Rainy Days and Snow or Sleet

                  … A Tribute to First Responders (Among Others)
                                                         By Jeff Salter

             As I draft this, it’s pouring.  Well, off and on, but there has been rain of some type since the wee hours.  Forecast has it turning to snowfall by tomorrow evening.  It reminds me how much I dislike inclement weather.

 Comfort
            Before I launch my topic, let me provide my frame of reference:  Like most people, I worked full-time for many years and always dreaded those days when I’d have to dash to my car in the rain, slog my way along three city blocks from the parking lot, and arrive at work soaking wet.  It was a horrible way to begin a long work shift.  Winter rain was the worst because it was still dark … and cold.
            These days, however — other than a handful of weekly commitments, I no longer ‘have’ to brave inclement elements … unless I choose to.  This is a luxury I don’t take lightly.
            So, I’ve taken a side door to my tribute to First Responders.  From the comfort of my warm and dry study, I sincerely appreciate those folks who DO have to fight the elements as part of their daily job.  They don’t have the luxury of saying:  “Uh, send somebody else … I don’t want to get wet.”

 Tribute
            Foremost, I cite the members of the U.S. Armed Forces – present and especially past – who’ve done their duty in the worst of conditions.  And some paid the ultimate price.  Freedom isn’t free.
            Next, I thank what we now collectively call ‘first responders’ — law enforcement, fire and hazard teams, medical personnel, and others on the ‘front lines’ of problem circumstances.  They have to respond immediately, regardless of the conditions … no matter how uncomfortable (or dangerous) to them.
            The next group often gets less attention, but their services are extremely valuable.  I don’t know the official collective term, so I’ll call them “infrastructure technicians”.  I’m grateful to those who work on downed power lines, broken water mains, dangerous gas leaks, hazardous roads/bridges … and whatever other destruction or malfunction that has seriously disrupted what we view as ‘services’.  A lot of these problems occur BECAUSE of terrible weather conditions.
            FEMA has gotten a lot of bad press (and possibly deserves some of it), but many of their ‘on-site’ services are essential and highly valued by those who need them.
            I’ve already mentioned firefighters, but I want to say a special word of thanks to those individuals who battle forest fires.  Just last year there were numerous, terrible fires in Arizona and Texas – as well as elsewhere – which involved millions of acres.  It’s difficult to imagine worse conditions to work in.
            During and right after Hurricane Katrina, there were folks who went into harm’s way specifically to rescue abandoned pets … that would otherwise have died horrible deaths.
            Don’t forget another group of folks who brave cruddy weather so that you and I can avail ourselves of their food, groceries, or supplies.  Yeah, on those days of worst conditions, there are employees who haul themselves to the essential stores, stations, & food places that citizens flock to … especially in bad weather.
            It would be possible to stop there, but there’s another group which also deserves my appreciation:  deliverers.  These are the folks who daily deliver mail, newspapers, packages, gift orders, shipments, etc., in every kind of weather imaginable.  I truly admire their dedication.

 Left anybody out?
            I may have, but it’s not on purpose.  I really mean this.
            My whole point today – as I write, indoors, about the nasty rain outside – is how fortunate I feel to have the luxury of comfort.  And how grateful I am for those who forego that luxury … in order for the rest of us to be safer, healthier, or more comfortable.
            I don’t know how ‘loud’ I can get on a blog, but here goes:
                                                     THANKS  Y’ALL!

 Questions
            Are there other individuals or groups who deserve special recognition for working in inclement conditions?
            Are any of y’all – or your family members – among these deserving folks in my list?

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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23 Responses to Rainy Days and Snow or Sleet

  1. Tonya Kappes says:

    What a nice post. Thanks, Jeff! I have a lot of family in the service. It’s just in the blood.

    Like

  2. Micki Gibson says:

    Pizza delivery folks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve inflicted my hunger on those poor folks. I don’t do it out of spite or to get my kicks and I always tip them extra.

    I’d like to give a special shout out to the Coast Guard. Yes, you included them with the military, but so many folks forget about that branch.

    But yes, a HUGE THANK YOU!!!! to all over the hero’s who brave the crummy elements. What a fantastic and thoughtful post, Jeff. So thank you for braving the cushy chair and a blank screen to remind us how lucky we are. 😉

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Right you are, Micki. The people who deliver get the worst of everything: even on pleasant weather days, they spend most of their shift in uncomfortable circumstances.

