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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fire-fighter (10/05/06)

TITLE: THE BIRTHDAY GIFT
By Darlene Casino
10/10/06


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“Nana, when is he coming?" asked my wide-eyed, five year old grandson. Today was his birthday party and already beginning to overflow with his friends and family members. Maybe fifteen minutes had passed when he rushed to my side with a little friend in tow. “Nana, Wally doesn’t believe ‘he’ is really going to come here!” “Oh yes, Charlie. We promised, but you must be patient a little while longer.”

It all began months before when ‘Puppa’ made plans to obtain the service provided by another church member. The man was a professional fireman who had started a related home business. He purchased two older fire engines, and put together a program to entertain at children’s gatherings and birthday parties. We knew our young grandson would be having his birthday party on the Saturday of the Fourth of July weekend. ‘Puppa’ thought this would be great fun for the children. Of course, the expense of such a ‘gift’ would far exceed our usual budget for such a time!

There was one little problem we thought of much later; a second grandson would be celebrating his fifth birthday three weeks before Charlie. But the expense was too great to do the same thing for him. Now, any grandparent knows, this is not a good position in which to find oneself! The fairness of it all became a prayer concern on this grandmother’s heart. We were somewhat relieved to find out that due to the distance involved, the service was not available. This gave us an excuse not to provide for him in the same way. Our relief was short lived when we learned that he would be having his party at his other grandparents, only a few miles from Charlie’s house!! In June, the wisdom of the Lord prevailed; the ‘gift’ would be presented to both of them at Charlie’s.

Today was the big day! Charlie, Anthony, and the other children could be heard squealing and shouting with excitement a block away. “He’s here! He’s here!” Sure enough, the bright, red, fire engine with flashing lights and a ringing bell came down the road and pulled in to the driveway. From behind the steering wheel, out stepped this special man. “Hi, I’m Firefighter Mike and I’m looking for Charlie and Anthony.” Two little boys, grinning from ear to ear came forward to receive their very own fireman’s hat and birthday introduction.

Over the next hour and a half, children and adults alike were enthralled with the efforts of Firefighter Mike and his teenage helper. Each boy captained team competitions. Games centering on fire safety were eagerly played, some through the effects of a smoke-making machine. The teen assistant was dressed in full gear including the facemask, as each piece was explained. “See, you don’t need to be afraid,” encouraged Firefighter Mike. Then he led the children through a mock fire with the children being woken from sleep by this strange looking assistant. The highlight of the day was a ride on the fire engine with flashing lights through the town for the children and parents alike.

We watched the faces of our grandsons and saw the broad smiles on the children’s faces. We heard the approving comments of their parents. As we considered the value of this fun presentation on fire safety, we knew our money had been well spent.


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This article has been read 868 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 10/15/06
Oh, the eyes of a child! My son would have gone BANANAS for something like this!! You did a lovely job of sharing this wonderful memory with us (I am assuming this is true!). Made me smile!
Ruth Neilson10/18/06
Great job on your first time out! Keep up the good work. It's a shame that no one else has remarked on this other than me and Joanne Sher.
Amy Michelle Wiley 10/19/06
What a fun birthday! I think it would have been even better if you had shown us the action and dialog by getting into someone's head and letting us feel like we were in the middle of the party. Great story!
Catrina Bradley 10/19/06
Good, fun, story! I wanted to be a kid at the party, too! It may have sounded a little "stilted"? at times (to my ears), but you told it well.