"Only if I can drive it," said I. I've always loved learning to drive anything with an engine and wheels.
"OK. Hop up there. Get the bay door open."
Hop wasn't what I did - I climbed. Four huge steps up got me into the driver's seat, looking at a very different dashboard and controls. Ignition on the left, it was an automatic, but had only D, N, and R. Marv said that neutral was park.
With the bay door up, I eased the monster of a truck out of the fire station a whole 30 feet, the length of the truck, to park it in front. Marvin had a lot to show off, so my adventure didn't end there.
The brushed stainless steel and the size of the equipment itself was mind boggling. The truck came with new air tanks, new everything. The size of the fill hose itself was huge, as is needed to fill the 2,500 gallon tank.
"Oh man," I said, "anything with threads would goof me up." I should've kept my mouth shut because when Marv went to put that cover back on the fill spigot, he didn't do much better than I would lining those threads up.
"When we leave a scene to refill, we have a portable tank we can leave on site while the truck is gone," and Marv proceeded to flip up the latches on the long side of the truck. A huge, hinged door dropped down, and it took two firemen to unfold and set the canvas tank up.
That's Marv back there, facing me. The engineering, the sheer size and the incredible strength of this fire truck and all it's attachments will stick with me for a long time.
I now know more about what is behind fighting fire than I could ever have assumed, and believe me, TV doesn't come close to capturing what really goes on. The protective suits firemen wear are not only hot, but very heavy, and it takes a good deal of physical strength to maneuver while wearing one. Most of the equipment on the trucks take at least two men to use. Even the levers to release water took me two hands and a good leg brace.
I don't remember how much it cost for the tiny town of Higginson to buy this new truck, but after seeing it in action, it doesn't matter. It just isn't a consideration when it comes to saving lives.