Fire & Rain #371 9/12/2017

“Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus, you’ve got to help me make a stand.
You’ve just got to see me through another day.” James Taylor – “Fire & Rain” 1970

The Drivel staff welcomes you to Drivel Over Coffee. A blog that rambles through this thing called life, stopping here and there for reflection, enlightenment, storytelling, and joke telling. In a caffeine induced coma from my favored French Roast coffee and quite possibly a chocolate chip cookie. All the while my brain reverberates with the best music in the world – The ‘60’s and early 70’s. Yep, Lost in The Sixties.

Fire
I have been following some of the west coast fires especially those in Oregon. My grandson and family live in Bend, Oregon so it is natural that I follow those fires. I did a little research and found that as of Sunday, September 10th, there are 67 active forest fires in the United States covering some 1,652,408 acres. Would you believe that in 2017 so far there have been 47,854 fires involving 8,081,639 acres? These stats are staggering to me. We don’t get much reporting on the news about these it seems which is a shame. The people affected with fire losses are hurting just as bad as those in the hurricane.

A photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire. Smoke at the scene was too thick to get any good shots, so he frantically called his home office to hire a plane. “It will be waiting for you at the airport!” he was assured by his editor. As soon as he got to the small, rural airport, sure enough, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” The pilot swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air. “Fly over the north side of the fire,” said the photographer, “and make three or four low level passes.” “Why?” asked the pilot. “Because I’m going to take pictures! I’m a photographer, and photographers take pictures!” said the photographer with great exasperation. After a long pause the pilot said, “You mean you’re not the instructor?”

One dark night outside a small town in Minnesota, a fire started inside the local chemical plant and in a blink of an eye it exploded into massive flames. The alarm went out to all the fire departments for miles around.

When the volunteer fire fighters appeared on the scene, the chemical company president rushed to the fire chief and said, “All our secret formulas are in the vault in the center of the plant. They must be saved. I will give $50,000 to the fire department that brings them out intact.” But the roaring flames held the firefighters off. Soon more fire departments had to be called in as the situation became desperate.

As the firemen arrived, the president shouted out that the offer was now $100,000 to the fire department who could bring out the company’s secret files.

From the distance, a lone siren was heard as another fire truck came into sight. It was the nearby Norwegian rural township volunteer fire company, composed mainly of Norwegians over the age of 65. To everyone’s amazement, that little run-down fire engine roared right past all the newer sleek engines that were parked outside the plant. Without even slowing down it drove straight into the middle of the inferno. Outside, the other firemen watched as the Norwegian old timers jumped off right in the middle of the fire fought it back on all sides. It was a performance and effort never seen before. Within a short time, the Norse old timers had extinguished the fire and had saved the secret formulas.

The grateful chemical company president announced that for such a superhuman feat he was upping the reward to $200,000, and walked over to personally thank each of the brave fire fighters. The local TV news reporter rushed in to capture the event on film, asking their chief, “What are you going to do with all that money?” “Vell,” said Ole Oleson, the 70-year-old fire chief, “Da first ting ve gonna do is fix da brakes on dat focking truck!”

Rain
We have certainly experienced the wrath of Mother Nature this summer. We not only have large pieces of the western states on fire but a good share of our southern coast states have been ravaged by hurricanes. Anyone familiar with the 2008 flood in Cedar Rapids, know just how draining these events are to recover from. The mucking out of the mud, sludge, sewage polluted water, removing of carpet, dry wall, furniture and personal possession. It is an emotional journey to recover not to mention the cost and loss a lifetime of mementos. We feel for all the millions affected by these events.

A hurricane blew across the Caribbean. It didn’t take long for the expensive yacht to be swamped by high waves, sinking without a trace. There were two survivors: the boat’s owner, Dr. Smythe and the steward, Marcus who managed to swim to the closest island. After reaching the deserted strip of land, the steward was crying and very upset that they would never be found. Dr. Smythe on the other hand was quite calm, relaxing against a tree. “Dr. Smythe, how can you be so calm?” cried Marcus. “We’re going to die on this lonely island. We’ll never be discovered here.” “Sit down and listen to what I have to say, Marcus.” began the confident Dr. Smythe. “Five years ago, I gave the United Way $500,000 and another $500,000 to my church. I donated the same amounts four years ago. And, three years ago, I did very well in the stock market, so I contributed $750,000 to each. Last year, business was good, so the two charities each got a million dollars.” stated Dr. Smythe. “So what?” shouted Marcus. “Well, it’s time for their annual fundraising drives, and I know they’re going to find me!” smiled Dr. Smythe.

A blonde calls this rural fire department all excited. She says, “Come quick my barns on fire, my barns on fire.” The dispatcher says, “Calm down now just tell us how to get there.” She says, “Oh, don’t you have that big red truck anymore?”

…. Well my friends, it has been my honor to bring a chuckle or two into your day. If I can make at least one-person smile, laugh till they leak, or maybe spit out a drink, then my day was not wasted. Until we meet again -TA!”

Drivel Over Coffee is available on the internet at www.drivelovercoffee.com or www.dabailey.com. It can also be found on Facebook (search “drivel over coffee”). If you prefer to receive it via email, email to doycebailey@yahoo.com.