I just finished reading my first "Adult" book in who knows how long. My friend Kathy, who I've known since we were little squirts in Sunday school and is now living an awesome big city life in Madison (love ya cheese!), recommended the book Population: 485 by Michael Perry.
Its eerie how similar a town some 4 hours away could be to our little Hamlet. Jim's been on our volunteer department for 7 years now. We weren't born in this town, we don't have family roots...honestly, most days I long for a change of address. But, Jim has found good friendships here, its the birth place of most of our kids and of his dream. The fire department has been good for him. I can remember the exact day when he went from regular Joe volunteer to fireman geek (its an affectionate term between us). The boy eats, sleeps and breathes fire and ambulance. He's all but quit construction and now works full time on an ambulance in the city....so he runs calls for work and then comes home on his days off and...runs calls!
The book painted such a good picture of small town life. I never really thought about the diversity of people who volunteer in our department...how vastly different they are (businessmen, educated, not so much educated, farmers, wives, truckers, students), yet on a call they are one, working toward a common goal. Its different working for a private service. There's an anonymity, no one knows you and usually you don't know them. But when there's a call in a small town, everyone knows everyone...you're not just saving a house or a life, you're saving a neighbor. I remember the one time we had to call 911. Riley was around 2 and hit his head on the coffee table. I have my own medical background...so when he was screaming his head off, I told Jim that was a good sign (the wee ones with brain injuries don't cry most of the time). No sooner had the words escaped my mouth, his little eyes glassed over and he stopped crying! In a matter of minutes we had pretty much every firefighter in town in our living room. (Me holding back our Rotti and wishing I had folded the mountain of laundry hiding our couch!). In the end Riley was just fine, but its nice to know that if our address comes up again we've got a whole herd of people who have us covered!
I've always respected Jim for his dedication to the department (not always liked it, but always respected!). Until this book I never really put a lot of things together as to why he has this devotion. I can't wait for him to get home from his shift so that I can put my arms around his neck and tell him how much I love him.
I'm not sure how much of a literary masterpiece this book was, but it was a good read (did it in a couple days)...entertaining and used "big" words that I don't often see on an everyday basis with the kids' books! I'd definitely recommend it (I hope that Jim will sit still long enough to work through it). This year I'm going to try and get back into the habit of reading. Pre-mom was filled with wonderful books...then I hit the stage of diapers and sippy cups, where the most intelligent thing I could wrap my frazzled brain around was a People magazine! Who knows, maybe this is a turning point...maybe this year I'll find more of who I am not just "mom".
If you have any great books that you love, let me know!