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Archive for May, 2008

This morning and most of the afternoon I had the privilege of working on several wiring issues at the home of a young family in Gulfport, who needed some miscellaneous household electrical wiring projects done.

It was very warm working in the sunshine, and it was quite considerate of the father to bring out several bottles of cold water for me to drink while I was working. He did his best to help out, and told me that he was not a handyman, but he liked to help out when he could. He really was a big help.

Hopefully, by the end of the project this afternoon, he now has a little better understanding about how household electrical wiring circuits work. The family was very appreciative of having me assist them, and it was another one of those work projects down here which provides a good feeling to be here and helping.

Fortunately, Hurricane Katrina didn’t hurt them any worse than it did.

After finishing the wiring project, I drove up to the Barnes & Noble store, had a caramel macchiotto coffee drink, a turkey & cheese paninni sandwich and read a bunch of mags for a while, then drove back to my little travel trailer and turned on the A/C in my bedroom to relax and check stuff online.

The temp in the trailer in the late afternoon gets to be about 105 to 110 degrees when the air has not been on; these things have such little insulation, it takes quite a bit of time for the temp to cool down below sauna level. I don’t run the window A/C unit when I am gone, as it makes my electric bill much harder to pay each month, so I grin and bear it (and sweat).

I did enjoy a couple of quick emails after I got back with friend, Sarah of The Almost Royal up north near my Wisconsin home, about her community’s annual celebration called “The Frolic.” She is a neat young lady whose posts are hilarious and always get my undivided attention with her enthusiastic and witty prose!

Apparently, the heat outside today took more out of me than just sweat and water, as when put my head on my pillows, I crashed and just woke up at about 10:00pm. Hmmm, must have stayed up too late last night viewing posts and web sites (again!).

Tomorrow morning, I will go over to a friend’s Katrina Cottage in Pass Christian, to help with the building of his sister’s new home located behind his, being built by volunteers. She lost her previous home on the same site, to Katrina’s storm surge.

There are still a lot of empty slabs around the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a lot of slabs… and the Atlantic (and Gulf Coast) Hurricane Season 2008 begins officially in exactly 25 minutes!

Time for some more sleep.

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It’s Week #13 update time for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Bird Program folks! So, here is what ‘Master Naturalist’ buddy John and I found today, May 30, 2008, walking around campus during our Friday afternoon Blue Bird Trail nesting survey: (sprinkled in among the findings are images of Master Naturalist Buddy John, his Tree-Climbing Wonder Dog Emily, his home and his magnificent view).

**John asked me to remind our readers this week that he is: still single, and eligible, has a great dog by the name of Emily – the Tree-Climbing Wonder Dog, a black manx cat named Haley, lives in a beautiful home with a magnificent view on a bayou north of Pass Christian , likes to hunt and fish, is interested in dating and possible marriage to woman who is: single, age 21-35, beautiful, educated, good sense of humor, loves dogs and cats, loves to fish and has a boat. If interested, please send picture of boat.

I don’t know, folks. That’s what he told me to write…

Here goes:

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Image of Nesting Box #6 from last week’s survey.

Box #1- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: 5 Blue Bird babies flew.

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Master Naturalist Buddy John, cooking fish at one of his famous bayou cookouts, is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, which is also Brett Favre’s alma mater.

Box #2- Full Blue Bird nest built, 1 Blue Bird egg. – Last week: More straw placed in box.

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John’s dog, Emily, the Tree-Climbing Wonder Dog, in a 750-year old Live Oak, in Long Beach, Mississippi.

Box #3- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

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Emily the Tree-Climbing Wonder Dog heads up a steep incline in the Live Oak.

Box #4- At least 2 Blue Bird babies. – Last week: At least 2 Blue Bird babies.

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Emily is literally not afraid to go way out on a limb, in this second largest Live Oak tree in Mississippi, with a limb spread of 161 feet! Emily is not afraid to get up in the air in her pursuit of squirrels.

Box #5- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

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Yep, she loves it up there.

Box #6- 3 Blue Bird babies. – Last week: 5 Blue Bird eggs.

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You wouldn’t catch me up that high!

Box #7- 4 Blue Bird eggs. – Last week: 4 Blue Bird eggs.

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She’s one amazing dog!

Box #8- Empty box, no activity. Last week: – Empty box, no activity.

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John’s home is on the Bayou Portage, and has a beautiful view of the Wolf River Marsh, on the north side of the Bay of St. Louis, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, just north of Pass Christian. Try to picture a Katrina water storm surge level which reached a foot above the hand rail of the very top deck! That was 31 feet above sea level, folks! John;s home survived the surge, but had to be completely gutted inside.

