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American Pie ~ Fire Chief Leonard Getty

January 5, 2012

American Pie is a song about lost leaders and a loss of innocence. It was also the song I was listening to when a co-worker called to inform me that retired St. John Fire Chief Leonard Getty had died in an agricultural accident.

I only knew Chief Getty a short two and one-half years, but it doesn’t take long to get to know a person. And, I thought about the chief as I listened to the song.

The song begins with bad news arriving on the doorstep. Then, the day the music died. Like the words in the song, part of our music died yesterday.

So – bye, bye Chief Getty. Some of us “good ole boys” will drive our Chevy to the levy and drink a bit of whiskey and rye. And we’ll sing in your honor.

You may not have written the book of love, but I know you had faith in God above. And as big a heart as you had, I’m sure you knew how to dance real slow.

Fifty-nine years you saw a lot.

A lot of moss growing fat on a rolling stone, jester’s singing, a few courtrooms being adjourned, and plenty of Helter Skelter in summer swelter.

You watched players try the forward pass and many a half-time with sergeants playing a marching tune.

And you chased Jack Flash when he sat on a candlestick – because you knew that fire is the devil’s only friend. And as the flames climbed high into the night, more than once you saw Satan laughing with delight.

When the word of your death came – children screamed, lovers cried, and poets dreamed.

But, I don’t think the church bells are broken. And I don’t believe the three men we admire the most – the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost – will catch the last train for the coast.

No, what I believe is they’ll be awaiting you.

So – bye, bye Chief Getty. Some of us “good ole boys” will drive our Chevy to the levy and drink a bit of whiskey and rye. And we’ll sing in your honor.

Like American Pie – you’ll always be remembered.

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