A moment of respite for Red on a cold morning in New Mexico, 1964.
When the well is on fire, water is a well control hands best friend. It keeps you cool and enables you to to get in close and get things done. When its winter and the air temperature is cold, and you are in cotton coveralls soaking wet, you feel as though you are getting seared on one side, like a roasted chicken, the other half of you is frozen like that chicken just came out of the garage freezer.
When the fire is out the real work starts and water is still important. It can knock down static electricity, sparks that might occur when dragging rig parts away and cools hot iron that could otherwise cause re-ignition. You gotta have it. Once you get the blowout flow going straight up things are going your way. You have the well on your hip, as some say. But a well blowing straight up sucks all the surrounding air up with it and that air is cold, your wet, and your freezing your Texas ass plum off.
Deep in thought, above, Red may be contemplating how to get in close and do something needing to be done, without getting soaking wet. Or he is just thinking six steps ahead how he will do what he did best.
Photo Courtesy Dolph Briscoe Library, University of Texas, Austin