Date: 5/8/2003 6:56:40 PM Pacific Standard Time
I left South Walton County and headed over to Panama City Beach, where I stayed at the fire station there. That evening they fixed a great supper of grilled chicken, rice, vegetables, and corn on the cob. The next day I headed out for Panama City.
Panama City has five fire stations in town, and I had contacted the Fire Chief a few days ago. He had already said I was welcome to stay, so I was heading for the main station in Panama City. When I arrived there, they showed me around. Chief Prater introduced me to Mary Lou who works in the office, and I really enjoyed visiting with her. I mentioned that I'd like to contact some of the schools and give talks the next day, and she got on the phone and made some calls for me. Almost immediately she had 3 different schools lined up for me to give talks at, and today I visited Bay High School, Rosenwald Middle School, and Jenks Middle School. The students seemed really interested in what I was saying, and they really had a lot of questions. I enjoy it when there's a lot of discussion going on about epilepsy. It was a pretty busy day, and Mary Lou was hauling me back and forth to these schools. She also called up a radio station for me to visit with, and a couple more fire stations on down the road. One of the fire stations she called for me to stay at is located right on Tyndall Air Force Base. The fire station there said sure, but first she'd have to get me cleared onto the base. That was not quite as easy, and we still don't have an answer yet. But she made several calls for me, and they know I'm coming -- but we're just not sure if they'll let me on or not. Hopefully it'll all work out.
A really funny incident happened last night. First of all there was a house on fire (that's not funny.) All the trucks from this station went out, and I was the only one here. I was upstairs sitting in a recliner and watching TV. After awhile, I heard a truck drive into the bay and park. I just figured it was them returning, and didn't think anything about it. Actually though, plenty of fire trucks had responded to the call, and because there were enough there, one of the trucks from Station 4 came here to cover Station 1 while everyone else was gone. When the 3 guys from Station 4 drove in, they saw my cart parked there in the bay and immediately became suspicious. They figured that when everyone left, someone else had moved in. Meanwhile, I was still upstairs when someone came up and entered into the room. I immediately knew I was in trouble because I didn't know who he was, and he didn't know who I was. I knew I had a lot of explaining to do.
So I told him my story and said that I really truly was suppose to be here that night, and he seemed pretty skeptical, but also interested. I went downstairs with him to meet the others, and when we got downstairs he exclaimed "Look what I found!" It was really kindof funny, because the other guys gave me this who-the-heck-is-that-and-what's-she-doing-here kind of a look, and I had to tell my story all over again. I showed them my map, and handed them a brochure, and after awhile they seemed pretty comfortable about it all. But there at first I was pretty nervous that they were going to send me out packing! It all worked out really well, and after everyone else returned they really got a kick out of my story. So the joke for today was that I almost got booted out of Station 1 by firefighters from Station 4! It was a close call, I'm tellin' ya.
Y'all have a great day and a fun weekend and a happy Mothers Day. KB
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