Totally in Control
By Jim Shubert
It’s a law of probability that the chances of being watched are directly proportional to the stupidity of your act. You trip and land in an unflattering position, quickly get up, and look around to see if someone saw. They did, and you feel like a klutz, an absolute embarrassment—which brings me to our monthly meeting at St. Maries City Boat Ramp of the Potlatch Corporation Graveyard Fire Department. In July 1988, our fleet of three fire engines was drafting water out of the St. Joe River and, as company fire chief, it was my turn to operate the Kenworth pumper fire engine.
It was four feet from the bank of the crystal-blue river. The bank dropped sharply another four feet to the shining surface. The pump control panel was on the river-side of the fire apparatus and things were going along just great—I was in total control of the operation. I had a good feeling, the pride of a man operating a powerful unit that pumps more than a thousand gallons of water per minute at nearly two hundred pounds of pressure through a deluge monitor or water cannon across the wide St. Joe River.