Have you ever stumbled across a photograph and thought to yourself, “There’s a story here”?
Take a look at this one.
It’s the early 1980s here, possibly 1981. I know this because the little rescue unit in the background was fairly new back then. It’s a couple of years before I joined the company, but my dad is a member – that’s him, second from the right. That isn’t the firehouse – it may be one of the local hospitals, which used to have events fairly often that we’d show up to and give presentations, or it may not.
Clearly we’re not there on any sort of emergency call. Everyone is decked out in their parade whites, and nobody seems to be in any kind of hurry. I’m not sure who the police officer is there on the left, but I do know that the guy next to him would eventually go on to become chief of the company.
It’s not the dress uniforms or the cop that make this photo so odd, though. Did you catch the guy who stands out a bit? It’s subtle, but I’ll give you a hint. That tall guy in the middle? That’s not regulation turn-out gear.
Not that the helmet wouldn’t do in a pinch, mind you. The cape, though, that would be a problem.
I have no idea why several members of our fire company are posing with Darth Vader on an otherwise unremarkable summer day. I called my dad and he agreed with me – he has no idea either.
It’s a mystery.
A few photos later in the scanning process, I found another one from the same day, this one without the Evil Space Overlord.
Again, my dad is on the far right, but in front you can see some of the equipment that was taken off the rescue unit and spread out for display. The tall scissors-like thing on the right is the Jaws of Life, which was fairly new to us then. I remember being trained on those a couple of years later – they open, they shut, and that’s about what they do. The magic is how you position them.
I’ll bet Darth Vader didn’t need any Jaws – he could just hold up his hand just so, announce that he found the crumpled car’s lack of accessibility disturbing, and slowly open it up with a gesture. So I suppose he’d be handy on an accident scene that way. It would be a great second career if the whole Evil Space Overlord thing didn’t work out for him.
Maybe we were recruiting him.