During the 1979 flood (not 1997) I had a surreal Jim Cummins moment in Grand Forks. I was doing the local morning news "cut-in’s" then during the Today show when WDAZ was still an NBC affiliate. I would get to work shortly after 6 am when only an engineer and myself were "on duty."
On this particular morning I arrived at that ungodly hour only to find Jim Cummins, unannounced, sitting at my desk–smoking a cigar! I still don’t know how he got in the building.
Later, worried about high water, his female producer was determined to go next door to the National Guard armory "to borrow a truck." Not only did she talk her way into the use of said truck, but also a National Guard driver.
I learned that day network correspondents can be as goofy and as much fun as the rest of us. But also I learned that Jim Cummins was as professional and as cool under pressure as anyone I’ve ever met since.