My dad was a firefighter.  He was passionate about his job which he considered a CAREER.  A CAREER of service to his fellow man for not only battling the inferno that most would run from but also for his community spirit.  Firemen are known for helping out with food and blood drives, teaching fire safety by speaking to youth in schools, and reaching out to the populace on media during Fire Prevention Week – all of the above was part of his routine.

And I’ll never forget the day, (December 1, 1958) that my father, on his day off, reported for duty to help out with the grisly task of removing the bodies of children caught in the Our Lady of Angels fire that took some 95 lives.  It was the worst school fire in the history of Chicago.  That fire deeply touched my dad and he had a hard time shaking the images burned into his mind by the tragic loss of life that didn’t have to occur had common sense been employed – making students egress when they still had a chance rather than closing up the classroom doors and praying for a miracle.   My father would often say, “God helps those who help themselves,” and he never understood why the adults failed to abide by that mantra and employ common sense.

As a boy, his formal education ended upon his graduation from grammar school.  He was expected to help his parents and go to work…that was common sense at that time since life for many immigrants was rough.  However, the man continued to read and educate himself through the power of literature and ascended to the rank of Battalion Chief (overseeing some 250 men in his district).  In order to make that grade, my dad had to take college classes regarding fire accelerants and public safety procedures.  He was at the top of his class – no surprise to his children and his wife, our mother.

Common sense often trumps book learning.  Common sense is a blessing for anyone because it allows those with little or no education to thrive and stay safe in a world that is at times cruel.

We live in such a world right now faced with a pandemic virus that doesn’t care how young or old you are, that doesn’t care about your politics, that doesn’t take into account your creed or religion.  The virus only cares about its own survival which often leads to the demise of a host that may not be in good health or might indeed be healthy but for whatever reason, can’t fight off the debilitating effects of COVID-19.

Worldwide cases now number some 9.4 million infections with 482,000 deaths globally and in the U.S. 121,000 plus.

That’s why I had to shake my head and wonder why would the leader of our nation threaten to defund COVID-19 testing sites, which include some 7 sites in Texas where the virus is surging?  My father would definitely question that finding it a total lack of common sense.

God bless those who utilize COMMON SENSE because it often allows people to GO DO GOOD even if like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz index

they feel inadequate and seek summa cum laude validation for that which they already have – a BRAIN filled with COMMON SENSE.

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