Beyond Brotherhood ….

I get home at 11pm and check messages, e-mails, comments, hits, votes etc and once again WOW!  I’m sorry that my posts have been down to single daily publishes over the last few days but HONESTLY, I have a ton on my plate right now.

With the Black Diamond Boot Fire/EMS Blog of the Year Contest going on, you’d think a contender would throw more time towards the contest. Well, believe me … I’ve wanted to. I wanted to do more and better post. I wanted to become “creative” and lure you into my web of a site … LOL … It just hasn’t worked out.

One of  my Grandfathers passed away on Wednesday. As you can imagine, this unexpected event has had me and my family out of routine.  I’ve been trapped in thought as to post at all ….. to blog of his passing,  or just continue as if it never happened and all is normal… it’s not. I mention this only because  I think it’s only fair to explain why my post have been  “off” or somewhat “out of character” during what could arguably be the most important week of blogging.

That said, you folks haven’t missed a beat. The site has remained a favorite while the hits  and votes continue to pour in. THANKS! For you new comers, if you think you like Ironfiremen now … just wait till I’m back in full force!

Not only have I had those issues to deal with, I also have to continue to work .. and to catch up on falling so far behind from when my truck was down. It’s been a hectic schedule all week. It  finalilly caught up with the Buckaroo today.  While delivering hay (a double…both square and round) he fell asleep. Of course, he was in the truck but what was so funny was the fact that he fell asleep while eating. LMAO

We were having a conversation about the rising cost of diesel, the “spike” in corn cost and what Jade Fleitz may be doing. While I was talking, and with a mouth full of PB&J, he shut her down …

LOL … poor little fella. I’m just as tired but can’t find the time or a spot to pass out! I think I’ll give him the day off  tomorrow … he’s earned it.

Ok … the title …” Beyond Brotherhood”.  Looking back on recent events, that’s the thought that came to mind. The title and a “Brother” in particular. Rhett Fleitz.

Rhett and I go back a while and much like the success of this site, I can’t explain it. I mean … it doesn’t make sense … we don’t have that much in common.

We come from different back grounds .. different “walks of life”. There is a slight age difference.  He’s educated, calculated and resourceful ….  I am not. For all intensive purposes … I should HATE him but I don’t.

Once you get to know him, he’s hard not to like …

Well, Today was ol “Fire Boy Fleitz’s” birthday … the BIG    34 ! Congratulations Brother … may you have MANY more! I used the pic of his Birthday cake back on my birthday but it was good enough to warrant re-posting…

Now, a birthday is no big deal right? Well, it depends on whether or not you are a fireman. You see, we work our entire lives not looking for reconition ( and it’s a good thing because we don’t get much ..). We sacrifice special days, family events, holidays etc to pull a tour in service of others.  A “pat on the back” would be nice but it’s neither expected nor necessary. We give to others because we choose to.

So, drawing attention to one of “our” personal special days just doesn’t seem right. The good news there is usually a family member or a brother or sister from your company will coordinate some type of celebration. This is always well welcomed but again … not expected.

As I said, Rhett and I go back a long way. There’s a mutual respect between the two of us both as firefighters and men.

I feel as if I have watched his children grow while without a doubt, Rhett has watched me go through some pretty “trying” times. He has remained loyal and a “friend” throughout. That’s something you don’t find everyday. I have a few and feel fortunate to call Rhett one.

(Pictured right is Rhett’s young son Preston in my fire helmet and boots)

Tonight, he carried the concept even further.

As I mentioned, Friday 1/28/ 2011 was Rhett’s Birthday. He turned 34! … I know …I know … he hardly looks old enough to be 18 much less work for the Fire Department.

Anyway, Rhett choose to spend his Birthday with me. Not just me but with me, his son (Preston) and my grandson .. the Buckaroo. Yea … of all the people, he choose us!

Again, Birthdays are special to firefighters because not many days go “in our favor”. I was honored that he chose to spend his “special day” with us. He went the extra mile. He drove to town and picked me and the Buckaroo up from the funeral home. We had tickets to the Monster Truck Show at our local Civic Center.

I have never been to a Monster Truck Show but the boys (Preston…aka “Big P” and The Buckaroo) seemed to know we were in for a good show. They had several trucks and they seemed to know em all by “name”

Their favorites were one called the “Grave Digger” and another that looked like a puppy …

These two fellas were STOKED!  They even  had toy replicas of these “jacked up”  trucks before we got in the door … here they are in the ticket line..

The point I’m trying to get to here is this …. There we sit .. an old, big mustache, redneck type guy with his Grandson. Beside and with us was a much younger (and shorter) handsome fella who is not yet old enough to shave but can still pass for extra tickets from the beer garden and his son. A “mis-match pair of sorts.

While the engines were ROARING, the smell of raw exaust filling the air and dust settling in our eyes Rhett and I caught the others attention. He seen the look on my face and “mouthed” the words … “this is Awesome!”

He wasn’t talking about the show and I knew it.

Our “boys” were focused totally in the show and the moment in front of them. They couldn’t have imagined a better place to be than right there at that time. A “boys night out” with Paw-Paw and Dad.

It was “Awesome” that we were there to share (and witness) that moment with them. In our profession, we never know which one may be our last.  Rhett never gave a thought to the fact that it was “his day” … it was all about “Big P” and the “Buckaroo” and that is TRUELY awesome.

It was Rhett’s birthday and he gave me a gift.  I wasn’t a great father .. not even a good one to be honest. I was married to “the job”.  I missed dances, plays, shows and other events. I never learned to value of being there with them rather than getting the story from their mom.

Tonight, I learned what I had been missing. I’m sorry for all the “special dates” I missed with my girls but I’m twice as thankful for haven been given a 2nd chance of sorts. I am also just as grateful to have friends and Brothers such as Rhett to share these times that I am just learning to enjoy. It’s funny how the seemingly “little things” that we teach each other can be so important.

THANKS for the night out and lessons learned Rhett. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROTHER!

Ok, I’m  gonna stop here on the ” brotherhood” subject tonight but will go a little more in a depth in future post. I’ll move on because I received more than one gift last night.

You folks gave me the gift of support. We hit the 600 vote mark in the  Black Diamond Boot Fire / EMS Blog of the Year contest!  WOW! I don’t know what else to say other than THANKS!

In return, you have earned the removal of the final coverings from our sexy contest pics !  Now, don’t get discouraged, the contest remains open through January 2011. My pictures wont end either … I have a few more “tricks” or ideas up my sleeve to keep you folks happy. Stay tuned for those but in the meantime, go  HERE to cast your vote every 6 hours.

Congratulations on 600 votes and keeping in the lead…

Until next time, stay safe and in house!

Captain Wines