Box #9- 4 Blue Bird eggs. – Last week: New nest built & 1 Blue Bird egg.

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View from John’s dining/living room and back deck of the Wolf River Marsh.

Box #10- Empty box, no activity. – Empty box, no activity.

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View from the top deck of John’s home, of the Bayou Portage and Wolf River Marsh. The little girl on the short deck, is Evy, and the fellow bending over on the right on the bayou dock is her father, and they are also the daughter and husband of none other than that Wizard of Words, MAGGIE, DAMMIT, who, with her family, were all on the Mississippi Gulf Coast last June as volunteers helping rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina, her second such volunteer relief trip to the coast in the spring and summer of 2007.

Box #11- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

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Emily the Tree-Climbing Wonder Dog.

Box #12- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

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The boat/fishing deck at John’s home on the Bayou Portage at sunset, is an incredibly beautiful place to be. The fisherman on the right on the dock is the husband of Maggie, Dammit.

Box #13- 4 Blue Bird babies. – Last week: 5 Blue Bird eggs.

Totals This week: (may 30, 2008): 9 Blue Bird eggs, 9 Blue Bird babies, 7 empty nesting boxes.

Totals Last week: (May 23, 2008):15 Blue Bird eggs, 2 Blue Bird babies, 5 Blue Bird babies flew the nest, 5 empty nesting boxes.

Master Naturalist buddy John continues to be very enthused about the activity, and reports that so far, 19 Blue Bird babies and 6 Chickadee babies have flown from the nesting boxes during this first season of the new Blue Bird Trail. The weather today was partly cloudy, humid and about 88, with more of the same during the next seven days.

Another update will be along next weekend.

Happy Birding, and Thanks for stopping by!

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Last weekend, after commenting on Quin Anne’s post Indiana Jones~In the Beginning, and advising her that I lived and worked on one of the Wyoming ranches where the movie was made, Quin asked me to share a story about that episode in my life.

After graduating from college and not being able to land a teaching position in my major field, I was working 3-4 part-time jobs, one of which was being in a small beef cattle partnership with my father. During my last two years of college, I took a number of animal science courses, in addition to my major/minor courses, to increase my knowledge of beef cattle operations.

During those last two years of college, on the average weekday, I would get up very early in the morning and go on my AI (dairy cattle artificial insemination) route, then hustle back home, grab a quick bite for breakfast, then hop in my school bus and drive that elementary school route, then hustle back home, jump in my ’72 Chevy pickup and drive 50 some miles down to the university where I was taking classes.

After classes all day, I would tromp it back home, go on the school bus route, then the AI evening route, then home for supper. Afterwards, study time and spend a little time with my spouse of 2-3 years, then get a few hours of sleep.

Life was fast then, and has been pretty much uphill ever since.

Around Christmas time, 1973, while reading the want ads in the Drovers Journal cattlemen’s newspaper, I saw an ad for a ranch foreman in northeast Wyoming on a newly purchased, 18,000+ acre cattle ranch. I sent off a quick application and resume, and the next week, received a call from the owner.

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Devils Tower

To make a long story shorter, in mid January, I drove out to Wyoming, driving straight through, interviewed for the ranch foreman position, got it, and turned around and drove straight back to southern Wisconsin.

The deal I made was to drive back out and start my new job in a month, in February, after making arrangements back home. The hardest part of leaving home for the west and my new position, was leaving my dear wife of about 6 years, who was then three months pregnant with what would be our first born, and being away from her until June, when I would fly back home, load up all of our earthly possessions in a truck and move her and our stuff out to the ranch.

In mid February, I loaded up my Chevy 4×4 with a rollaway bed, bedding, my clothes, tools, a small dresser, and one of our two cats, a fiesty Siamese female named Woodstock (those were the days), and headed for Wyoming. Those next four months were a very lonesome time. Kind of like the last year and a half, down here on the coast on hurricane relief mission.

About two years pass, during which we have the birth of our first son, and get settled into the life of ranchers literally out in the middle of nowhere. In fact, our nearest neighbors lived five miles away! Our doctor and the hospital where our first two children were born were 55 miles east of the ranch, over the Little Bear Lodge Mountains, in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.

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Belle Fourche River

I was able to do many things on the ranch, including operate heavy equipment (dozer and scrapper), guide out-of-state deer hunters, dynamite beaver dams and stumps, build corrals, establish the second beef cattle AI program in the state at that time, and be the tanker driver fire fighter of the two-person local fire department.