      Like

  3. Lois Grant says:

    This is a lighthearted response and you have covered so many and probably included the ones that I am thinking about in your broad categories, but I want to mention Library personnel. When the weather is getting rough or you are coming down with a bad cold or not feeling well, where do you go? To the Library to get books to keep you company in your cozy bed. How many colds and other illness have library personnel been exposed?

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Excellent point, Sug. In many communities the Library is one of the last places to close. Of course, in a few locales, it’s among the first. LOL.

      Like

  4. My eldest son was a firefighter and yes, even tackled forest wild fires, he is now working on two EMS crews. My younger son has also been an EMT,(still certified, he has worked as an emergency room tech). You can only imagine how stressful it is for we who love them to be so proud but always worried…not only bad weather, but the unthinking people who either get on the road unneccessarily or won’t get OFF the road for them.If people would please not go out and about when it isn’t essential in bad weather, so many fewer problems would occur, and those who need help can always get it. And this isn’t just ice and snow, but very wet weather and flooded roads. Stay off, go slow; through water don’t go. (Just made that up!)
    I also appreciate your appreciating of the lineworkers and STORE workers.I traveled in a blizzard to open a bakery/restaurant for my boss.I was there to serve coffee and donuts to the snowplow driver that I followed down and off the highway.My boss came in and we held the fort for a while. A man came through to feed the dogs he had on a farm.It felt good to be there to serve hot coffee to him so he could care for the hounds.
    God bless all those who brave the elements for our safety and comfort!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Congrats to your family members, Tonette. It additionally bothers me that people like them who are so often in harm’s way are nowhere nearly compensated appropriately. But I guess that’s another column.
      I know those folks who tasted your coffee that blizzard day will remember it forever.

      Like

  5. jbrayweber says:

    Thanks, Jeff. Your post is a nice reminder that we should remember and be grateful to all these folks. Most of their jobs are stressful, all important. Adding in inclement weather makes it all the more yucky and dangerous.
    I HATE cold rain. Well, I HATE cold weather, and anything under, say, 72 degrees is miserable for me. 🙂 One day, I’ll move to the Caribbean! You can count on that!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Careful in the Caribbean … there could be PIRATES down there.
      Oh, wait … nevermind. You already know all the cool pirates.

      Like

  6. crbwrites says:

    I’ve had the most experience with post-hurricane first responders. I’m grateful to them all. But my heart also swells with gratitude for the roving bands of helpful neighbors with chain saws who go door to door as soon as the wind dies down.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Absolutely, Chris.
      It seems that bad storms can bring out the best in neighbors. I even wrote a poem which features that phenomena. It’s called “After the Storm.”

      Like

  7. Lindsay says:

    What a great post to honor the women and men who are there to keep us safe.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Lindsay. I rarely use the word ‘hero’ anymore because it’s been so over-used by so many for so long.
      But the actions of some of these response teams — under terrible circumstances and conditions — is nothing short of heroic.

      Like

  8. When I taught, I always included a unit on Heroes. We started by listing the attributes of a hero and who the kids thought were heroes. they began with a lot of actors, sports figures etc. By the time we were done, they revamped their whole idea of what they thought made up a person who deserved the title. Police, firefighters, the military etc. soon took top priority.
    Thanks for reminding us of all those folks that make our lives safer.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      That’s wonderful that you included that perspective in your teaching days. I wish/hope many other teachers would do the same.
      Always glad when you visit, Stacey.

      Like

  9. Laurie Ryan says:

    Well said, Jeff. And timely for anyone in the Pacific Northwest. While your post is more about weather related hazzards, we just lost a National Park Ranger on Mount Rainier in a senseless killing. She was doing her job as first responder. I tip my hat to her, Margaret Anderson, and to all our first responders.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Yes, Laurie. I also followed parts of that story on the killed Ranger. It was very sad hearing from some of her family and friends.

      Like

  10. Oh, Jeff, this post really touches home for me. I’ve mentioned before that I lost my grandfather, a proud WW2 vet & charter member of the CIA (he was one of Donovan’s Devils in the OSS) in 2010. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. I also have patients in the military, including one 56-year-old pediatric oncologist who did TWO stints in Iraq in the past five years. I am a firm and proud supporter of our US military.

    Like

  11. Hi Jeff,
    Both my boys are in the military. Air Force and Army. They were paper carriers, too. Made two of your lists! :))

    Janette H

    Like

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