It’s been a hot minute since I was called on to cover a story, photographically or otherwise.
Mostly, I handle the advertising and write this deep well of wisdom every week.
Last Thursday, though, it was reported that some cotton was on fire north of town and I was “It” as they say in the newspaper business, as well as a proper game of tag.
One of the Leader’s real photographers, Kevin, arrived as I was heading out so he hopped in the car with me and we followed the fire trucks out to the middle of a field I doubt would register on GPS.
We arrived at a cotton field that was already half-stripped, Kevin in cargo shorts because it was 89 degrees (on November 2nd), and I was in jeans because it is No Shave November and I’ve been in training.
I was willing to walk out a ways because it wasn’t my first rodeo in a cotton patch, and my legs were protected. But one of Iowa Park’s fire trucks gave me a ride to where the cotton was burning and even more firefighters were on hand continuing to spray it to keep it from spreading to the unstripped cotton.
As I write this, I have no idea if any of those pictures are even good enough to make it into the paper. That won’t happen until Tuesday or Wednesday when the photo review takes place each week.
The cotton farmer and friend Kenneth McAllister told me the cotton first caught fire in the header of the stripper when a rock caused a spark. They were unaware of the fire until it was dumped into the boll buggy and stoked by a strong north wind. They quickly dumped the load into an already stripped part of the field so there was minimal damage to the equipment, and besides the one load didn’t lose any more cotton.
In the midst of all of this, it’s like a town reunion in the middle of a field, in the middle of nowhere – chatting up local farmers and firemen while they all stand in their natural habitat.
When it was time, Kenneth had another of his hands kindly drive me back to the road.
I want to remind people to thank a volunteer fireman when you get the chance. These guys were fully decked out in head-to-toe-fire gear and it was hot outside even without a huge mound of cotton ablaze. Also, they gave me a ride on the back of the truck and I felt like I was in a homecoming parade for a minute.
Also, if you’re a fan of underwear, towels and sheets (and food!) like myself, thank a farmer. In fact, if you see Ken out and about this week buy the good man lunch. He’s had a rough week.
Even if you aren’t from around Iowa Park, this is an invitation to do something good for your favorite farmer and volunteer firefighters.