Smoke and ...Spots? is the first release of 2012 and the first story I wrote in my new home last fall. It was a struggle and turned in a little bit late but it made the Heavy Petting Amber PAX group which has been very popular. It was also my first gay romance with a child in it...and I found that a challenge but also neat.
There's a lot of background for this one! Back in the mid 1970s, my family and I moved from Bisbee, AZ to Colorado and settled in the then-rural community of Falcon, about twelve miles out of Colorado Springs. My husband and I both worked at Peterson AFB on the east side of town. Schreiber AFB had not yet been established. We got to Colorado the very end of November and were in for quite a shock when we went through our first prairie winter--snow, blizzards and sub-zero temps! Jim and I were both raised in Arizona so except for his tour in Korea he had not 'enjoyed' a lot of bitter weather nor had I but we learned. We even survived a blizzard in a Ford Pinto a few years later; that has yet to make a story although !some aspects wound up in The Maltese Terror.
Anyway the community had a real need for a volunteer fire department and we were involved in its creation. A donated barn was the first fire station; an active Colorado Springs fire department Captain was the first chief and the firefighters were a very motley group, men and women both but totally dedicated to providing the needed service. I was not a fire fighter but became a member of the auxiliary we established to help and support. We took coffee, cold drinks, snacks and sometimes other items out to fire sites, sometimes took charge of kids who were suddenly homeless and so on. It was an exceptional experience and one I will always cherish. Many of the folks we knew there are now gone, either deceased or moved on to other areas but still held in fond memories.
Actually my peripheral link to volunteer fire fighters goes back even farther. My parents and I lived in Jerome, Arizona at the time the mine closed and things were winding down. Jerome's infrastructure was falling apart, abetted by a severe flood during a violent summer storm, and the town lacked funds to support a real fire department. My dad wound up being a volunteer for a couple of years and I still have a little pin he got while he was doing it. The siren would go off and day or night, the fire fighters had to jump and go. In Colorado we had a 'plektron' radio that sounded the alarms but in Jerome, just the old siren down at the fire and police station gave the call.