Wild Drive to Save Lissa and Bibi from Glass Fire
Hiro Sone had a transformation for the ages Monday. From someone who makes a living emulating Joel Robuchon in his own Michelin-starred kitchen, someone who derives soulful satisfaction emulating Eric Clapton on a Stratocaster at his St. Helena home, Sone, with a whoosh, transformed himself into Juan Manuel Fangio, the greatest race car driver who ever speed the Earth.
Told - and blocked - by several law enforcement agencies he could not return to St. Helena from Calistoga where he had gone to gas up his essential generator, Sone argued, pled and came close to out-and-out begging, all to no avail. Then Hiro made the transformation to Fangio.
Why go from chef/guitar player to “El Maestro”, the alias of Fangio, the mythical five-time World Champion Formula One driver from Argentina known for a determination and will unrivaled on the road? Why? . Because the love of Hiro’s life, Lissa Doumani, was stranded at their home in St Helena surrounded by the Glass Fire and he had to get back to save her.
The speed limit meant as much to Hiro as federal tax laws meant to that punkass in the White House. Bystanders, even firefighters stared.
At the fire-surrounded home, too, was Bibi, their new dog that had lifted the couple’s spirits after the sudden gut-wrenching death of the beloved Koko. (For the record, a local “dog whisperer “ who viewed a video of Bibi staring quizzically at Lissa during this madness claimed the dog was asking Lissa “And just where the fuck did Sushi boy run off to? Please don’t tell me to get more guitar picks.”
Hiro was only 20, 25 minutes away, in normal times. He had left Lissa and that blabbermouth Bibi only after a lull in the Glass Mountain Road Fire which had torched much of their land, including the family shed where Lissa would occasionally make Hiro sleep when he was bad.
Their home itself had been spared so far, thanks largely to a 25-foot fire break that Cal Fire had helped clear. .This is from a Washington Post report quoting Lissa
The entire back of our property was on fire, we are on a small hill that is flat land behind it the big mountains to Angwin and Pope Valley. We are pretty good at knocking down the weeds around the house, about 20' deep. This help but the cal fire guys set back fires to stop the move forward. It's a great idea but scary to watch. We had about 8 guys at our place. For the rest of the day and into the night it was fighting the fires as they come up. This kind of fire burns the bottom of the trees and that causes the trees to fall and create more fuel for the fire.
Late last night the Cal Fire guys felt we were good and Jared also so he went back to get Katherine. Hiro was on patrol. Still putting out flare-ups as they happened. Sometime before midnight there was a tree that was really worrying Hiro so he called Cal Fire and they came back and worked the tree fire a bit but basically said he just had to let it burn its self out.
At a lull, Hiro took a opportunity to rush to Calistoga to get fuel for the generator. Told he could not take the short drive south back to his home, Hiro went Fangio. driving a Porsche 917, he head toward Petaluma like a bat out of Mar-A-Lago.
He gunned the 917, the same Porsche featured in the 1971 Steve McQueen film “Le Mans”, made a turn Gale Sayers woulda admired and headed toward, or all places, Petaluma. For New Yorkers, this is the equivalent of going from the Plaza Hotel to the Empire State Building, by way of the South Bronx.
The speed limit meant as much to Hiro as federal tax laws meant to that punkass in the White House. Bystanders, even firefighters stopped and stared. The 917’s Pirellis screamed. The engine sang Wagner. Petaluma came and went as Hiro headed for Napa.
In Napa, he ricocheted north like he was late for a reservation at Fredy Girardet. Vineyards, some on fire, whizzed by his view as his home was getting reeled in.
Meanwhile at the home, Bibi looked at Lissa and shook his head. That dog whisper, mentioned above, reportedly said the dog was saying a version of “You married him, not me.”
Seconds later, the Bibi’s ears went on alert. The howl of the Porsche 917 was piercing the smoke-filled air. Then, dramatically reducing his speed, Hiro pulled into the driveway like he had just finished a typical Sunday drive. He rushed to Lissa and all was lovely. A scary day and night, but happy ending.
(EDITOR’S NOTE - The dog is named “Bibi” which is Lebanese for ‘love’. When a reporter late Tuesday afternoon asked if the dog was named after the nickname of the punkass Israeli prime minister, Bibi went on attack mode. The reporter is listed in critical, but stupid condition at Silver Oak Hospital.)