Saturday, December 23, 2006

smokey would be so disappointed

One of my family’s Christmas traditions is a hot dog roast out at our farm property in rural Kansas. This year was no exception, but the event was extra enjoyable this year because the temperatures were unseasonably warm so we didn’t need parkas and mittens. Somebody, Russ, my dad, and I arrived before my brother Joe and his kids, so we started the fire and then decided to hike down to the lake while we waited for Joe. As we were preparing to leave, Somebody kept saying, “Shouldn’t we put that fire out?” And my dad would respond with, “No, it rained an inch or more this week and we will be fine leaving it.” And then Somebody would say, “Um, should we at least clear a space around the fire so there aren’t any leaves or anything that could catch on fire?” My dad, “Nope. It will be fine. It rained.” So we took off on our hike and left the fire. Almost an hour later, after hiking through no path, shoulder-high bushes, an empty rocky creek bed, and endless trees, we reached the lake. We took a brief rest and then headed back.

My dad was sure that the fire would have burned out and that we were going to have to restart it. Not so much. As we neared the clearing where the truck was, we could see smoke coming up from a large area--much larger than our fire had been. It turns out that an inch of rain is not enough to stop a fire from spreading. We had successfully burned an area about 40 feet by 40 feet, and the fire was moving into the forest area. Luckily, my brother Joe arrived just then and between all of our stomping feet and the use of a shovel, we were able to put the little fires out.
And then, like good country people, we rebuilt our fire and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. Ahhh, memories.

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