Family & Fire

20180106_101801Seriously, this is about as un-goofy of a picture of my boys that I can get.  I know it may seem a little late to post a Christmas story, but when part of your Christmas was late, it just kind of works out that way.

My oldest boy has gone through a few name changes on his pathway to adulthood.  At first he was “the boy” because he was 1) a boy, and 2) the only child.  Then along came his younger brother.

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The Oldest Boy bragging about being at the beach on Christmas Day.  He still had to be in uniform, though.

At this point “the boy” was no longer descriptive enough and so my oldest became “big boy”.  Then puberty hit.  And another brother.  He moved on to being called either “biggest boy” or “hairy teen”.  He is approaching 20 so “hairy teen” won’t work anymore, either.

Sometimes it just feels this way.  We live in the flight path of our local airport and saw too many of these flying out this summer.

This biggest boy, a.k.a. JD, is also now on his own.  He is working full time and his job partly entails working at the fire camps throughout California during the fire season.  It now seems that the word “season” may no longer work, either.  Sadly, the intense periods of prolonged drought in California have left us vulnerable to fires for a longer part of the year.

smoke map
This NASA image shows the smoke from the Thomas Fire.  At one point the smoke was entering the Central Valley where we live creating unhealthy air for several weeks.

As you may know, this winter saw a unique situation unfold in the form of the Thomas Fire in Southern California.  Not only was it unusual in it’s timing, starting at the beginning of December, but also in it’s size.  It is now the largest recorded wildfire in California’s history.  As of the date I’m writing this, January 12th, it is still not completely contained.

This is a screen shot of the fire perimeter map.  The Old Man has family all over this area.  Thankfully, all are well.

So, remember those fire camps I mentioned my son works at?  Well, about a week before Christmas he got the call to go.  Usually they are at a site for two weeks at a time, so not only was he not with us when we had Christmas, New Year’s was past, too.

burn map
This image from NASA gives a view of how close this fire came to densely populated areas, and how much damage was done.

The reality that children grow up and lead their own lives is inescapable.  It just happens.  While he was at the fire camp, they had a Christmas meal and a visit with Santa.  He got to open his gifts when he was home, and we finally got to put on our Santa hats and take a picture together.  We were blessed, fully recognizing not everyone had that opportunity.  I hope your holidays went well, too.



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