Where my daddy lives
|"The Bay Area"
It is called "The Bay", but it is really a garage. I was inclined to whisper when I entered "the bay" area because no matter how muted the sound, it seemed to echo off the grey concrete walls and floor. The floor was mopped and waxed daily. I would walk cautiously because of the sheen that made me think it was as slippery as black ice. The room temperature was as cold as it looked. There was an essance of reverence when I walked past the mastodon like trucks.Their tires alone stood as tall as me. The black rubber as shiney as the floor. Dust was forbidden in "the bay" area. The chrome fenders on the front of the trucks were wide and flat so they could accoodate the life saving accessories stored there. There was the siren, an axe, and of course, the bell!
I was allowed to ring the bell, but only with permission. I would yank the cord once, and not very hard. However, one clang of the bell would resonate forever in my ears. I liked to sit on the front fender, or the metal strip of the cab. It felt so cold on my skinny bare legs. I was too intimidated to sit behind the steering wheel. That colossal size wheel was bigger than my neighbor's labrador retriever. I could feel my heart palpitate as I held my breath in anticipation of the alarm sounding. I knew to bolt out of the way of the well orchestrated routine of the firefighters. Even though I expected the alarm to sound, it would still scare the pants off me when it did.
It is interesting to note that the smell of smoke was absent. This minor detail intrigued me. "The bay" smelled of rubber, motor oil, and wax. Even the canvas hoses, placed so precisley, could be utilized with one pull, and smelled like laundry left on a clothes line on a sunny day. All the supplies needed at the scene of any emergency were meticulously organized on the truck. Not a second could be wasted in retrieving supplies, so every item had its place. Even the boots were left on the floor under the open door at the fireman's position on the truck.The fireman's coat and hat were on his seat. This allowed him to don his gear at the same time he would vault into the vehicle. Everything was poised at attention, ready for the command to "go".
These monstrous red trucks would then burst forth into life; engines roared like a lion ready to pounce, lights strobed and flashed as mimics of a heartbeat, and the siren pierced the air screaming like an eagle announcing its flight. Only "the bay" could house such trucks that have power, vitality, and a command of respect. I knew I was a special kid to be so up close and personal with these massive machines. I was allowed to come to "the bay" area of the station to visit, because this was my daddy's second home.