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Husband Manager

    Pouring Wine

    "Wine comes in at the mouth

    And love comes in at the eye;

    That's all we shall know for truth,

    Before we grow old and die.

    I lift the glass to my mouth,

    I look at you, and sigh."

    W.B. Yeats.

    Musings of an Irish girl who took a leap of faith.


    As the fire season ends until the Fall, I've swapped Smokey Bear for Yogi Bear. Delighted to be a part of the Minnesota DNR Parks team for the summer season.

    Who didn't have dreams of being a Park Ranger while watching Yogi Bear all those years ago? I certainly did. The perfect job, working in a park. Just dreams though.

    Now, I am living that dream working as Parks and Trails Associate in Father Hennepin State Park.

    Greeted daily by grazing deer and their fawns. Birds, chipmunks, squirrels nibbling on the feeder outside the window. A bald-headed eagle peering down at us checking in the campers or issuing permits, and a very real chance of bumping into a real-life Yogi picking up a pic-a-nic basket as we patrol the 320-acre park with 103 campsites sitting on the edge of the beautiful Mille Lacs Lake.

    It's a popular park with over a mile long sandy beach, wooded trails, conifer bogs, fishing piers, boat ramps and more wildlife than you can ever imagine. We have Albino deer, painted and snapping turtles, both red and grey squirrels, and a variety of birds. Not to forget the abundance of fish in the lake including walleye, northern pike and bass.

    You have to think of another word instead of "work" my friend said. She's always right!

    Making the tough decision to move to the U.S. has probably been one of my best decisions in life so far. The opportunity to live the dream doesn't come around very often but when it does, it takes guts to make that first step and follow through.

    Sure, Lady Luck had a lot to do with my opportunity but maybe, just maybe...

    I'm smarter than the average bear!


    As soon as I was legitimate in the United States I scrolled through "Indeed" daily looking for a new job. Having spent almost a year on the doss, I needed to get out and join the working world again. America, the land of opportunity. But what did I want to do?

    Oil terminal operator, been there got the t-shirt. Office administrator, 9 to 5, absolutely not. Data-entry, work from home? Then I won't meet anyone. Smokechaser?

    Apply now!

    I hadn't a clue what the role was, but it sounded interesting and had a cool title. It was also something I would never have had the opportunity to do back home. That's all I wanted, a completely different job where I could learn new skills, even at my age. I completed the required week-long fire training course and passed the work capacity test which consisted of carrying a 25lb pack and walking for 2 miles under 30 minutes.

    Smokechasers are emergency intermittent wildland fire fighting assistants. When I called my Mam to try and explain the job to her, she shocked me by responding "oh your Dad was one of those"! I couldn't believe that she knew what it was but also that I was unwittingly following in my Dad's footsteps many moons later, in a different country. Things happen for a reason as they say. There was no rhyme or reason for me to choose Smokechaser from the many jobs posted other than it sounded cool. My Dad was cool. That's reason enough for me.

    My uniform is the famous yellow shirt and green pants, the same as is worn by the Hotshot crews. I get to update the Smokey bear signs. I get up close and personal with the air tankers and helicopters used for wildland fire fighting. I work with amazing, experienced fire leads and ride around in a fire truck waiting for the call of fire.

    I've yet to experience the big one but I'm trained and ready for when it does happen. I have the coolest job I've ever had, and I love it. I received my first American pay cheque the same day as I left my last job in Ireland exactly one year ago.

    It's never too late to change direction. Never too late to try something completely out of your comfort zone. It's never too late to take a chance. Never too late to find a job you love.

    Smokey says, "Only you can prevent forest fires".

    Only you can change your life. All you gotta do is Apply now.


    Last weekend we took a trip to the big city of Saint Paul for the annual Cinch World's Toughest Rodeo. What we were not expecting was to be stuck right in the middle of the Vulcan Torchlight parade just before heading to the show.

    Crowds began to gather on the street outside the bar where we were and having asked several people not many could explain the "Vulcans" with their red capes and jackets, or the history of the parade. We did find one guy eventually who filled us in on the origin and it is a fantastic story which I since researched on the Minnesota Historical Society.

    In 1885 Eastern newspaper journalists (whom I believe were from New York) visited Saint Paul and upon return , they wrote that Minnesota was a dark and dreary place, un-inhabitable, and comparable to Siberia.

    In retaliation the proud Minnesotans got together and basically said F you and decided to create a wintertime festival which would showcase the beauty of their winter wonderland. They worked with the City of Montreal who had their own winter festival in place and they helped build the first ice castle in Saint Paul on February 1st, 1886.

    The Montreal festival had an Ice King and Queen named Aurora. Saint Paul adapted similar characters and named them King Boreas and Queen of the Snows. The mischievous Vulcan and his red-caped Krewe were created from the Germanic tradition of the energy and disruption which springtime brings to the final days of winter. The dethroning of King Boreas by the Vulcan Krewe is the conclusion of the festival and the torchlight parade signifies bringing the warmth back to Minnesota.

    The parade is weird yet wonderful. It is full of light and music. Decorated floats, marching groups, trucks, clowns and people handing out beads and candy for kids. It is the oldest wintertime festival in the U.S. and long may it continue.

    Minnesotans are proud of their State, and even though it is cold for almost half of the year, it is the warmest place I have ever lived.

    People knock you down in life all the time, whether it is in the workplace, sports, or family and friends. Take the Minnesotan attitude, kick right back and blind the fuckers with brightness!

    The carnival of old Saint Paul song:

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