3/10/2012

Smores Anyone?

We lived in the same house for 25 years just outside of our small hometown of Castile. It was a good little neighborhood and was mostly quiet except for the traffic on Route 39. When the signs of spring arrived, it was also time to pile up tree branches, and clean out the garage or the shed of burnable miscellany. Each year there seemed to be a contest between my husband and the next door neighbor to assemble a burn pile of enormous proportions.  Day after day I watched their piles grow until tepee-shaped woodpiles were just right to be torched. There was an art to the arrangement so that it would be totally consumed in a short amount of time. It was sort of like a bonfire on steroids. Now the neighbor enjoyed the element of surprise on the neighborhood and waited for quiet Saturday afternoons to begin his incendiary activity.

KABOOM! You would have thought we were under attack by enemy forces. Then there was a rush of wind and the crackling of the kerosene inspired fire devastated the massive junk structure in no time. I think the ground actually shook once. Maybe not. He played it safe with a hose nearby and a watchful eye. No unintended fires ever sprang up, so it was always fun to guess when he might decide to touch it off. It was basically entertaining to watch, so you get an idea of the pace of life there.

My husband is a safety sort of guy. He doesn't take a lot of chances especially when it comes to fire, so I don't have a really good explanation for this fire vignette. He'd already warned me that the day was pile burning day, so I fully expected to hear some crackling and see a bit of smoke when I went outside. Instead, I heard a roar from the backyard. It sounded something like a train. A huge wall of flame sprang into the sky and my husband was running at full tilt for the house. I wasn't sure if  a call to 9-1-1 was in order or if I have to knock him down on the ground and roll him around to put out fire on his clothes. Fortunately, neither was necessary. However, it is not recommended that you encourage a fire by tossing gas from a plastic milk jug. The fire will follow the trail of accelerant to the jug. Fortunately, he hasn't used that particular method since.

Our neighbor on the south side of our property also did a little burning from time to time. He wasn't into the big pile mentality, but did burn leaves and some small branches to clean up the yard. One sleepy Sunday afternoon, we noticed that he was burning off a bit of dead grass at the back of his property. The breeze had kicked up and we wondered about the wisdom of burning. As we watched, the fire began to move through the grass toward the motor boat that was parked on a trailer. Since the man was standing there with a hose, we were sure that he'd stop it in time. Weather and dry grass was against him and within seconds the boat was in flames. The hose was a poor weapon against the fire that thoroughly enjoyed the meal of Fiberglas and wood. The sad, charred remains of his weekend fishing fun was a total loss. Yes, we enjoyed a good laugh at his expense behind the curtains in the family room. We didn't want to embarrass him by guffawing in plain sight on the deck of course. 

The wisdom for this week is....you guessed it....don't play with fire or maybe better yet, don't let men play with fire.

2 comments:

Robyn McMaster, PhD said...

Laurinda, what a fun post. I can just picture the fires in my mind's eye. Thoughtful for sure. Thankfully Carl was very conservative though he loved to build a bonfire for roasting marshmallows or just a campfire to swap stories.

Harry said...

I don't mean to dispute your memory of the bonfires, but I recall ours taking place in the fall. I can still smell the burning leaves that we raked to the curb and set afire. It was an autumn activity for us, and there were always two or three leaf piles burning on our street.
I grew up in Kenmore, New York, not too far from Castile, so the territory was the same but just more urban than your little village.
Wonderful memory jogger you've written!

Positively encouraging

3/10/2012

Smores Anyone?

We lived in the same house for 25 years just outside of our small hometown of Castile. It was a good little neighborhood and was mostly quiet except for the traffic on Route 39. When the signs of spring arrived, it was also time to pile up tree branches, and clean out the garage or the shed of burnable miscellany. Each year there seemed to be a contest between my husband and the next door neighbor to assemble a burn pile of enormous proportions.  Day after day I watched their piles grow until tepee-shaped woodpiles were just right to be torched. There was an art to the arrangement so that it would be totally consumed in a short amount of time. It was sort of like a bonfire on steroids. Now the neighbor enjoyed the element of surprise on the neighborhood and waited for quiet Saturday afternoons to begin his incendiary activity.

KABOOM! You would have thought we were under attack by enemy forces. Then there was a rush of wind and the crackling of the kerosene inspired fire devastated the massive junk structure in no time. I think the ground actually shook once. Maybe not. He played it safe with a hose nearby and a watchful eye. No unintended fires ever sprang up, so it was always fun to guess when he might decide to touch it off. It was basically entertaining to watch, so you get an idea of the pace of life there.

My husband is a safety sort of guy. He doesn't take a lot of chances especially when it comes to fire, so I don't have a really good explanation for this fire vignette. He'd already warned me that the day was pile burning day, so I fully expected to hear some crackling and see a bit of smoke when I went outside. Instead, I heard a roar from the backyard. It sounded something like a train. A huge wall of flame sprang into the sky and my husband was running at full tilt for the house. I wasn't sure if  a call to 9-1-1 was in order or if I have to knock him down on the ground and roll him around to put out fire on his clothes. Fortunately, neither was necessary. However, it is not recommended that you encourage a fire by tossing gas from a plastic milk jug. The fire will follow the trail of accelerant to the jug. Fortunately, he hasn't used that particular method since.

Our neighbor on the south side of our property also did a little burning from time to time. He wasn't into the big pile mentality, but did burn leaves and some small branches to clean up the yard. One sleepy Sunday afternoon, we noticed that he was burning off a bit of dead grass at the back of his property. The breeze had kicked up and we wondered about the wisdom of burning. As we watched, the fire began to move through the grass toward the motor boat that was parked on a trailer. Since the man was standing there with a hose, we were sure that he'd stop it in time. Weather and dry grass was against him and within seconds the boat was in flames. The hose was a poor weapon against the fire that thoroughly enjoyed the meal of Fiberglas and wood. The sad, charred remains of his weekend fishing fun was a total loss. Yes, we enjoyed a good laugh at his expense behind the curtains in the family room. We didn't want to embarrass him by guffawing in plain sight on the deck of course. 

The wisdom for this week is....you guessed it....don't play with fire or maybe better yet, don't let men play with fire.

2 comments:

Robyn McMaster, PhD said...

Laurinda, what a fun post. I can just picture the fires in my mind's eye. Thoughtful for sure. Thankfully Carl was very conservative though he loved to build a bonfire for roasting marshmallows or just a campfire to swap stories.

Harry said...

I don't mean to dispute your memory of the bonfires, but I recall ours taking place in the fall. I can still smell the burning leaves that we raked to the curb and set afire. It was an autumn activity for us, and there were always two or three leaf piles burning on our street.
I grew up in Kenmore, New York, not too far from Castile, so the territory was the same but just more urban than your little village.
Wonderful memory jogger you've written!