These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

9-1 what?

while talking to my sister recently, she mentioned an incident concerning 911 that alarmed me and caused me to have some concern for my family, all of whom live in rural areas of south texas.

apparently, one saturday night a few weeks ago, the catholic church in benavides was having its weekly bingo festivities, something its done since i can remember. they have the bingo in a church hall adjacent to the church.

while cooking something (they used to make great hamburgers), something started smoking in the kitchen. a piece of hamburger got stuck somewhere it wasn't supposed to or something like that.

the ladies went to work to stop the smoke and perhaps even the smoke detectors wentoff. either way, they were concerned and wanted the fire dept. to come and check it out to make sure there wasn't anything electrical or otherwise wrong with the kitchen and a fire would erupt during thenight after everyone was gone.

they call up 911 and tell them the situation. so far so good, right? that's the wayit usually works. they explained the situation.

then something incredulous happened. the 911 dispatcher said the fire department couldn't make it out there because it was all volunteers.

benavides is a small town of less than 2000 people. so there are plenty of homes in th4e city that could catch fire. not to mention a civic center, a church or two and various school buildings. oh , and a shitty little city hall building.

so what happens if one of these structures catches fire? oh sorry, we can't save your schol because the dept. consists of volunteers. sorry if your students have to go to another school district and have to be bused 15 miles away. sorry if taxpayers will have to fork over more tax money to rebuild a new school because we only have volunteers to work at the fire dept.

that's completely unacceptable. i think the peopple of benavides should be up in arms about this. the bingo hall wasn't on fire, but what if it had? it wold have gone up. by the time the nearest fire dept. (san diego, which is about 15 miles away) arrived, it would have been too late. i'm sure the fire, though, would have attracted some spectators, maybe even a few of the volunteer firefighters who would have fought the fire.

it is such backward logic. we have volunteer fire dept. up here in the holland area. folland township, whcich has a larger populaton than holland is run by a volunteer fire dept. i can't imagine the 911 dispatcher says to a homeowner whose house is on fire, "sorry, they can't make it out there beause they're volunteers." people would be furious and i'd bet somebody's sue over it.

word to your mutha: "they call me the fireman, oh yes they do..."

Monday, October 23, 2006

what's your shirt say, grandma?

so i was talking to my mom yesterday and related a really funny story about my grandma (her mom). today, my sister filled me in on the rest of the story to make it complete.

my grandma goes to this place, sort of like a very small-town version of evergreen commons, minus the swimming pool and fancy building. she goes there on a dialy basis to interact with people and play bingo, which is a favorite pasttime of hers.

so late last week she made her way there for her daily excursion. she returns and my aunt, who lives next door, came in to greet her. my aunt stopped when she saw my grandma's shirt.

my aunt asked my grandma, who's in her late 80s, if she'd worn the shirt she was wearing to play bingo. my grandma said yes she said.

my aunt was appalled at her and said what she was doing wearing that shirt out in public. she said it was in her drawer and she put it on.

"do you know what it says?" my aunt asked her.
"no, but some of the people were laughing at the place," my grandma replied.

i don't know how the exchange occured, but this is what the shirt read:


i don't know my grandma's reaction. probably didn't realize the implications of the shirt.

my uncle, who owned the shirt and lives with my grandparents, said it was his shirt and he wore it to work in the oil fields.

my grandma insisted she got it from the drawer. so it was assumed the provider she has washed the clothes and inadvertently put the shirt in the wrong place.

this really cracked up me and my sister. we thought it was the funniest thing.

although, my grandma can be a tad eccentric at times. some years back she used to wear this news boy style cap where the top of the front is attached to the bill of the cap. it was hot pink and had an embroidered insignia on one side. the insignia was of the playboy bunny. she used to wear it to the same place, too, where she wore her "sx" shirt.

my family soon aftetr hid the cap or threw it away. either way, she stopped wearing it. thank goodness.
this is the same lady who would put bows in her hair, you know the type that you put on the ribbon or wrapping paper of a gift. she just put the sticky part down on her hair and walk out the door.

i love my grandma but she can get a little weird.

song to match the topic: "grandpa's all right, grandma's all right, they just get a little weird..."