Ride Off Into The Sunset

If my father-in-law had his way, retirement would have gone something like this: quietly turn in the keys to the truck, head home, enjoy the rest of life with the family. He is an extremely private and humble man. Unfortunately for him, the family was not about to let him ride off into the sunset without some sort of spectacular sendoff last weekend.

You see, my father-in-law spent the last forty-three years as a firefighter. Not just any firefighter at that – he helped shape much of the system as it is today in Amador County. He’s sort of a big deal. And it runs in the blood – both of his sons are firefighters, as is his son-in-law. Needless to say, there were a lot of people who wanted to come out and help celebrate Raymond. Right around three hundred, to be exact.

In true Blankenheim style, we roasted a pig. And made tri-tip. And barrel chicken. Because it’s not really a party unless you have at least three types of meat. Probably one of the highlight of the nights was the Great Pig Fire of 2013. I’ve been a part of this family for five years now and have seen many a pig roasted… never have I seen one actually ignite…

Flaming Pig
Flaming Pig

Apparently no one else in the family had either… about twenty firefighters stood and watched in awe before springing into action.


When all was said and done, it was a great party for a great man. I can only hope that someday I discover I’ve had a positive impact on the lives of half as many people as Raymond has. Congratulations Raymond!