Monday, January 07, 2008

Ralph On Fire - Shower Tents

I saw it coming and ducked. It barely missed my head. Not everyone was as lucky. I heard the thud followed by the words, “Ah, crap!” It was happening again. . .

Our fire crew sat in the back of a military truck returning to camp, another long day on the fire line had ended. The dirt road we were on was heavily rutted and the driver was going just fast enough we were being bounced around. To make matters worse, dust from the military truck ahead of us was starting to cling to our sweaty bodies. Not that it mattered; we were filthy and had been for several days.

Pulling into fire camp, one of the crewmembers let out a yell followed by the words “We got a shower tent!” Hopping out of the truck everyone was smiling and staring at the tent setting majestically out in the field. Forest fires have a way of bringing you back to the basic elements of life – food and water. On any given fire if you had a good caterer and a shower tent that was all you could hope for.

I had to go to a debriefing so Alan went to see what hours the shower tent was available. Shower tents had a schedule. Certain hours were set aside for women, certain hours for men, not that they were always followed.

When I returned, Alan was waiting with a shaving kit, towel, and a semi clean change of clothes. On a fire like this one, semi clean clothes were all you could hope for. I grabbed my gear and we headed off to be clean for the first time in days.

Shower tents were functional not stylish. They were army tents with PCV pipe running overhead fitted with make shift showerheads. The floor consisted of wooden pallets, which after the first day always sank into the mud. These tents could hold thirty or so people at any one time. Modesty has no place in fire camp.

Entering the tent, we heard whooping and hollering, everybody was happy to finally be clean. I found an open showerhead and got under it. Even lukewarm, the water felt great. I was washing my hair (yeah, I had hair back then) when it started. I sped up my shower thinking I might be able to avoid it, but that was not to be.

It narrowly missed me. Then there was the distinct thud followed by the words, “Ah crap!” Turning around I saw it was a direct hit. He stood there with a freshly moistened cow pie clinging to his chest. For those not familiar with cow pies, they are irregular shaped objects four inches to over twelve inches in size. Colors ranged from a dull green to a dingy brown depending on how long they aged. They are commonly referred to as cow turds.

Alan saw the same thing. Acting in self-defense, Alan flicked a cow pie back across the tent with his foot. A flurry of pies started crisscrossing the tent. Another fire - another cow pie battle.

Finally, I heard Alan say, “I’ve had enough of this crap.” Yeah, he was right, time to rinse off and go.

14 Comments:

Blogger Aravis said...

Boys will be boys. *G*

7:14 PM  
Blogger 1 plus twins said...

ha ha your description of cow pies cracked me up but then disturbed me that you actually have looked at them long enough to know the diameter and change of colors!! ha ha

8:21 PM  
Blogger 1 plus twins said...

oh by the way the middle age comment was so not funny!! i will be in the corner for the next week crying. ha ha

8:31 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Haha! I learn somethng every time I read your blog! I love this one.

I have a picture of a fairly large cow pie here
http://jimmiehov.blogspot.com/2006/07/two-kinds-of-pie-guess-their-flavors.html
That was back in July 16, 2006.

I have a larger one saved in the garage. Whenever Mrs. Jim finds it she tries to throw it away.
We've never tossed them at each other here.
Would you like my definition of 'horse play?'
..

9:01 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

I was going to leave a comment but that Jim beat me to it.
Good deal Ralph. This one didn't have 'depth' the last fire story had.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Janell said...

I remember the shower tent from my Nat'l Gaurd days - but the Army didn't supply us with cowpies. Darn. That coulda been fun.

10:03 AM  
Blogger bobbie said...

Cow pies, huh? Well, I can't beat that. I enjoy your blog so much, Ralph. Love the Sunday funnies too. Thanks for your comment on my small effort today. As you see, I have you listed among my favorites.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Cow Pies. What ever happened to good old fashion food fights. Well I guess you have to make due with whatever is laying around. Was never close to a cow pie for an accurate description and I'll try to remember yours. You never know when this bit of information may be useful.
Good post and thank you for the laugh. Lisa

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Tee said...

LOL. Yuck!

6:44 PM  
Blogger Granny Annie said...

Do boys EVER stop being gross? Just mention any bodily functions and the fellows howl with laughter.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

BTW, our TV weather man (one of many, six English stations and four Spanish ones do the weather here) is in Steamboat Springs this week for skiing.
He says you are having some MORE snow. It sure is good that you have that up there for us Texans. [I know you like us to leave after our money is gone and we have played enough. We know our place when in Rome! At least we do, no Ugly Texan Americans for the Jim's. :-)]
..

7:24 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

At least when the cow pies started being thrown you all were in the best possible place to deal with the mess.
I just cracked myself up. I initially wrote "best pissible place" above, then corrected my error.
I think pissisble worked pretty well given this post's potty humor.
:-)
Very fun post, Ralph!!

12:55 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Great story Ralph!! I think it would be worth fighting if someone tossed a cow pile onto a person taking a shower. You called them cow pies or cow turds. We always called them cow piles, because they do leave a "pile!" Like they say, we should be thankful cows can't fly!!

The "Oh crap," comment sums it up!! LOL Good memories there Ralph!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Great story, Ralph! Sounds like fun!

9:34 PM  

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