George and I seem to see a lot of strange things when we are in a car. One of the most memorable events happened in July 2011. We were driving U.S. 52 from Indianapolis to Cincinnati. It was a beautiful night and we decided to get off the highway and take a leisurely drive. If you know anything about U.S. 52, it is dotted with small towns every few miles. Very small towns. Mostly farming communities. And none with a dedicated full-time fire department.
As we were driving in the middle of Nowhere (I have decided to call it Nowhere as to not offend anyone from the actual town in which this happened), George noticed a thick column of black smoke several miles ahead of us. Of course, being a firefighter, George got slightly excited and wanted to see what this was all about. And I have to admit, seeing that much black smoke peaked my curiosity. I knew there was something big on fire and I wanted to see what it was.
So we continued east towards the smoke speculating the entire way. As we got closer to our destination we assumed that we would see the smoke change from black to white as the fire department arrived and began to extinguish the fire. The black smoke continued to fill the sky and we could see that things were going from bad to worse. We found a country road that we thought would take us to the fire and made our turn. Jackpot. Less than a mile down the road we found the blaze. WE found the blaze. We were the only ones there. No fire department. No noisy neighbors. No one. Just us and the pigs. Yes, the pigs. Because what we found was a pig barn. On Fire.
We drove in for a closer look and I rolled down my window to snap a few photos. I was not remotely prepared for the blast of heat that hit my face. I can not possibly imagine what firefighters deal with on a regular basis, but if the heat is anything like what I felt, then there is no way they are paid enough money for what they do.
As I snapped a few pictures, George noticed the pigs off to the side along the fence. I didn’t think much about them as we hurried to make our way back to U.S. 52 for fear that when the emergency vehicles arrived, we would be trapped. We made our turn back on to U.S. 52 and immediately George noticed the vehicle coming up on our tail at a high rate of speed. “Here he comes” were George’s words. A young man sped past us in his car and we presumed (rightfully so) that he was a volunteer firefighter making his way to the firehouse. A few moments later the firetrucks sped past us and headed back towards the fire. As they passed we began commenting on the fact that they needn’t rush to the fire. It was completely out of control and roasting wieners and marshmallows was probably the best plan of attack.
As we approached the firehouse, we noticed the young man that had passed us a few moments earlier. Wearing shorts, a red t-shirt and boots. He bolted from his car and began running to the firehouse. His arms pumping feverishly and his legs running as fast as they could in boots. It was an odd run. One that looked awkward and not quite right. And at that moment I realized…this is what a fireman looks like running with a boner!! Oh now don’t go gasping and acting all prudish on me. It was hysterical. And if you give yourself a moment to get the visual, you will chuckle too.
So we continued on our journey towards Cincinnati. And of course the topic of conversation the entire drive home was the fire. It was the source of many jokes and a LOT of laughter. Mostly it was us trying to think of pig jokes.
All I could think of was a bunch of pigs standing around looking at the fire and one of them saying…”hey, has anyone seen Carl?” And another one answering…”no, but does anyone else smell ham?”