A Cold Winter Indeed
The Noon Siren
contributed by John Mix a real life
Moscow, Idaho, they have one of the finest volunteer fire departments in the country. They annually hire students from the University of Idaho to be on-site in
the station house in return for room costs.
fire department also has one of the more sophisticated communications systems to connect with the regular fire crew (also volunteers) scattered around the city.
one of the traditions that wont go away is the sounding of the noon siren. Years ago, when I worked in Moscow, I was visiting the fire station, talking to the
chief when the noon siren blew. I looked at my watch and saw that it was a minute slow.
I asked, how do you set the time on your system that causes the siren to blow each noon time? He replied, We occasionally call the phone company and sychronize
the time that way.
couple of weeks later, I was visiting the General Manager of the phone company and again, it was at noontime and the siren blew. I asked the GM, How do you set
your clocks here at the phone company. He replied, We set them almost everyday by the fire siren.
It was autumn, and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their new chief if the winter
was going to be cold or mild. Since he was an Indian chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets, and when he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the weather was going to be.
Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that the winter was indeed going to
be cold and that the members of the village should collect wood to be prepared.
But also being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone
booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?"
"It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed," the meteorologist at the weather service responded.
So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared.
A week later he called the National Weather Service again. "Is it going to be a very cold winter?"
"Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter."
The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find.
Two weeks later he called the National Weather Service again. "Are you absolutely sure that the
winter is going to be very cold?"
"Absolutely," the man replied. "It's going to be one of the coldest winters ever.
"How can you be so sure?" the Chief asked.
The weatherman replied, "The Indians are collecting wood like crazy."
Which brings us to the story in the box at right.
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