Fighting Wild Fires

“Barber, if they don’t find us… you have my permission to eat me, if I go first.”

Over 15 grass fires were started by a line of storms (lots of lightning, not much rain) around the ranch on Saturday.  Newt isn’t much of a firefighter, but the fire was in the neighbor’s and he went to help.  Barber picked up Newt on his way by, in a faded baby-blue 1970ish Ford pickup. 

(Side note: Barber, not his real name, was given after he lost a bet as a freshman in high school.  Barber shaved his straight, blond hair and looked like a cue ball.  And then his hair grew back- full and red and curly.  Hence, Barber.)

“Call me when you get to the fire,” I said, while thinking, “so I know where to find your ashes.”  I received two calls.

Telephone Call #1:  “CChhhhh (static).  I’m on Ber’s phone.  We’ve at John’s where the underpass CHHHHhhh the corrals.  Do CHHhh know where I’m talking about?”

“The fire’s not bad?” I said.  Wheew, good.  More static.  “CChhh, we just putting out some small fires CHHHhh sprayer.  Actually, right now Barber’s spraying our radiator.  The pickup’s overheating,” Newt said.  (Side note: If you have ever owned a ‘70’s Ford pickup, you understand.  This happens…. a lot.)

Telephone Call #2:  “I’m not sure I’m going to make it home tonight.”  Great- it was 10:30 pm!  Did the fire start back up? 

Newt: “No…. our tire fell off….”  (Side note: If you have ever owned a ‘70’s Ford pickup, you understand.)  We’re waiting for John to come find us and pick us up.”  And then the phone lost what was left of the weak signal.

Much later that night (finding a broke down pickup in 600 acre pasture at night is hard to do), Newt and Barber were lamenting the fact they only had water packed in the cooler and the sandwiches passed out on the highway were wearing thin.  Hungry, yes, the stomachs were growling.

“Barber, if they don’t find us… you have my permission to eat me, if I go first,” said Newt.

Categories: Ranching in the Sandhills | Leave a comment

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