Part I Pre-reading Task
Listen to the recording1 two or three times and then think over the following questions:
1. How did the father understand courage at first?
2. What did courage mean to the father after the fire was put out?
3. The poet says that firemen fight a war they can never win. What does he mean?
4. How does courage as described in the poem relate to the theme of the unit — emergency?
The following words in the recording may be new to you:
At first it seemed as if it might just be an old box or rags ahead of the train. But then they realized just what it was.
"KIDS ON THE TRACK!"
Monday, May 1, 1989 was a pleasant morning in Ramsey, N.J. Kate Pritchard bent5 over her car trunk and struggled with the bags of groceries she'd just brought home. She heard the distant cry of a locomotive horn. The trains of Conrail passed less than 300 feet from the Pritchards' house. No fence separated their backyard from the track — only a thick row of trees. But, her sons, 3(1/2)-year-old Todd and 18-month-old Scott, were nearby, playing on the driveway.
"Stay right there," Kate said, "while Mommy puts the groceries away. Then we'll go inside and have lunch, okay?"
"Okay!" said T