One forest fire is more than enough
Many thanks to those who have expressed concern about Colorado’s terrible forest fires and their possible proximity to Wonder Wife, to Bandit (our adorable Old English Sheepdog) and to this observer. With one exception, we have been spared thus far.
We (actually, Wonder Wife) experienced a forest fire episode on May 11th of this year. Let me set the scene. On May 11th, I am in Lower Manhattan attending the wedding of the daughter of the couple I consider the best friends I ever had while serving in the U.S. Army. Just prior to that, I met with my editor at USA Today in the sparkling new, almost all-glass headquarters at Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. Right after that, I spent three days in Frederick, Maryland attending a series of meetings at the world’s largest aviation organization – the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association -- for which I have served as a regional representative for over 15 years.
Needless to say, by the time the Amtrak Metro Liner delivered me to New York City’s Pennsylvania Station, I was both tired and excited. After a brief tour of Ground Zero and some silent prayers for the victims and the families of those who died there, a taxi delivered me to the site of the wedding where I changed from travel clothes to tuxedo.
This trip was moving with Rolex ™ precision. What could go wrong? Well, nothing at the wedding which was absolutely spectacular. I did note that there must be a food shortage and a jewelry glut within certain circles in New York City. Rarely have I seen so many attractively thin women wearing so many of the products of the Debeers Consortium.
During one of the many conversations I had with these dazzling women, one of them opined that since Wonder Wife and I live in a ski resort community that we must belong to any number of private clubs.
Even though Wonder Wife and I sometimes write fiction, I normally stick to the truth; however, I was somewhat nonplussed by this lovely member of New York society. So, I resorted to a small deception. Okay, a lie.
Stuck for an answer, I blurted out: “Sam’s Club” to which I do not currently belong but plan to join because they have a really neat two-camera security device after which I am lusting. In fact, I will be joining Sam’s Club in Denver this week.
Evidently, she had never heard of Sam’s Club and, lacking any data, I could tell from reading her eyes that she concluded that this Sam’s Club must be very exclusive and I could also discern that my social status had just been elevated. Let me repeat: I am going to join Sam’s Club this week. Okay?
Oh yes, the fire. Back at our mountain home in Colorado, just before the wedding vows were being exchanged and unknown to me, Wonder Wife was being ordered to evacuate. All she had time to do was grab some food for Bandit, our box of important papers, put Bandit in the car and flee the fire.
Meanwhile, I am rubbing elbows with the CEOs of some of America’s largest corporations, with the mother of the bride who is a Sandra Bullock look-alike, with the 1958 Heisman Trophy-winning father of the bride and even with the Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy.
Once the vows were exchanged and the Champagne began to flow, I went to the hallway to call Wonder Wife on the cell phone and tell her all about the beautiful wedding. But she had more exciting news that I did.
Still coughing due to the smoke, Wonder Wife explained that she and Bandit had just been allowed back in the house because four inches of new snow had miraculously put out the fire. Yes, at 8,400 feet above sea level, a snow on May 11th is not all that unusual.
So, to all who have expressed concern for our safety, we thank you; however, we hope that we have already had our share of forest fires.
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn – a novel about a terrorist attack on the water facilities in Colorado’s high country.
©2002. William Hamilton.