Life was at a somewhat slower pace then, it seemed.

I can remember coming in for dinner one day and asking my wife, “Is this Tuesday, or Saturday?” Not really knowing, or really caring. The ranch I was the foreman of, measured approximately 4 miles wide by 10 miles long. It seemed like we were forever fixing fence on that place.

There wasn’t a lot of excitement in those parts, except for a rodeo once in a while, and occasionally playing pinochle with friends.

None, that is, until Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon came by one day…

When we first heard the rumors of a big movie being shot in the county, (Crook County), most of us didn’t believe it would ever happen. Then advance people started showing up, followed by props, semi trailers and all kind of goodies arriving at the entrance of Devils Tower National Monument every day, it seemed.

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Devils Tower

This particular piece of land, about 8 acres, was part of the neighbor’s ranch, which adjoined the park and our ranch. Our ranch had about 10,000 acres on the front (east and north side of the park, and 8,000 acres on the back (west) of the park. One had to drive through the park to get from the front ranch to the back ranch.

What caused a lot of excitement among easy-going locals in those parts, was the opportunity to be one of several hundred people hired as extras for some of the scenes to be filmed in front of the park and nearby at several locations.

As fortune would have it, my wife, pregnant at the time expecting our second child, and my best friend out there, Tom, both got hired as extras for one of the scenes to take place on the highway going over towards Moorcroft.

Tom and my wife were to be riding in Tom’s pickup, which had my camper top on it (my only contribution to the film), while Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon were trying to get to Devils Tower on a back road, and were fighting traffic in that effort. I believe that they paid the extras about $50 and meals for their participation in the scenes.

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I didn’t go to apply for an extra part, as I just had too much to do with work on the ranch. It was really cool, though, having the choppers buzzing all around at dusk and early nightfall, with their searchlights on, as if looking for Dreyfuss and Dillon when they were trying to climb their way away from those pursuing them.

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Every day it was a neat experience to go get our mail at the Devils Tower Post office, which was located across the road from the movie set, as it provided the opportunity to check up on what was going on on the set.

Once the film actually came out in theaters, it was exciting to go and view it, and see all the local scenes in the Devils Tower area, and remember back when the movie was being filmed.

It was an interesting and memorable stop on this trip called life.

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It’s Week #12 update time for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Bird Program folks! So, here is what ‘Master Naturalist’ buddy John and I found today, May 23, 2008, walking around campus during our Friday morning Blue Bird Trail nesting survey:

Box #1- 5 Blue Bird babies flew. – Last week: At least 4 Blue Bird babies.

Box #2- More straw placed in box. – Last week: New Blue Bird nest.

Box #3- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

Box #4- At least 2 Blue Bird babies. – Last week: Mama Blue Bird sitting on 5 eggs.

Box #5- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

Box #6- 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last week: 5 new Blue Bird eggs.

Box #7- 4 Blue Bird eggs. – Last week: Full Blue Bird nest.

Box #8- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: 4 Blue Bird babies flew from nest; 1 sterile egg, cleaned box.

Box #9- New nest built & 1 Blue Bird egg. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

Box #10- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: 2 Blue Bird babies flew from nest; 3 sterile eggs, cleaned box.

Box #11- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: 6 Chickadee babies flew the nesting box, cleaned box.

Box #12- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

Box #13- 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last week: 5 new Blue Bird eggs.

Totals This Week (May 23, 2008):15 Blue Bird eggs, 2 Blue Bird babies, 5 Blue Bird babies flew the nest, 5 empty nesting boxes.

Totals Last Week (May 16, 2008): 15 Blue Bird eggs, at least 4 Blue Bird babies, 6 Chickadee babies flew the nest, 6 empty nesting boxes.

Master Naturalist buddy John continues to be very enthused about the activity, and reports that so far, 19 Blue Bird babies and 6 Chickadee babies have flown from the nesting boxes during this first season of the new Blue Bird Trail. The weather today was partly cloudy and about 75.

Another update will be along next weekend.

Happy Birding!

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Chapter 2:

Mountain Man Will Rolfe:

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“On our way down offa Sleepin Injun Mountain, lookin way off yonder a way ta the the west, at least a daze ride, the purty waturs a Jenny Lake sparkled so green an shiny, it don takes a man’s breath juss plum away. I fugur’d that me’an Long Hair in the Wind had us a little extree time so we mite outta dipsee on by ther an sit a short spell on our way on down ta the Green Rivr an the Randazvous thang comin long nex week.

