So the other day I was talking to this guy and he said it must be pretty exciting to cover these fires and I said, with no great effect, “Nah, not so much.”
I didn’t elaborate much, but wildfires don’t always harbor great memories for me.
Let me explain.
My kids are getting older now and the two girls both have long-term boyfriends and one is engaged and while no wedding date has been set, they’re expected to get married at some point, I suppose.
Being the attentive father that I am, this can only mean one thing: That I will be the last one to know when they do announce a date.
I haven’t been to a lot of weddings in my life, which is a good thing, because the older I get, the crabbier I get and who wants a crabby old man at their wedding, even if he is your father?
I can see it now, my daughter’s friends, who I haven’t met, give me the bad eye at the reception as I’m slouched over the bar.
“Who’s that crabby old SOB?”
“It’s my old man,” my daughter would grumble.
“Oh my, ”the friends would say. “We almost had him removed.”
Then I’d look up, smile and wave, with my gap-toothed crabby grin.
The last memorable wedding I was at was up the North Fork about 15 years or so ago.
I had been invited to this older guy’s wedding, who thought it would be cool if I took photos of him getting married to a woman with the Wedge Fire burning in the background.
The Wedge Fire was a massive blaze up the North Fork that started in Wedge Canyon in the Whitefish Range and burned way the heck up to the head of Kintla Lake and beyond.
Now there was some sort of miscommunication between me and this guy, because I thought I was taking pics of his wedding on my day off to make a few extra bucks.
He thought, I can only assume, that I was working as a card-carrying journalist who thought it would be cool to shoot a rich couple’s wedding with an atomic-bomb looking wildfire burning behind them as they said their nuptials
Whatever the case, the wedding went off and he did kiss the bride and there was a big old fire behind them when they kissed.
The pictures turned out fine and gave the guy a bunch of them.
I’m pretty sure I shot the wedding on film, developed the film, and then scanned in all the photos. A good three or four hours of work, on top of driving to his house and suffering through a wedding where I knew absolutely no one and didn’t even have the luxury of slouching over a bar.
For this, I got a nice note from the guy and (and I am not making this up) a hunk of smoked salmon.
And this is why I kinda, sorta, hate wildfires. They’re not that exciting.
Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.