Monday, May 9, 2011

Spilling Guts, Solving the Worlds Problems, Reducing the Worlds Beer Glut

I noticed the woman first, recognizing her face from a photograph I had seen a few days before. Her brother was seated next to her at the bar, his cowboy hat pulled kind of low, the brim covering his neck and the top of his shirt. Although she had never met me, my appearance and demeanor caused her to know that I was the person they were there to see.

She nudged her brother, and mouthed some words to him, words I couldn't make out as I entered the bar. I kept my eye on them, as I closed the distance between us - just as he turned around. When I saw his face, I knew instantly that I had finally met the infamous famous Captain Willie Wines of Iron Firemen fame.

I'd recognize that 'stache anywhere!

We shook hands, introduced ourselves and sat down. Willie and his sister had a head start on me, a situation which Capt. Wines quickly remedied by ordering me a large Newcastle - an offer which I readily accepted.

For those of you who might not know Capt. Wines, he works for the city of Roanoke Va. and is a Captain on Engine 13. He also plays football on the Roanoke Rampage, a National Public Safety Football League team. He was out here to play a game against the Orange County Lawmen and was able to spend an extra day visiting the greater Los Angeles area. As my particular corner of the desert is only a couple hours away, we were able to finally meet after corresponding on the web for a few years.

We started with small talk, talking about our blogs, the Fire EMS network and our profession. After a time, Wines' sister took her leave and the level of conversation deepened, the seriousness of which was directly proportional to the amount of beer being consumed. We found that we had many things in common and are facing many of the same issues, both personally and professionally. We also found a few differences, mainly procedural ones necessitated by different fire problems.

After a tasty dinner, several hours of absorbing conversation and a steady supply of ale, our time together was coming to a close. The weekend trip was catching up on Capt. Wines, jet lag, a football game plus several social functions had taken their toll. That, plus a long drive and an early shift for me today forced us to settle with the barkeep and head for Wines' sister's house.

Willie and I have both been captains for quite some time. We both take pride in our work and in our ability to navigate. We both try to apply our professionalism to our personal lives as well.  We had been given quite detailed verbal instructions on how to get to Willie's sister's place, ones that we both committed to memory. Our journey to her home began quite well and we soon found ourselves very near her apartment. It was here, when things began to unravel. Somehow, both of us omitted a street in the step by step directions. What was to be a five minute journey stretched into a quite longer one. With the help of a cellphone, we finally were able to get Wine's safely delivered. I guess I should have had GPS installed in El Cheepo Jeepo, too late now.

The verbal directions debacle certainly proved that you can sure tell two old salty fire captains - you just can't tell them much!

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I am grateful that we had the opportunity to get together, I am quite sure that we will meet again.

Thanks for reading,

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