A Tribute from our Past
In 1917, Dr R.V. Mattison, one of the original members of the Wissahickon Fire Company, addressed the following lines to the company's members, describing the efficiency of Ambler's well-organized and equipped volunteer fire company, and the responsibilities and duty of the general public towards the organization. (note: "Ret" means "to soak in water")
Ret the Midnight Rambler
The "Home Town" just outside the city's border, Beyond the vibrant clamors and strife; Where busy men seek restful scenes and order, And success from frets of business life.
Where healthy families await with pleasure, The changing seasons with varied sports, And nature gives us, in unstinted measure, That freedom never known to city courts.
Here settle all of us, to one thought clinging, That we are free from danger and from harm, Until one day we heard the jingled ringing Of that dread, brazen bell, the fire alarm.
Ah! we had overlooked this lurking danger, How could this village fight the demon flame? Thus does the new-come citizen or stranger Begin to wail, and wonder why he came.
But hark! now comes to us a quicker ringing, A sharper clanging pierces the ears, And rushing pell-mell comes the engine, bringing Our brave and willing Wissahickon volunteers.
Like seasoned veterans, quick, alert and steady, Each to the chief responds, each knows his place; With axe, grenade or at the nozzle ready, To brave the flames and direct dangers face.
But lo! like magic dies the fire and smoulders; The blackened firemen greet the midnight rambler, And then the truth is grasped by all beholders, "We've both efficiency and courage, here at Ambler."
Dr R V Mattison, April 1917