Ramblin' with Fergie by John Ferguson

Hamburg Reporter

  Tying My Shoes

        As I close in on geezerhood, (okay, I’ll rephrase that) Now that I’m into geezerhood, some of the things that I used to do easily and automatically are now things that I do only after careful planning and with varying amounts of difficulty. Things like getting dressed for anything, semi-formal or otherwise.

        So, as I was tying my shoes one day last week, I couldn’t help but think about my days as a member of the Hamburg Fire Department, when we’d get a call in the wee hours, roll out, put on any clothes that were handy and head to the fire hall, or to the location of the fire. If everything fell into place for me, I’d get to the fire hall before the trucks left the barn and I’d have a comfy ride to the fire. That, however, rarely happened and I usually wound up racing with my cohorts to get a great spot on the  firefighting line.

        I remember one time, when we lived on north Main, and Hallie had rearranged the bedroom. In the wee hours we got a fire call. I jumped out of bed, made a quick left turn and, instead of finding  a pair of jeans in their normal place, I found myself in a land of shirts, hangers and dress pants,  yelling to nobody or anybody, “where the heck am I?” Or something like that. Newly awakened, First Wife Hallie got up and announced, “You’re in the closet”. And she was right, but I’d have been getting into my jeans if it had been the day before; the day the bed got moved.

        I also remember another time, on a call to Martin Goracke’s pig farm out east of town. I got to the  fire hall in time enough to catch a truck and was among the first on the scene of a burning pig shed. Of course the fence surrounding the pigs was one of those three layered jobs, made of one by twelves with a two inch gap between layers, just enough to accommodate the toes of the shoes I was wearing. Incidentally, in those days, I wasn’t yet into white tennis shoes, and it’s a good thing I wasn’t because they would have totally wasted. Here’s why.

        As the pumper truck arrived, I wanted to be in on the action. So I got out of it just before it completely stopped rolling and ran headlong toward a burning hog barn. I approached that aforementioned split rail fence, put a toe into one of those two inch gaps, then hoisted my body up and over the fence and sailed magnificently over that hog lot for about six feet and then landed feet first into about 12 inches of what I hoped was mud, but it took no time to realize that it wasn’t pure mud. I’m sure that about hundred pigs were yukking it up as I did my best to extricate my feet from the muck.

        But I got it done, then got the fire hose and turned it on my feet, shoes and all. That occurred about 40 years ago, so I think I’ve totally recovered from that incident. Now I am outta here!