Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Daddy was the town marshal of our little bitty town. That meant he was also in charge of sewage, trash removal, fire chief, animal control, etc. In fact the only thing he wasn't was the mayor.
One of his duties was to blow the noon whistle. That whistle notified everyone in town that it was lunch time. All the stores and other businesses closed for lunch.
It was more of a siren than a whistle but that is what we called it. We went home for lunch from school. If we got to the fire station in time Daddy might let us blow the whistle.
It was easy to do. All you had to do was flip the switch just like a light switch. Then you would wait until the sound hit its crescendo and flip the switch back down. The sound would gradually slow and die. It was such a thrill.
The firehouse held most of the city offices. Daddy's office was there. The jail was there too. During the school year classes often made the several block long walk to the firehouse for a tour. We would be treated to explanations of what was what by my father.
When we got to the jail we were encouraged to enter the cell (yes, just one) to examine it. Then Daddy would slam the door shut and we were locked in. After good-natured laughter by Daddy and the teacher we would be released to go back to school.
Often while he was on patrol Daddy would find a treasure. He would rush home and have us check his shirt pocket. Inside might be a baby rabbit or kitten. If we could not talk Mom into letting us keep whatever it was Daddy would take it away. What we did not know was that he would have to euthanize it. There were no facilities for keeping animals.
One time he found a stray dog. Mom said no. Daddy took it to do his duty. When he came home again he had the dog.
He claimed that he had shot and buried it. When he got back to the fire station the dog was waiting for him. Oddly enough there was no sign of any wound. It must have been a fast healer. We kept it for a while but it ran off again as many stray dogs do.
Homecoming was the biggest day of the football season. People who had attended our school came back to root for the team along with the rest of us. There were pep rallies and bon fires all designed to whip the team into a winning frenzy. And there was a parade.
There were floats made of tissue paper and chicken wire on flat trailers that were pulled by tractors. A Homecoming King and Queen rode floats with their attendants. The mayor waved and smiled at everyone. For a little town that was only about three blocks long it was quite a celebration.
The fire chief had the big shiny red new fire truck all cleaned and waxed and it was a part of the parade. As the children of the fire chief we got to sit on top of the fire hoses and ride that truck in the parade. It was a great time to be a child, especially with the town marshal for a father.