Fire Talk – with Chief Brandbil: The Little Engine that Couldn’t

fire talkHey there Puddlegulchers, Fire Chief Red Brandbil here to bring you the big update from your local boys in the red helmets.

2020 is off and running, and everyone seems to be talking about what can be seen. Well, the only thing I see right now is a vision of Puddlegulch’s new fire engine!

I know there are some that might argue that we don’t need a new fire engine, but truth is that our old 1978 International just can’t quite make it up the hill anymore, and it hasn’t been the same since Greg Fiddlestone put it in the ditch along Gulch Drive when he swerved to avoid the possum family crossing the road (or so he claims). And so, I’ve been meeting with vendors to determine what we should get to replace the old girl, and I’ll tell you, it’s not as easy a decision as you might think!

For starters, a lot of the features that made our old engine so memorable and loved just aren’t available anymore. You can’t stand on the tailboard going down the road because it’s not considered “safe” anymore, so that means that you have to have a seat for everyone. But the way it’s set up, there’s no seat for our beloved possum mascot, Matches, cousin of Perry the Possum!

There are good things about the new engine, beyond its ability to start every time. It’ll be able to carry more water, which always helps, and the hoses are less likely to spring leaks. Plus, you never really get over that “new fire engine” smell.

The only real debate we’ve been having is what color it should be. Most fire brigades go with the classic red, though we’ve seen some that have been yellow, but Puddlegulch VFB has always had brown & grey engines to match our mascot.  Only that doesn’t seem to be an option anymore, and we just don’t know what we’re going to do, instead.

On a related note, we will be buying Matches a new fireproof suit.  As you know, poor Matches caught on fire at last week’s 65th annual Puddlegulch VFB BBQ fundraiser.  I personally like the smell of bbq possum, but that was more of a tragedy than a meal.  We are still looking for volunteers to be the new Matches.  In the mean time, since Greg is suspended from driving the truck, he has some time to try and jerry-rig a rumble seat for the future new engine so Matches can continue to ride along!

Fire Talk – with Chief Brandbil

fire talkThe boys of the Puddlegulch Volunteer Fire Brigade responded on the evening of December 9 to the home of Marietta Marson, widow of the late Henry Marson for report of a fire in the living room. Upon arrival, a fire was indeed found! The source of the blaze was found to be the newly purchased Christmas tree from the Marlo’s MegaMart in Taylorfield which Widow Marson had set up the day before. Gregory Fiddlestone and Joe Whistler put aside their differences over their much talked about collision at Possum Hollow and Main long enough to extinguish the blaze. 

“I always wanted that Norman Rockwell feel to the house at Christmas time,” said Widow Marson. “And to me, that means having a picturesque tree next to a blazing hearth. But Henry never wanted that with a live tree because he thought it would be a fire hazard; we always had to put the tree out in the barn and spend Christmas morning shivering in our wraps with the goats and Henry’s ‘pet’ possum Toothy. What with Henry gone now, I reckoned I could get one of those fake trees from Marlo’s that’s easy to assemble and be able to put it where I’ve always wanted it.”

But an artificial tree is still subject to the perils of fire, Puddlegulchians. It doesn’t matter what kind of tree you put up or how easy it is to assemble, if it’s too close to the fire, it’s going to go up along with your Norman Rockwell dreams.  It’s just a matter of how long it takes. Best to keep your tree away from any heat source, and if it’s a real tree, keep it watered.

I salute Henry Marson for his extraordinary dedication to fire safety.  Would that we all celebrated Christmas in our barns, much like Joseph and Mary did.

In the immortal words of local celebrity author, Chuck Hassler, in his thrilling debut novel Colt Hardcastle & The Persimmon Hill Posse, “Fire takes no friend and respects no tree.”

Fire Chief Red