HUMANS OF THE PFISTER | AUGUST 2016 | Being “August” | Continued
HER: I wrote a poem for him on his wedding anniversary, even though he doesn’t remember. It thanked my parents for bringing me to that point in my life. You really don’t remember? [He said, “It was twenty-five years ago!”] This is where he’s supposed to lie and say, “Yes, I remember!” Well, I write poems for other people, too. For example, I wrote poems for my friend who was in chemo every three weeks; she’d get a letter with a poem about her current status, my hopes for her, and so on. She’s seven years chemo-free now (I like words like “overcome”!). And I wrote poems for our kids going off to college–we have a twenty-one year old son and a nineteen-year-old daughter who have never given us any trouble. [She shows me their photos.] They also got fun poems for their first final exam weeks in college: I rolled the poems up with ribbon and included them in a package with things to match certain stanzas. There was a line, I’m sure, about “staying up all night,” and our son likes coffee and daughter likes tea, so they got some caffeine, too. My husband thinks I’m corny for doing things like that, but I was a Marine brat, so we moved all over–there was one year that I went to two different schools in one year–and that made me outgoing, helpful, and accepting. It helped me in my career, too: it’s all hands-on work, you get to to help people on their bad day and make it better. I love it.
HIM: You never go into my career thinking that what you’re doing is august or “noble.” Instead, you become a firefighter to serve your community. (And, of course, who didn’t like trucks and firehoses as a child?) There’s a funny story, though: One day I was on I-94, driving through my own town, and there was a car that was smoking. A lady jumps out–I think she had a kid in the back, too. They both get out. I had an extinguisher in my car, so I checked under her car’s hood and put out the fire–it was small. It turns out that she was the editor for the Wisconsin Fire Journal and she did a whole interview and story about how she was saved by a local firefighter and how that allowed her to go home safe to her family. It was a pretty big deal. But all I did was put out a little fire!