I decided to take a note from the Christmas Carole and do a three-part series which I will be posting over the next few weeks. I will be covering my Seasons Past, Seasons Present and Seasons Future. I am pretty sure by the story line and the titles you can figure out what each one will be about. Well for the most part.
Let me take you back to the first season I ever experienced. It was 2008 and my husband (then my boyfriend) was starting off with the Forest Service. I was nervous because this was something that I wasn’t sure I was equipped for. We had this talk before he ever joined that nearly ended us because I didn’t think I could handle being with a firefighter. But decided to stick it out and see what happened. We had been dating a little over a year. We talked about the different avenues of Forestry and agreed he wouldn’t ever join the Hotshots or any other extreme branch. I wasn’t ready for it and there was this joke about it being girlfriend suicide because you wont ever see each other. So, with that he began on a Forest Service Engine.
During this time I was at the end of my first year of college. I was also working as a sub mail carrier delivering mail. I will never forget the day that changed it all. I had a person on the mail route who was disabled so his mail box was down his driveway. As I pulled down that driveway I noticed this customer lying on the ground in their driveway. I of course jumped out calling out his name and asking if he was okay. As I got closer it hit me like a brick wall. The smell of death. I then began to notice all the other things I initially didn’t. There were flies and body fluids. I ran to the neighbor’s house and called 911. I was a mess of emotions and was processing everything still. I was in the middle of the route and had to finish it. I couldn’t wait to get home and just cry over this man.
On that same day there was a meeting about what would be happening to my husbands engine. He had only been working a month on the engine and some things had happened that was causing the firefighters of that engine to be possibly sent elsewhere. Josh had found out what took place on the mail route and came straight over after work and tried to help me feel better. In an effort to get my mind off of what happened to me I asked him about his meeting and how it went. I wish I would have waited. He told me that the engine was being shut down and he had a choice of going to the Hotshots or no job at all. The obvious happened. He was going to the Hotshots aka girlfriend suicide. I started crying all over again. It was to date one of the hardest days I have had.
The season was set up to be just as crazy. Back then there wasn’t Facetime or Iphones. We had razor flip phones. There would be times when he was the only one to have cellphone service so it became the crew payphone. This made our conversations short. But we were lucky to have those times. Because there were other times when I didn’t hear from him for weeks not knowing where he was or if he was safe. I remember one night he called me after not hearing from him for two weeks. He said he was going home for the night but would have to go back in the morning. I was about an hour and a half away and drove to see him. There were other times when he would tell me stories about waking up to his sleeping bag having ice, or ants being all over them. So much happened during this season. I began learning how to research what fires were happening and started to keep track. In an effort to feel like a part of what he was doing I printed out stats of every fire he went on. I organized them by date and put them into a binder. At the end of the season I gave him the binder full of all of these fires he went on. This first season you could say for me was baptism by fire. I knew he loved every minute of it and found something that fed his passion. After this season I knew I was in this for the long haul.
We ended up talking about our future a little bit and where we saw his career going. It was a very hard decision, but one we finally agreed on. This choice we made would be the best fit for us. He would then begin his pursuit of a Cal Fire career.