On one sweltering, late-summer afternoon in Pennsylvania, the kind of day that invites a certain dreamy idleness, my grandfather taught me how to make clouds disappear.
When asked which apparatus he would prefer, he answered, “Truck.” His father had been on a truck. He had been a tillerman on the hook-and-ladder. When two fire apparatuses collided during a run, his father became pinned under the wheels of the engine. He spent nearly a year in recuperation. Ever after he carried tire marks across his chest and shoulder. The candidate began his training on Truck 66 in Uptown.
My dad eats peanuts, leisurely drops the shells to the ground, and teaches me how to keep score. Different fans score differently, he says. The important thing is the ability to look back and understand what happened.