For all but two of our married years, my husband Kramer carried a pager. He served as a fireman, first responder, and for a time on the rescue squad. Pagers were his way of knowing there was a call and he should respond.
Kramer was terribly rough on pagers. He’d lose one while picking rock, filling silo, or doing any number of chores on the farm. One year while filling the silo, Kramer was running the blower. For those of you who aren’t farmers and familiar with filling silos, it works a little like this…The tractor and wagon are brought to a blower which is beside the silo. The silage is dumped into the blower and the blower blows the silage to the top of the silo. The silage goes up into the silo and then falls to the level of the silage inside.
Somehow in the process, Kramer lost his pager. We had no idea what happened to it. Crazily, months later when he was feeding the cattle, he found his pager in the feed.
Kramer lost or broke so many pagers that the first responder group always kept a spare pager or two for him. They knew he’d somehow break one. They also kept insurance on his pager…because again, they knew he’d make use of the policy. No one else in the group had insurance on their pagers.
Well, being Kramer was on the Fire Department and the First Responders, the First Responders provided the pager he carried on his person but we had a handheld radio in the house that the Fire Department provided. He got calls from both services on the pager and the handheld. He used the handheld when his pager was broken but for the most part, it stayed in the house.
I always listened to the handheld. Often times Kramer would be on the skid loader and didn’t hear his regular pager so I would call him on his phone if a call came in. Also, there were some “dead zones” that weren’t the best at picking up traffic so I’d call him in cases like that too. Another reason why it was handy for me to listen to the handheld was that we live in a spot where three county borders come together. Often times I would hear a call from a neighboring county but it wouldn’t come through on Kramer’s pager right away. I’d call him and let him know and he’d be on his way.
When we moved to town, his handheld started acting up. We didn’t want to bother the fire department to get a new one so it was “fixed” but sticking a silverware fork in it. The width of the fork was just enough to push the handheld to the charger. We got along just fine with the pager like that.
When Kramer passed away, I ended up keeping the handheld. By now Kaliss and Craig were carrying on the tradition of being a volunteer firefighter and first responder. I still listened for traffic on the handheld only now, it was Kalissa and Craig I listened for. I started running to their house and watch the kids so they could go on a call.
Then a sad day came. The handheld broke for real. The house got really quiet. I didn’t hear the storm watches and warnings. I didn’t hear the fire trucks go out. I didn’t hear the medical calls. I missed it…but I couldn’t really go to the fire department and ask for a radio.
When the kids were home, they missed the noise and chatter of the scanner too…They had all grown hearing the scanner, immediately being quiet and listening to the call that might take their dad away to help someone in need. So look what Buck bought me…a scanner. Mine is a Uniden BC365 Scanner.
He got it all set up so I get the channels that we have always monitored.
The house sounds the same again. I hear the old familiar dispatchers. I hear the test pages. Life is a little more normal with it. I’ve been listening for the pager for years and years. It was a little too quiet without one.