Az we come down offa the foothills an onta the short grass, we started ‘cross a flat place call’d Antelope Flats. It wuz still a fur piece ‘cross ovur ta Jenny Lake, but light wuz still gud an I fugur’d we’d make it afore it wuz plum dark, if’n we kepp movin ‘long, so we did.

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Bein’ early July, the big game – the elk, sheep, moose and grizz, wuz up high’r in the timber an the parks. Nuthin much wuz down in na flats but smallur critturs, like jacks, coyotes, sum muleys an, a course, them antelopes. They cuud run faster then a jack any day, fur sur, that be the truut.

They wuz lotz a them ‘lopes there wen we wuz fixin ta start ‘cross the Flat, but wen they seen us, they plum skeddadled off thru the stage an such. Ta onliest way a man cuud hav onena them ‘lope critturs fur a meal, wuz ta slip up on ’em slikkery like, juss peepin ‘long, an suppriz ’em afore they cuud skeddadle. ‘Lope meat wuz durn good eatin, bout az good az elk steak, I sez. We awreddy had us a quartr a elk on Ship Rock, so we juss let them ‘lopes go on ‘n skedaddle.

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A warm summer breez wuz wisperin up thru the crick willers and sage az we wus ridin’ a slowly pace ‘cross the Flat, an lookin up, the sky az fur az one cuud see, wuz ’bout a purty a blue az ther ever wuz. I look’d over nex ta me at Long Hair in the Wind, ridin’ on Donell, an ta small breez wuz anuff ta make hur long, black hair ta muv softly, gently, az she rode ‘long. She look’d over at me, an smiled; an ma heart felt good.

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With the sun high ovur head, we polled up baside a ole, snaggy yeller pine, what had ben struck ba lightnin’ or sumptin’ else, an had us sum elk jerky Long Hair in the Wind had made fur us back yonder a few days. Wil we wuz sittin’ there on a log, the mountains wuz towerin’ ‘bove us clear up ta the heavn’s. Makz one feel purty small bein’ nex ta them. Such primativ beutty makes me feel that ole’ God is so powrful.

They wuz a litter crick only spittin’ distance away as we et, an Long Hair in the Wind walked over ther ta fill our canteens with crick water an then we wood be on the trail agin.

It seem’d like only a few minutes had passed, wen I hurd Long Hair in the Wind call out, with a skeer’d like cry. I run over ta wher she wuz standin’, an seen that juss a few feet away frum her, all curl’d up and makin’ a racket wuz a rattler, settin’ ta jump at hur leg. I sez, “Don’t muv, stay still.” I took out ma throwin’ ax an let fly at that varmut, an slik az can be, it sliced right on thru, an the head went flyin’ frum hiz body, inta the crick nex ta Long Hair in the Wind.

Wen she seen wat happened ta the rattler, she come ta me an put hur arms ’round me an held on tight az she cuud, puttin’ hur head hard agin the side a ma neck. I let hur hug me fur a bit, an wuz glad she wuz OK. I wood a ben a sad owl hoot iffin’ she got bit by that varmut.

Juss then, two Gro Vants rode inta the clearin’ ‘cross the crick, stopped, an got down ta fill ther watr bags. They looked at us an we looked at them, and wen they figur’d we wazn’t no thret, they got up an muv’d away back thru the sage, frum the way they come. I thought to myself, ‘I’ll be a suck-egg mule!’ They slipped right away. I wuzn’t too concernd, ‘cuz the Gro Vants an the Shoshones got ‘long purty gud in them daze. It wuz the Shoshones where I got Long Hair in the Wind frum her brother back yonder in ther village.

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We got back up an muv’d ‘long, too, an ’bout two hours later, we come ta Jenny Lake. I had camp’d here severl times in years pass, an It wuz one a ma favrit places ever. Long Hair in the Wind had never ben here, an she juss stood at the watr’s edge and looked and looked, furst at the watr, an then at the mountains above. The watr wuz so clear, you cuud see the mountains in the watr juss fine, almost az good az looking up at ’em.

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Finnly, Long Hair in the Wind got up an sez ta me, “I think this place must be saccrid, an we shouldn’t stay too long, mabe juss a night, no more. When I took a look-see ‘long the shore, I seen marks frum other fires, an figur’d Long Hair in the Wind wuz right. We wood stay tonight an go on towards the Green at furst light.

