In The Sound of Rain my hero, Judd, is shown a 1950s poster of Smokey Bear. His boss–who is also my heroine’s father–wants Judd to serve as a sort of liaison with the forest service in their efforts to preserve forests. Although I only mention the poster and Smokey in passing, it was fun to do a little bit of research about a childhood icon.
For example, it’s Smokey Bear, NOT Smokey the Bear. And he’s named after “Smokey” Joe Martin, assistant chief of the New York City Fire Department in the 1920s.
And now Smokey has entered my life once again!
On New Year’s Eve I took Thistle to the national forest near our house for her daily hike. As I pulled into the parking area I noticed something over in the trees. Upon closer inspection I discovered a full-size Smokey Bear sign leaning against a tree.
Odd, I thought. It seemed like a pretty remote spot for Smokey to campaign about the danger of forest fires. Especially since he wasn’t bolted down.
Then, that evening, I checked a local news site because our weather had turned downright awful. And what did I find but a piece about a Smokey sign being stolen from a local fire station!
Anyone with a tip as to his location was asked to contact the Sheriff’s office or the fire department. So I did. Turns out it WAS the missing bear. He’s back home now and being reattached to his post more securely.
I was even interviewed by the local newspaper.
Helping get Smokey home was the highlight of my new year’s weekend. Who needs champagne, countdowns, or midnight fireworks when you can be part of getting Smokey home?