No, this is not a piece on the latest survey showing that some 62% of Democratic college freshman would not room with a Republican room mate compared to some 70% of Republican kids who said it would make no difference. (This is an obvious indication that Democrats fear a conversion to reality and don’t want to take the chance.) Rather I am writing about another day riding with our Fire Chief Jamie Kilburn. This day I was being schooled in fire station architecture located in the districts surrounding ours in response to the tremendous development in our region.
The afternoon started with a quick lunch at a local eatery before setting out for a station north of us. As luck would have it, we drove up on a very fresh accident at a terrible intersection of two state routes. It was a two car, single fatality accident and we were there within minutes of the event. Those old familiar reflexes were awakened and I immediately hopped out of the Chief’s vehicle, evaluating scene safety as I hurried to the aid of one victim, thrown clear of his vehicle. The Chief was grabbing his medical bag, a matter of instinct for him. A quick check of the victims established massive, instantly fatal injuries to one driver and probable moderate injuries to the other. In a flash, my senses were heightened to a level not felt since my days in uniform, and a logical sequence of events was already in place mentally. Some things you will never forget to do in these circumstances.
After clearing the scene we headed north and I was able to tour two newer fire stations in the areas we had targeted. They both reflected ingenuity and efficiency, concepts that are essential in rural fire services. I was not disappointed and was able to glean much information both from the inspection and the fire fighters who assisted us. I continue to be very impressed with the folks who provide this critical service to the people within their districts. In one station, an old fashioned set of working car top red lights had been rigged up as a light fixture over the bar in the kitchen.This feature is a sure hit with children as they visit the station. Every time I am around these folks I come away stunned by the degree of commitment necessary to assume these roles in our society. Even more stunning is that many of these folks are volunteers, although that demographic is changing as political subdivisions recognize the necessity to maintain full time, on duty, emergency responders.
My final lesson of the day was centered around an older gentleman selling watermelons from the back of his pickup truck. He was parked in a service station parking lot and has been delivering melons for many years from this location. He was a true Missouri gentleman, replete with khaki pants and shirt while sporting a panama straw hat. He had stashed a couple of his melons in a cooler and retrieved one for the Fire Chief to take home to his boys. He imparted a lesson in Missouri logic as an additional service to us. He said it was hard to determine the quality of a melon until you cracked it open. He suggested to Jamie that his melons came with a guarantee of sorts. If, upon slicing, it was determined it was a poor melon, throw it over the fence into the neighbor’s yard and tell the neighbor it came from Walmart. Then said the old gentleman, return to his truck and he would replace it. This fellow would have made Will Rogers proud…..never underestimate the older man in khakis making change over produce. Not in Missouri anyway……
Have a good week!