Az we made camp fur the night on the shore a Jenny Lake, an et elk steak an coffee by the fire, I couldn’t hepp wonderin’ if we wuz doin’ right by goin’ ta this Randazvous meetin’ down on the Green. May be all this fuss an trail ridin’ wuz all fur nuthin’. Well, time enuff then ta think ’bout it.

Long Hair in the Wind held open the blankets where she had set ’em by the fire, an seemed she wuz wantin’ me to come ta hur more than usual. So, I crawl’d in there with hur, an she muved over to me. A coyote crutter cut loose with a batch a yelpin’ off in the distance, as we peerd up at the twinkl stars up ‘bove, an went ’bout bein’ tagether.”

Photos #1- Jenny Lake & Mt. Moran, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, #3 – Antelope Flats, Grand Teton peak, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, #4 – Moose, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, #6- Jenny Lake, Teton Mountains, – Lance Myers. Copyright 2008.

From: Wyoming Tales and Trails: http://www.wyomingtalesandtrails.com/bridger2.html
Photo #2 – Bourgeois and Squaw, Alfred Jacob Miller, 1837.
Photo #5 – The Trapper’s Bride, Alfred Jacob Miller, 1837.

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It’s Week #11 update time for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Bird Program folks! So, here is what ‘Master Naturalist’ buddy John and I found today, May 16, 2008, slogging around campus in the pouring rain (we are so dedicated!), in our Friday morning Blue Bird nesting survey:

Box #1- At least 4 Blue Bird babies. – Last week: 4 & possibly 5 Blue Bird babies.

Box #2- New Blue Bird nest. – Last week: Blue Bird nest still under construction.

Box #3- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

Box #4- Mama Blue Bird sitting on 5 eggs. – Last week: 5 new Blue Bird eggs.

Box #5- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

Box #6- 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last week: 4 new Blue Bird eggs.

Box #7- Full Blue Bird nest. – Last week: Some straw in box.

Box #8- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: 4 Blue Bird babies flew from nest; 1 sterile egg, cleaned box.

Box #9- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Removed nest, cleaned box.

Box #10- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: 2 Blue Bird babies flew from nest; 3 sterile eggs, cleaned box.

Box #11- 6 Chickadee babies flew the nesting box, cleaned box. – Last week: 6 large Chickadee babies.

Box #12- Empty box, no activity. – Last week: Empty box, no activity.

Box #13- 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last week: 3 new Blue Bird eggs.

Totals This Week (May 16, 2008):15 Blue Bird eggs, 4 Blue Bird babies, 6 Chickadee babies flew the nest, 6 empty nesting boxes.

Totals Last Week (May 9, 2008): 12 Blue Bird eggs, 1 sterile Blue Bird egg, 5 Blue Bird babies, 6 Chickadee babies.

Master Naturalist buddy John is very enthused about the activity, and says that having nests in 11 of 13 nesting boxes is a great start to the first season of the new Blue Bird Trail. Completing the survey this week was a real challenge, with heavy rains falling all morning on the Mississippi coast.

Another update will be along next weekend.

Happy Birding!

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Decision time was upon me this week.

Should I complete on-line EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) Refresher requirements and renew my Wisconsin EMT-Basic License, even though I have been on temporary leave from my service for the past 1 1/2 years while down here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast doing hurricane Katrina relief?

Or should I say that 18 years as a volunteer in the EMS Service is enough, and not renew?

During the past 18 years as an Emergency Medical Services volunteer responder, I have probably averaged around 30-35 calls per year, ranging from a high of around 60 calls in the busiest year, and a low of 1 call last year, which happened when I went on a call when I was home on a weekend in Wisconsin to visit my family.

EMTs nation-wide, whether they be EMT-Basics, EMT-IV (IV certified), or EMT-Paramedic, volunteer or paid, provide a critical service to their communities, as Emergency Medical Responders.

They go “on call” for their shift, wearing a pager on their belt which will activate when an emergency occurs, to summon them out to a scene of medical need, a scene which can be fraught with dangers of all sorts, dangerous to responding emergency services personnel, patients, families and bystanders alike, life-threatening dangers.

Over the years, I can’t begin to tell you of all the times when myself and fellow EMT crew mates have responded to ambulance calls during the middle of the night, over roads covered with snow, white ice, black ice, freezing rain and thick fog, and then the roads which were in good condition.

During those calls we would be dealing with patients who (unbeknown to us) had Aids, HIV and/or hepetitis, patients who were drunk, belligerent and combative, and patients who had large, protective dogs in the home, among other numerous hazards.

