Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Windin'-up "Bertha's" Siren. Model 760 Seagrave Triple Combination Pumper, Hose Wagon and Chemical Engine

Model 760 Seagrave Triple Combination Pumper

How does one day magically turn from Thanksgiving-time to Christmas-time? Have a Christmas parade!  The olden days of our town, our Chief drove his jeep through-out the town and gathered the children to follow him to the Fire Station on 10th Street and surprise them with candy. Later the parade was held at night during the 1960's and included a tree-lighting ceremony at the old Blanchard Library. I remember  I rode Smoky, our Arabian with my grandfather in the parade when he was Grand Marshall. He had Christmas lights all across the breast collar of Chico, his big, strawberry roan, quarter horse. I don't know how he did that, because back then, a person couldn't buy battery-powered Christmas lights.

My Grand Daughter Hannah and Adree, the Sparky Dog
Today, the parade was super long and lasted well over and hour. I especially loved this parade and it included so many children on the sport league trucks, I wondered if there was going to be children watching the parade. I'm thinking there was one engine from Station 82 plus and the "Light and Air" and our golf-cart emergency vehicle with Sparky the Fire Dog (AKA as my grand-daughter, Adree) She got out and Shufflee-Stepped for the crowd and did the Rain-bird, and a Rumba Rear Dance and everyone enjoyed her silly dancing especially the judges.
Photo by Don Johnson Santa Paula Times
Station 81 had also three engines, plus the wonderful, dear old Mac Engine that was my grandfather's big purchase as Chief 2.
I Love This Engine So Faded It's Almost Pink
And then, there's our precious Seagrave, so fancied-up. A sweet guy in town, named Lynn from Lynn's Towing has a special bond with "Bertha" and really has helped the fire department in getting that special old engine 'new life.' I'm not sure where he received all his mechanical knowledge, but our sweet little fire engine runs so great. When we received it, it was completely "stove-up" from vandalism in the fuel tank. I've never ridden in it before, at least as I can remember. I'm not sure it worked when I was a little girl, but I did climb-up on the engine and wind-it-up way too tight in a very small engine bay. I could see my dad running to get me and I just wound faster and faster he would yank me off. (not an easy chore because the seat's up so high) I remember him carrying me like a football with me kickin' and screaming all the way out of the station. I loved that big ol' bell, too. Steve just told me on the phone that this was the first time the engines didn't receive a call during the parade. Even with Ventura covering us, the engine would have pulled-out and gone on a call. I know that was a worry because of the dry gusty winds, that make Southern California famous with wild fires.

Off To The Parade
We Stage At The End--We Got Santa!
The old days... when I was a 'wild child'  57 years ago I was completely obsessed with the sirens and bells and driving the big wooden steering wheel. No I didn't drive it, but today I was able to ride in front seat  of the Seagrave, with my husband driving it and was so excited, because it was me....there, just windin' her siren-up and I even tied a hankie to the bell, so I wouldn't break my fingers. It's crazy how head-strong a little girl can be... strong enough to pull both a siren around and ring that huge bell. It was hard work for me today and I laughed the whole parade. I kicked and screamed a little bit and I accidentally hit the ignition on the lower left side, dashboard where I was sitting, Oops! I didn't know that would kill the engine and the engine died, it did! Right on the railroad tracks. Steve gave me sitting orders and my foot had to go out on the side handle-lift. Actually, it made me fill more secure in the small open seat. The engineer sits on the wrong-side of the engine, like England. I was told that was old school by Uncle John, Steve's side-kick and B-shift buddy.

Our family rode in the Seagrave except my grandson, Tanner, who rode with his dad and my son, the other Captain Lazenby, from station 82 and Sparky-dog Adree, was in the Emergency golf cart.

My Other Captain...My Son, Dustin and Grandson Tanner

The fun part was we were last and we carried Santa Claus. It was a whopping 83 degrees and so hot. The East Wind was blowing like crazy and everyone feared a big fire during the parade like last year when the oil tanks blew-up on South Mountain. Ventura Fire was covering for us, but our main 10th Street was closed as well as Main Street.

We all loved the time Santa took for pictures with the Seagrave in the background. It was really a fun and precious day, but I was super busy to get everything done, so we could be there at the engine before it left
the bay.

This whole parade business had me bring-up all my Christmas decorations always a couple days before Thanksgiving. The box that holds my wooden shoes for St. Nicholas Feast Day, also has all the silver bells used on the engines as the decorations. Traditionally we have kept them safe in little boxes just for this event. Our decoration box also holds all the hats that we wear year after year. I was a little sad looking at the baby Santa hats that my children and then grandchildren have outgrown. I'm glad I gave them away this year because I don't think those couple of hats would even fit a large baby dolly. I'm not sure my children ever fit in them.

Tonight included helping my mother like this morning. I wished she could have gone, but it was better she didn't attend in the heat and high wind. The whole parade is going to show all Christmas season on our local channel. I'll have to write down the parade times for her to watch.

Returning To The Station--It's All Fun!
Backing In To Set-up For Pictures
It's such a tradition to have this parade and Christmas parade pictures in our lives. All my children have participated and I miss the ones that can't be here now. Love the Jenkin's grandchildren. I'm so blessed to be the grandmother of sixteen grandchildren. I'm pretty sure all my children and grandchildren love the fire engines and all of these memorable parades.

I made bread for the Sacrament this evening. It's probably the most blessed bread, ever. I prayed over it to be light and tall. I handle it so carefully and I always make a back-up loaf so that I have a spare. It's never wasted because my grandchildren next door love it for an evening snack. I still can't believe I made sausage and "eggie-pancakes" crepes for breakfast this morning for my grandson and for my mother. Saturday has always been one of those days that we take a little more time on our breakfast. I know my mother loved to have the "eggie-pancakes" she made for all of us almost every Saturday.

I always think on the days that I have so much going on and I'm the busiest, that I can handle another "big job." Well, I must say those days are over. I have no energy left. Even though it would have been a perfect day to decorate my whole house, my bed is already calling me. The east wind, extra cooking, and climbing in and out of the Fire Engine, having all the animals chores I've done today... Can I blame my exhaustion on all of those extra things in my day? I could give-in and say I was too busy...I know the REAL reason: My extra-tight Levis, ouch! Right this second, I feel bound from my bottom rib to my ankles and that's what I get for leaning a'little on the over-eating, a day before yesterday.

One day ... and many years. I'm surprised, tired beyond words, and probably will dream about fire sirens all night. Ya' grow-up knowing and living with fire-fighters and then marrying one of them, then your boy becomes a firefighter, I can say that I know no other life. I'm so proud of my family and grateful for all they do. This was a huge undertaking today, so many firefighters came to drive and work. All of them were doing this work without any pay. It took hours to get the engines back in their storage, fueled-back-up, decorations all put-away, and everyone did it happily, even those without little children in their life right now. We are so thankful for firefighters that look at their job as being part of family. They're great.

My Captain Steve Lazenby

1 comment:

Breeda said...

Great post mom! I am sorry we miss it but I am thankful for photos and your sweet details!