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Volunteer rural fire fighters

Folks, I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but I feel obligated to inform you that winter is coming. The summer solstice has come and gone. The days are inevitably getting shorter. So, don’t forget where your longjohns are stored.

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Members of volunteer rural fire departments are mostly overlooked and under appreciated by the general public — at least until the moment they are needed. Then, those rural fire fighters are always quick to drop anything they’re doing and rush to the rescue of rural lives, livestock, property and pastures.



Although they receive a modicum of training and their equipment is generally adequate, they are not paid, professional fire fighters. Yet, they never hesitate to do what is necessary to douse the fires they are called to.

Here in the Flint Hills, where we routinely burn in the spring all of last year’s native grasses to stimulate the regrowth of new grass and reduce invasive plant species, rural fire fighters know they’ll get called out several times per season responding to run-away, out-of-control wild fires. All that said, there are still humorous things that happen with volunteer rural fire fighters.



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One of my all-time favorites is when a local rural fire department got a too-late call about a burning wooden barn full of hay. When they arrived, all the rural fire fighters could do is keep the fire from spreading. When the barn and contents had burned to the ground, one fire fighter turned to the other and wryly commented, “Well, we managed to save the foundation.”

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Another rural fire department story that I recall from Iowa is this one took place a century ago in the early days of both fire trucks and rural fire departments. The small Iowa town had a muddy little unnamed creek on the outskirts. The local volunteer fire department had a Model T Ford fire truck.

One day the rural fire fighters responded to a call about a brooder house on fire on the other side of the creek. There wuz no bridge back then and the Model T fire truck got stuck in the mud trying to cross the creek.

Just when saving the brooder house looked impossible, the quick-thinking owner hitched his horse team to the skids under the brooder house and dragged it down to the creek, where the fire fighters quickly got the pumps going and doused the flames.

Afterwards, the team pulled the Model T out of the mud and then pulled the somewhat charred brooder house back to the farmstead. Locals swear that from that day to this the creek has been known as Chicken Creek.

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Rural fire departments have rookies, too. One rural department had a new female rookie when it responded to the crash of a pickup truck.

Seeing his chance to have a little fun with the newby on the crew, as they were cleaning up the crash scene the senior crew member told the rookie to pick up all the big pieces from the crash and give them to the tow truck driver because the insurance company will tell the body shop to glue them back onto the pickup when they fixed it. Yep, the rookie believed every word — that day — but not many words since that first time.

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At another rural house fire scene, the fire wuz in the basement but the hot fire kept the fire fighters from going down the stairs. So, they looked for, and found, a small window. A senior member of the crew asked on the radio comms for a volunteer to break the window and crawl through it into the basement. An eager young member answered on his radio and volunteered, but when he saw the size of the tiny window, he said, “I’ll need some butter and a diet soda to squeeze my fat butt through that window.” After the fire wuz out, the county dispatcher gave the crew a little talk on radio communications etiquette.

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I didn’t know such a thing existed on the internet, but there is such a website entitled a “Legislator Misconduct Database.”

Out of curiosity, I opened the site and found 419 instances of misconduct and alleged misconduct by members of Congress from 1789 to the present. Incidents include campaign and election, sexual harassment and abuse, ethics violations, bribery, corruption, etc.

The consequences of all those questionable activities are pled/convicted in court, reprimand, settlement, censure, resignation, exclusion and expulsion.

The long list of current members includes both Republicans and Democrats. My question is: Why do these folks keep getting re-elected?

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Words of wisdom for the week after reading the federal government’s new “Plan” for curbing gun violence: “Firearms dealers should be able to sell guns by mail without seeing the buyer or verifying a signature — just like mail-in voting.”

Also, “only in the U.S. can you see kids wearing $150 sneakers, drinking a $5 cup of coffee, while texting on a $1,000 cell phone to complain that he/she is oppressed and that capitalism has failed.”

Have a good ‘un.


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Milo Yield

No need to cry over spilled red wine

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Nuthin’ exciting or interesting has happened to me this week. So, I have to resort to telling a true “it happened to me recently” story. This story proves that an innocent action can have not-so-innocent…



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