We EMTs all have our “war stories” we can tell about the calls we have experienced over the years, the majority of which were ‘routine,’ and then there are those that you somehow got through without losing your sanity and composure, and will never, ever forget. The ones involving babies who have stopped breathing or were choking, the auto crash fatalities, burn victims, drownings, heart attacks, strokes, seizures, overdoses, suicides, sports injuries and others.

We never knew what was coming at us when we arrived at the scene where we were needed.

And on that topic, I will share just one story with you, one EMS experience that happened to me when I wasn’t even ‘on call,’ one that I will never forget.

On early Easter Sunday morning, in 1996, my oldest son and I had arrived back in our rural Dane County, Wisconsin home after having driven all night from northern Mississippi in a 24′ rental truck, after delivering a huge load of donated clothing and other items to needy Mississippi delta families during the previous 3 days.

After getting about 6 hours of badly needed sleep, my wife and I, with our two youngest children, left our home and headed out towards the town where my wife’s mother lived some two hours north, to spend Easter Sunday with her.

When we were about 45 minutes north on our journey, and were starting to pass through a small village, approaching a kwik stop/cheese outlet (it was Wisconsin), when we spotted what appeared to be a serious automobile accident directly ahead of us about 100 yards.

I directed my daughter, who was driving, to pull off to the right into the gas station and park, about even with where a wrecked gray station wagon was sitting in the southbound lane of traffic on the highway. The rear end of the station wagon was totally smashed and gone, just a mass of tangled steel, plastic and glass, from an obvious high-speed, rear end collision. About 20 feet behind the station wagon sat a small, wrecked compact-type truck, the front end of which was totally obliterated.

Apparently, we had come upon this accident literally only moments after it had occurred, as there were no police, fire or EMS responders at the scene yet, just a few people standing over by the gas station.

My EMS training and experience kicked in automatically, as I quickly went to the rear of my vehicle, donned some vinyl gloves and grabbed my EMT ‘jump kit’ and started walking towards the gray station wagon. At that same moment, two local EMTs who had driven up and parked by my car as I was getting my stuff from the trunk, joined me on my trip over towards the two wrecked vehicles.

I quickly introduced myself and advised that I was an EMT and asked what they wanted me to do to help. One said for the other EMT to go check on the two teenage girls in the small truck and what their injuries might be, and for myself and the other EMT to check out the people in the station wagon, and for me to try to get the door of the passenger side open, to check on injuries there.

I ran around what was left of the rear end of the station wagon, up to the passenger door, set my jump kit down, and put my right hand on the passenger door handle, in preparation to trying to open it.

As I squeezed the door handle to open it, the male passenger, obviously in a great deal of pain, turned his head towards me and our eyes locked onto each other.

Instantly, my heart, my breath, and my body, froze!

I was looking directly into the eyes of…my father!

It seemed like that terrible moment took forever, even though it passed literally in a split second. I pulled open the door, and my dad said in a weak, pain-filled voice: “Oh, Son, I’m so glad to see you.”

When he spoke, that frozen moment passed, and the EMT in me quickly resurfaced and took control again, and I asked him where he hurt. The other EMT was able to get the driver’s side door open and start immediately assessing my frantic stepmother.

When we were driving up to the accident scene, and my thoughts were on the next several steps I would be taking, I had not recognized my father’s station wagon. And, it turns out, they were actually on their way down to see me and my family, at my home, but hadn’t called to let us know.

In a few minutes, the local ambulance arrived, and I assisted them in extricating my father from the vehicle into the ambulance. He suffered three broken ribs and other contusions when they were struck from behind by two teenage girls going about 60 miles an hour, in the small truck. It seems the girls were trying to tune in their radio and were not paying attention to their driving. My father’s southbound car was stopped, signaling to turn into the cheese store so they could get some cheese to bring down to us.

The crash impact was so great that it broke my father’s seatbelt, thus breaking his ribs and doing other things. The real worry, though, we all had, was for my father’s heart, as he had an implanted pacemaker/defibrillator in him.

I road with him in the ambulance into one of the hospitals in Madison, to the ER there for treatment and further assessment. The remaining three years of his life, he never fully recovered from his injuries, and experienced considerable pain the rest of his days.

One of an EMTs worst nightmares is getting to a scene and finding that one of the victims is either family or someone he or she knows.

I had my nightmare, and I hope to God there never is another one like that.

As many of you are aware, my decision was “Yes’ to renew my EMT license for another two years, and I completed the necessary requirements Tuesday on-line to make that a reality.

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