Some say the world will end with fire.

Others say with ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those that favor fire.

But if I had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate,

To say that for destruction ice,

Is also great and would suffice.

Robert Frost


"Good things come to those who wait, but, only the things LEFT by those who hustle." - Unknown (at least by me)

"Life is wonderful, without it you are dead." - Hy "Pete" Peterson - Park City and Kenecott Miner

"Don't worry about those people in your past---there is a reason they are not in your present." - Unknown

"Life's tough - it's even tougher if you're stupid." - John Wayne

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!" - Vince Lombardi

"If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re probably taking up too much space.” ~ Attributed to Jim Whittaker by Doug ‘Swani’ Swantner, Alaska Smokejumper and Air Attack Base Manager (Ret.)

About Me

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I am married and have seven children and twenty grandchildren. I retired January 1, 2010 after working 39+ years for the Forest Service...NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE HAS BEGUN!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


For this story to have any meaning you need a little background. I am about 5'7" and at the time this happened I probably weighed 145 pounds. The other guy in the story is about 6'2" and at the time probably weighed about 275 pounds.

For years this big guy and I had this little messing around thing going on where he would rough me up a little and I'd tell him "KEEP MESSING AROUND AND I'M GONNA HURT YOU---BAD." Then everyone associated with whatever group we were with would laugh--almost uncontrollably---because of the size difference.

I went over to assist with a wild fire that the adjoining district on a different forest was managing for resource benefit so it was a fire that you take action on where it gets outside of the parameters and let it burn where it is inside them. There were a couple of fingers that were outside and were being put out to get the fire back where they wanted it. We met on a ridge overlooking the fire with two Fire Management Officers (FMO), an Assistant Fire Management Officer (AFMO)[this big guy], the District Ranger for the area where the fire was and me (a District Ranger who was visiting another District Ranger's turf with a somewhat questionable invitation).

As soon as we got out of the rigs the roughing up---and keep it up and I'll hurt you started. It went on for a few minutes and I reached out and grabbed this guys right thumb and twisted it a little. There were two loud pops that everyone in the group heard and this big guy turned white as a ghost. I knew as soon as it happened that I had broken his thumb badly. I did---it was broken above the first joint in one place and just below the second joint in another. I was heart sick---I knew the break was serious and tried to stabilize it so it didn't get any worse with adhesive tape. Any way he worked through the rest of the shift supervising the suppression effort and went to the doctor that night after he got home. The doctor set the thumb and put a hand cast on then told him to be careful with the cast and not do any heavy work with that hand. The next afternoon we were all back on the ridge and there were some visitors from the RO there for the discussion.

He told everyone there not mess around with me 'cause I would hurt them real bad and then he held up his hand cast that was broken all to pieces from working and told them that I had done that to him the night before. Somewhere in that discussion his Ranger made the comment that she couldn't believe I had done that to him because she had always thought we were friends. (Which we are).

Anyway today he and his boss (one of the FMO's) stopped by the house to see me. I walked out to the vehicle to see who it was and he reached out of the passenger door and shook hands with me with a plastic hand. We laughed at that pretty hard. When he shook hands with my wife he shook with a really limp hand and said "Please don't break my thumb." He also told her that I had blessed him with "the ability to forecast any storm 24 hours before it arrived" due to the break. We all laughed but that was one really bad horse play accident that I wish I had never been associated with.

I am certainly glad that we have all remained good friends through all of that too.

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