Posted 2/08/12 (Wed)
I sure want to thank the New England folks for a great time the other night.
You remember that old song that started out “If you’ve ever been to England.” Maybe that isn’t how it went. My memory of those early years is a little blurred.
Anyway, if you’ve ever been to New England, you have to enjoy it. I was there to help celebrate the New England Fire Department’s 100 years of service to the community. And celebrate they did.
Who would ever think that you would import a barbecue chef from Grand Forks to cook up ribs and brisket in western North Dakota? Grand Forks? Now, that is a city that is not synonymous with barbecuing. I mean, they play hockey. And they educate doctors and lawyers. They have floods and howling blizzards. There is nothing to stop the water or the wind. But, ribs? Brisket? But they did. And it may have been the best ribs and brisket I ever imagined. Kudos!
I was there to speak at the banquet. Now, I quit doing that a couple of years ago. But since I have such respect for volunteers that man our ambulances and fight our fires, I gladly accepted a chance to visit and eat at the Memorial Hall in New England.
I really don’t know why they had me. They had Billy. You don’t know Billy? Billy is a guy that has probably been to more firemen’s conventions and meetings than anyone in the country. He’s been a member of their fire department for, like, 50 years. He was the fire chief for a good many of those years. He attended state and national conventions. He’s been to more fire schools than the devil himself. And I don’t think he’s forgotten a single story he heard at those events.
Shirley edited my speech. She worries that I may cross a fine line and offend someone in attendance. Which I have been known to do. I’ve offended husbands and wives and governors and family members. I’ve offended priests and rabbis and veterinarians and vegetarians. So, Shirley mellowed my speech out a bit.
But then, before I spoke, Billy got up. I tell you what, Billy, you moved the line back a bit! I loved it! The crowd loved it! And if I ever have a chance to fight fire, I want to be standing next to Billy! And I want a chance to share a beer and listen to his stories when we get back to the fire hall.
Thanks you, guys! Stay safe!