Last friday night I attended the retirement of a man who was my crew boss for the years I worked in fire.   Jimmy Joe (what we called him, a nickname of his full name that I won't print because I don't want work people landing here and knowing what I do while not paying attention on conference calls…besides eat crunchy foods) is a mild-mannered guy, fatherly type. He ran the crew like I know he runs his family – gently, encouragingly, firmly but only weilding as much control as necessary.  At work he walked the delicate line between manager and friend and was beloved by all. Or most. It can never be more than most.  I don't care who you are.  Jim was so close though….maybe if he had leaked those intoxicating pherimoans out of his pores..or if he shit gold coin when he spoke ….but there is no point thinking about that now, he's retired.

Anyway, I haven't fought fire for a few years, but the dinner brought back memories…and the people I used to work with are really getting OLD! I'm sure 'digging line' means something else entirely to us all now. 

I spent the rest of the weekend with new(er) friends…DD, Susan, Ellie, Jody, Kelsey, and Ann and Mary from Nevada.  We worked dogs, had some Hot Toddies…something I'd never even heard of before DD introduced it to my lexicon,  

"Can you pick up a Hot Toddy mix on your way out?" she texted me first thing Saturday morning.

"Yes, I can!" I replied. Because I'm like that. All about Positive.  It's not the first time I've been errand girl for some twisted quest of DDs….well, okay, it WAS going to be…and I was ready.

Cruising for a mix of Hot Toddies, however, caused me about an hours delay and some uncomfortable moments downtown at the only bar open at 9am, and then, later, finally, at the Paul's IGA store meat department. 

Awkward!  Hot Toddie mix.  Sounds more like some sort of variety pack male stripper show, or some nerdy-sexy-maybe-a-tad-effeminate-escorts doesn't it? Of COURSE IT DOES!!!

"Hot Toddy?" was how I initiated things. I tried to target youngish men with eye glasses and a smattering of acne over good features and clothes a mother would pick out.  At first…

"Uhhh…no… thanks." was exclusively the reply. 

I transitioned to men who were awake and drinking, but had probably been home to bathe. This was looking more promising, yet not as toothsome, maybe even repulsive…

Then DD texted me, "Are you at the store yet?"

WTF? Really?  Well…ok, probably in Caldwell, yes. I could see that. 

So I drove to Paul's IGA, meat department and laid down my line, sultry-like, to a man whose name tag read 'Chuck'.

"You mean a Hot Buttered Rum batter?" he replied.

"Uhhh, sure, if that's what you want to call him… We'd be….catchers, then?"

Imagine my complete letdown when he led me to the wine isle and handed me a 4 ounce plastic tub. HOT BUTTERED RUM MIX.  Does DD fuck with me thusly ON PURPOSE?

I rebuttoned the top 3 buttons of my shirt and headed to her house. To work dogs. Thank god that was just as it sounded.

Everyone was already there and working.  I worked Jai.  We need this sort of practice in front of people as we tend to get a little dicy under scrutiny.

It was a great weekend.  I'm not sure Jai and I are ready for her first trial coming up the weekend after this next, but we'll see.

In the afternoon we had a Hot Toddy, as DD insisted on calling it.  It was fine.  I think overall it worked out better with this mix.