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Emergency!

photo of fire station

Brattleboro Fire Station
Fire Station on Elliot Street in downtown Brattlesboro, VT Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Do you ever find yourself wondering if you’d like an old TV favorite as much as you used to? With so many old shows and movies appearing on Netflix, etc, it’s easy to check them out. (Though The Six Million Dollar Man has yet to show up on any of the streaming services I use.) I will sometimes check out old favorites, but what about the shows that you forgot to remember you liked?

This happened to me recently when a friend mentioned METV (Memorable Entertainment Television). I found it in our cable line-up and there was Emergency!. I’d forgotten all about it, but as soon as I saw the emergency vehicles coming out of Fire Station 51, I remembered it. I was in high school when it debuted, so I was primed to love a show about rescuing.

At first it was enough to watch it for an hour in the afternoon, after I’d “stood down” from writing. I will admit to looking it up and didn’t remember six seasons or those made-for-tv movies. (We didn’t have a television for a few years after we got married.) So I looked it up on Netflix and there it was.

I love streaming services. 🙂

Man, talk about a blast from the past. The cars, the clothes, the make-up, the hair styles and the attitudes. It’s kind of horrifying now to see those firemen run into burning buildings with so little protection (according to the wiki on the show, the equipment is very consistent with what was in use at the time). All the medical advances and rescue techniques, even the paramedics that we take so much for granted now, were highly experimental programs.

In its time, Emergency! was cutting edge and probably helped with the spread of paramedic programs in all fifty states by educating all of us about how the program saved lives.

When we’re living through historic events, particularly the “quiet” ones, it’s easy to miss their significance. I used to think that ER was the remake of Emergency!, but it wasn’t. ER focused on the hospital end, not the out-there-risking-your-lives end. In one episode, Nurse McCall asks a doctor, “When was the last time you risked your life for a patient?”

I saw a fire detail race past the other day, having to drive on the wrong side of the road to get past a clog of traffic. They risked their lives just getting TO the emergency. I wish I could do something more for them than just get out of their way.

And I wish one of the studios would revisit the concept of Emergency. All over this country, there are men and women risking their lives to respond to OUR emergencies. This was powerfully brought home on 9/11 when the firemen rushed INTO the Twin Towers and gave up their lives.

There’s another episode where a paramedic has been gravely injured. His wife is angry when one of the characters tries to comfort her.

“Don’t tell me someone has to do it,” she yells at him.

The thing is, none of them HAVE to do it. We NEED someone to do it. They CHOOSE to be the ones who do it. For us. Day after day. And their families worry and wait, are grateful when their loved one comes home and heart broken when he or she doesn’t.

I’m really glad I got to remember an old favorite show. But I’m deeply grateful for the reminder of what so many do for me, for all of us, day in and day out. When the question is asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” they answer, “Yes,” without hesitation.

So I have another reason to be grateful to an old favorite show. It educated me then and it’s reminding me of what I learned. It’s too easy to forgot or take people for granted, particularly the ones out of our direct sight. I’m going to try to not forget this time (at least until I start forgetting everything) and, if I can do it without getting in their way, I’m going to try to thank all those in the “thin blue line” more often.

So, have you ever remembered and then REMEMBERED something and wondered how you ever forgot that? Ever stumbled across something you forgot you liked? You know I enter all comments into my monthly drawing for an AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). I announce a winner the first blog post of the new month. AnaBanana logo Perilously yours,

Pauline

P.S. One thing I try to do in my books is honor our military. Sometimes I take hits for it, but those are pretty mild compared to the missiles our military people dodge. cover art for Top Guns in Time & Space

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