Faster Than a Speeding Fire Truck

Monday. Day One of Session Two: Grade 8 Math. The night before school starts is like the night before a race – sleepless. My mind was filled with a giant to-do list, anxieties over the unknown, and a general excitement. A hot summer night and LI’s waking up just as it was time for me to finally crawl into bed didn’t help at all.

Dave drove me to work this morning, something he hasn’t done in weeks. We picked up a Teaching Assistant and, five minutes later, we heard the sirens.

“What a waste of a fire truck sighting” I thought to myself. “I wish the boys were here to see it.” I thought of the many times that we make a point of running past firehalls, hoping that the trucks would be outside, and the number of times my boys wave at the firemen speeding by when we run along Upper Middle Road. We play with fire trucks and we’ve have gone to Fire Truck Shows.

Trying to make conversation, I told Dave and our 17 year old passenger about a recent sighting, when Little Ironman was really impressed that all cars pulled over to make room for the fire truck. “You know,” I told the two of them, “firefighters are modern day Superheros.” Silence, not even a chuckle.

When we made the last turn before school, my adrenalin soared. Five firetrucks – 3 in front and 2 on the road – were parked. I was almost giddy with excitement. “Ahhh! Look at them all! We might get sent home! Wouldn’t that be great?” And without even looking at my husband to say good-bye, I jumped out, telling him that I’d call him if we needed to be picked up early.

S. and I headed towards the school to join other staff; everything seemed fine but we needed to wait for permission to enter. And, then, it hit me: there were five – no, now six – truckloads of firefighters in front of my school. Even though they were fully dressed in gear, my face lit up. I watched a few walk into the building, put my tongue back in my mouth, and quickly scanned the other trucks – to see if I recognized any of the firemen, of course. After all, I have had students whose parents are fire fighters.

Then vanity kicked in. “Maybe one of them will recognize me” I thought. “‘Oh, look’, they’ll say to each other, ‘there is that woman who is running all the time.’ No, I’m not in my running gear. But, wait, one might recognize my ponytail – and my sunglasses. Oh, damn! I’m not wearing them.”

Minutes later, the crew of men which walked into the school headed back towards their truck and reality hit. The school was safe and it was time to go to work, but not before telling my principal that that was the best start to a Monday ever.

Later in the afternoon, on our way to the grocery store, I told Little Ironman and Skipper about my exciting morning. And, on our way home, we found ourselves at an intersection, looking at a firetruck waiting to make a turn towards us. Little Ironman stretched his neck over the seat as far as he could and waved furiously, delighted when the firefighters waved back. It must be genetics.

All kidding aside, I have to say how impressed I was that Oakville’s Fire Department had 6 trucks at an elementary school within minutes. Thank you, fire fighters.

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