ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Deadwood Love Affair Still Burns

29 June 2002. The next day's headlines read 'Thousands Flee after Governor Orders Evacuation.'

That morning started just like any other, except I was about as nervous as a cat in a rocking chair factory. I dressed in a black tuxedo, marched through the liquid hot air to Mount Moriah Cemetery, and waited for the rest of the official ceremony to arrive. My family, including both of my kids dressed in their own formals, arrived and marched through the knee-high grass to meet me at the Deadwood overlook, near the graves of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane. Fifteen minutes later, my soon-to-be wife arrived, Yvonne Navarro, looking just amazing in the wedding dress she'd purchases on our trip to Catalina Island. I read a poem, we said our vows, we kissed and lightning struck five miles away.

We went back down the hill, changed into our reception clothes, cut the cake, made sure that folks were happy and were about to have our first dance, only to be interrupted by a plane flying low overhead, dropping water on the fire that had crested the mountain behind my parents' home. Next thing we knew, the governor was calling for everyone's evacuation.

We ran around grabbing things, counting people, saying hurried goodbyes.

We merged into the one way traffic out of town, carrying a total of 30,000 people out of the Black Hills and onto the Great Plains. It wasn't until night that we were able to stop for a bite to eat. Later, we stayed in the basement of a friend of our parent's house.

This was the story of my wedding. It was hot. Not just the temperature, but my feelings for my wife. And they run as hot today as they did that day. A fire still burns inside me.

One day we'll have that reception that we never had. One day we'll do it right.

But for now, we have each other.

Which is the best gift life has ever given me.

Weston Ochse
Tarantual Grotto
Sonoran Desert


  1. OH, you two are so damn cute!! Happy Anniversary!

  2. Sometimes a natural disaster can really spruce up a wedding ceremony!

  3. That was just God and nature making sure your wedding was extra memorable!