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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Barbeque/Cookout (09/06/12)

TITLE: Healing Through the Flames
By Ruth Neilson
09/12/12


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The popping crack of the fire always sounded like a love song to me especially now that I know its language.

I know, I have a problem, but I cannot help it. I just love every part of it. From the very start of it, finding the right lighter fluid (I prefer the common ones that can be bought at the grocery store) all the way to that flick of the wrist to light the match. I know I'm old school in that practice but there is something that just makes it all worth it. In the grand scheme of things, a barbeque proves that I am healing.

The sirens wail around me as we snake through traffic. I grin from my seat in the truck. I love my job, I love the fact that I get to not only help people but I get to fight fires. And, most importantly, I get to walk in my brother's shoes. It was a family tradition, in some ways, to become a public servant.

My dad was a cop, my oldest brother became a firefighter—and then the dark day came. The sky erupted as the two Towers combusted into a barbeque of human flesh that consumed too many lives that day. The flames smoldered for day, weeks even. And somewhere in that human barbeque pit was my father and brother.

I couldn't look at a grill the same way for years. Not without thinking about that pile of scorched rubble. For a few years, I even became a vegetarian while I finished high school and tech school, anything to avoid that smell.

And then, there was the moment that I stepped into my brother's shoes. It was like something changed in me. It wasn't an instant change, it started slow. I had a burger fresh for the first time in five years one day at the firehouse.

I was accepted there, brought into the fold by the older men and women who saw that day through warrior's eyes. They taught me the lessons that my dad and brother couldn't.

The horn blared, jerking me out of my musings, challenging anyone to get in the truck's way and delaying our mission further.

---
Dedicated to all firefighters, especially to those who gave it all and were killed on duty, and to their families who are still healing.


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This article has been read 205 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD (Camille) Swanson 09/13/12
Oh my gosh! This gripped my heart and held me captive. It was poignant and jarring at once. I have the utmost respect for the first responders, and the fire department occupies just a "little bit more of my heart" than the others. Many were lost that day, as were innocent civilians...this story is a loving tribute to their memory.

Thank you. God bless~
Ellen Carr 09/14/12
This is very moving and I like the voice of healing and the way it is dedicated of it to the firefighters. May much more healing take place. Thank you for writing this.
Lillian Rhoades 09/16/12
Wow! So glad you're healing from such a tragedy. Your opening line was quite a hook.