Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Fire Without......

Saturday we had a wedding in Corralitos....up Eureka Canyon on top of the mountain.

This is the area that had burned viciously a couple of weeks ago after an illegal burn.....the Summit Fire. Meanwhile, some knucklehead pulled off the road outside Freedom earlier in the week to pee, and watched his catalytic converter set the dry weeds on fire......and burn down 20 houses, kill a dozen horses, a dozen lamas......and who knows how many kitties and dogs.

The fire was still burning as we drove north to do the wedding. Highway One was closed, but mercifully closed at our exit. We rolled on to Corralitos and on up to Eureka Canyon. The sky was glowering, oppressive....the air was humid. In Upstate New York, this would be thunderstorm weather....but luckily we don't have thunderstorms here in California in summer.

As soon as we arrived on top of the mountain at the wedding site.....the sky opened up and started kicking ass. Lightning ripped across the sky. Thunder pounded us flat as we started to unload. Rain soaked all our shit.

Meanwhile, we could watch the lightning strike.....and watch the fires start, all around us. Luckily, every able bodied male in Santa Cruz County was out on the roads ready and waiting for just this eventuality. We not only watched the fires start, we watched the Santa Cruz militia rally and put them out.

Yeah, well......we were on top of the mountain. The house was a cute hobbit-style deal tucked into the hillside. There was a swimming pool at the peak of the hill.....the only flat spot. We put the Webers up there, on the concrete....away from all fire danger.

I was amazed that we even got this wedding. When I showed up for the initial interview, the evil step-mom had a plan in mind.....that I disagreed with in every atom and molecule. She got so pissed that she actually stormed out of the meeting. I drove home and thought: "Oh, well!"

Months later, the bride called up to make sure we were still on track for the date.......

Well, sure.......??!!??

After we had set up our tables and chairs....and our cooking zone on the concrete next to the pool.....the heavens opened up like the Taliban in Kandahar. Lightning was striking all around us. I have to admit, I was wishing for my old scapula.....or a Miraculous Medal. In Catholic lore, if you die wearing them, you go straight to heaven.

Brendan came up to me and pointed out that I was standing next to two metal objects at the absolute peak of the mountain during an electrical storm. "Dad, get the fires lit, and get out!"

Well, if the lightning hits....I don't have to worry about lighting the fires!

I got my fires going.....even while cowering under the barrage.

Meanwhile, the evil step-mom had decided that the pool at the top of the mountain was not clean enough for the invited wedding guests. She sent the idiot step-son and his girlfriend to deal with it. The girl got in the pool with a net and started scooping up the floating oak leaves, while boyfriend got out the 12 foot long aluminum pole attached to the brush/vacuum and started making the pool perfect.

In a lightning storm.

I was worried enough standing next to a 30 inch Weber.....while this idiot is raising up a 12 foot pole to the heavens, with his girlfriend glibly floating around the pool snaring bugs with an aluminum net.

I finally went up to him: "Dude. Blame it on me. No one gives a shit about the pool and how clean it is. The mountain is burning down around us. Tell your step-mom that I made you stop. She already hates me........"

The guy was clueless and continued his chore.

"I tell you what: I have some garlic and onions, and some prawns and crayfish and some salmon. I'll just toss it all in the pool.....and then later, when the lightning hits, we will have bouilliabaise! I am going below and cowering under some wood."

The guy just stared at me......holding aloft his 12 foot length of aluminum.

There was no lightning strike at the pool. God loves idiots, drunks, and Irishmen. Apparently.

Lee Trevino has the most mature and evolved attitude towards lightning strikes.

Lee was nearly electrocuted in Ohio when lightning struck the fairway a couple of hundred yards in front on his foursome during a major tournament. He got burns and all that....and had to recuperate for some weeks, and lost a ton of money.

Upon recovering, he came to Pebble Beach....and somehow wound up playing a round during one of our extremely rare electrical storms. The foursome had almost finished.....they were at the 18th tee, and at $600 a player for 18 holes, you want to finish the round.

Lightning started striking all around, and his friends immediately became protective: "Jesus, Lee....let's get over it and get a drink."

Lee stood at the 18th tee with an iron held high over his head.

"Lee, what the hell are you doing!!!"

"Relax, boys. Even God can't hit a one-iron!"

I am carrying a one-iron around with me everywhere until November


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