic in the park. I went to the parade and activities in the morning, came back home about noon and took a 3 hour nap. In the late afternoon I went to the park and enjoyed the concert and fireworks. I saw people I knew and visited with them. I made myself stay to watch the fireworks. I’m glad I did. They went off on one side of the baseball field. They didn’t go up as far as the July 4th type fireworks so we were able to see them closer to us, hear the sizzling noises they made as they ascended and exploded, and we actually could see the ashes floating down. They were going off almost directly overhead since the wind was blowing in the direction we were sitting. It was so cool to watch and experience. I love watching fireworks. I would have liked to watch the Macy’s Day Fireworks in person one day. That’s probably not going to happen. My favorite firework memory of all time is in 1990 I was in Seattle watching the fireworks from the 27th floor of the Westin Hotel. I was in a roomful of people and we watched the fireworks at eye level exploding over the sound while simulcast music was played on the radio. Watching fireworks at eye level was extraordinary and most memorable.

True story that happened this past weekend… I had to laugh… When I do my laundry I tend to put lots of types of items in the washer at the same time. I usually only have enough clothes and towels to do one load of laundry every ten or so days. So, I put everything together in a washing machine. I’ve been doing this for several years, sometimes there is only one washing machine available at a time depending where I was able to find washers and dryers. Campgrounds often only had one of each machine, they were always coin operated. It usually works just fine this way with no problems, and it saves time to do one load vs two loads. Anyway on Sunday, I put my dirty clothes and towels in my laundry basket, and at the last minute decided to include a lightweight purple dress that I recently bought and have been wearing when relaxing in my apartment because it’s comfortable. It didn’t even pass through my brain that this is a new purple gauzy type dress and maybe I should wash it separately… that is until I took my clothes out of the washing machine. Two of my white dish towels are now a fairly deep color of lavender, and many pairs of my white underwear are now also various shades of lavender with some darker splotches of purple on some of them. For some reason my blue and white striped pillowcase and a shirt which are light colored did not absorb the purple color. My yellow pillowcase has splashes of purple. The other items in the washer were darker colors so I didn’t notice any change in their color. This life experience reminds me of Lois, you may have read about her in earlier posts. Here is one of the posts that has Lois stories that remind me to laugh and be grateful, no matter what.

I find it interesting, a few weeks ago I was thinking about buying some Rit dye and dying some of my white clothing items a different color. I wasn’t sure what color. I was going to do it in a pail of water so I wouldn’t take the chance of ruining anyone’s clothes by using the machine at my apartment complex. A few years ago I washed clothes in a washing machine somewhere and evidently the previous person used bleach and it didn’t all come out of the washer. Several of my t-shirts, jeans, and towels had bleached out spots on them. I don’t use bleach, it doesn’t matter to me if whites are not bright, and I don’t like the smell and risk of it ruining clothes or anything it spills on. As long as the clothes and towels get clean that’s all I care about.

In July 2011 I was in Seattle and staying with a friend of mine. I decided since I would be there for a few days that I would defrost my little fridge. As I was emptying my little freezer, I saw a blue oily substance on some things. I wondered what it was and soon realized that one of the blue ice packs I kept in the freezer leaked. What a mess to clean off of the items in the freezer, and worse to get off the plastic walls of the freezer. I had the blue dye all over my hands and it didn’t wash off completely so I had blue hands for a few days. I wrote a story about it  entitled Avatar or Smurf? There’s a cute poem at the end of that story that may give you a chuckle or giggle. When I went to turn on the fridge after it was defrosted, I noticed a few hours later that the fridge did not get very cold. I went to Camping World and was told I had to buy a new fridge. It didn’t have anything to do with the blue dye, it was just a coincidence of timing. I had some wonderful times in July 2011 and afterward. I really love my 2011 stories. It was the best times, adventures, and expeditions!!! During my travels, I experienced temperatures from 30 degrees to over 106 degrees depending on where I was at any given time.  Snow to extreme heat.

When I was looking in July 2011 posts for the above link, I glanced through the other stories for July 2011, then went into August 2011 and saw this story I wrote  which reminds me that God has a plan, sometimes I get to know what it is and why, other times I don’t get to know. I remember thinking at the time how calm I was about this entire situation. I knew there was a reason when it happened and as the story evolved, I realized why it happened the way it did. God’s plan is always better than what I could have planned or imagined, even though sometimes it doesn’t seem that way.

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