Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Little Boy's Dream

I was four years old when my love affair with fire trucks began. At the time, it was a pumper with a hook and ladder truck and an ambulance that caught my eye just before Christmas. I still have them, battered and scarred with parts missing from good times. I wish I'd taken better care of them since they're worth many times more than what my parents paid on the collector's market. Not that I'd sell them, because, well, you know, they're a part of my childhood. For everything else there's MasterCard. You can't buy memories -- not like these, anyway.

On that Christmas morning, though, I was in for a bit of a disappointment. The only sets left on the shelf were ones without the ambulance and I really wanted the ambulance most of all. How else can you rescue the people, I thought? Someone has to take them to the hospital because they've been hurt in the "fire." It was a childhood fantasy I later fulfilled as an adult when, in my first pastorate, I volunteered as an ambulance driver. Little did I know, either then or as a four year old, I'd end up a medical student seeing patients in a hospital. The most amazing things creep up on you when you're least expecting them.

Kind of like another little boy's dream, the one you see in the photo. It's a 1936 Chevrolet I saw a few nights ago, parked in front of the Knights of Columbus in Old Town, Maine. Of course, I had to stop and take pictures. How could I not? My guide for the best tour I could have asked for, was a tow-headed little guy about seven or eight years old who happily indulged me by climbing into the back to ring the bell. He was able do that, you see, because his daddy, as he proudly informed me, owned it.

Old Town has a special connection for me which I discovered the same evening, when I noticed a sign on its outskirts identifying it as the home of Old Town Canoes. We paddled Old Towns when I was a Scoutmaster on white water canoeing trips in Southeastern Oklahoma. And there I was, driving through the place where they were made. I don't know, it just struck me as sweet, and it brought back very pleasant memories of sunburns, campfires, and friends far away.

Anyhow, back to the fire truck. Walking around it I noticed a plaque that told me everything I needed to know about the person who owned it and why. If you look closely you can see it, right there on the passenger side. It reads simply, A Little Boy's Dream. Yeah, you guessed it. Daddy wanted a fire truck when he was was young and promised himself one day, when he was all grown up, he'd have one for his very own. And now he does and he shares it with his son.

Who shared it with me.


(Photo copyright 2011 by the author)
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