by Allison West Armstrong from Arnprior, ON
My son Luke loved firefighters as a boy. He also loved costumes. Over the years Luke dressed up as all of the well known superheros – superman, batman, spiderman – as well as some of the lesser known characters…which I learned later were a figment of his very active imagination. I helped Luke make super hero costumes: we sewed onion bags in his coat sleeves for Spiderman, attached capes to his clothing and cut out letters to attach to his t-shirts. The neighbors loved it.
His favourite alter ego was fireman. He wore my old navy jacket, that reached his knees, his fireman hat, his Wellington boots and he always brought along his trusty fire truck with the extension ladder. WE even constructed a fire hose out of wool and foil. At the park Luke would play on the climber, sliding down the firepole, driving his truck to the scene of the fire and then saving the day with his fire hose.
One day, while we were playing, we heard the sound of a real fire engine. We lived in a big city at the time, so it was not uncommon, but on this particular day the truck came down the street, just past the park. We stood there opened mouthed as we saw it whiz past and then suddenly stop, in front of an apartment building that began billowing smoke. It was all very exciting.
Luke quickly grabbed his Fire Engine and took off down the street. By the time we got on the scene firefighters were everywhere and everything was under control.
As I watched the action, I became aware of Luke setting up his truck and taking his hose out of his pocket. Just then a Firefighter, who I guess had noticed this small boy dressed as a Fireman complete with wool hose and miniature fire truck , came over and said to him ‘ Come on, let’s go, we’ve got a fire to fight!’
Luke looked at him, in shock, and said “ I’m not a real Fireman, I’m just a small boy.”