Tater cartoon for 9-15-21 celebrate

There’s just something about a fire, isn’t there? I don’t think it’s just me, either.

It is a force to be feared and revered is how I see it. One of my biggest fears ever is a house fire, not so much the danger element of it, but the fact that I’m such a sentimental pack rat and would die of all my junk got burned up.

I mean, my stuff.

I’ve sat by campfires all my life, enjoying cooking on them and watching the flames dance at night. The act of chopping firewood was never very appealing, but it was necessary. My cousins and I would be in the woods with our dads for a few nights, and took turns chopping. My dad’s version of encouraging me was, “You swing that axe like an old washwoman!” and after hearing that enough, I figured out how to do it right.

Thankfully, as I camp in my senior years, I have the great equalizer known as the chainsaw. No regrets.

For some reason, everything cooked in the woods tastes amazing. Well, it could be that by the time you finally get it cooked, you’re half-starved and about ready to gnaw your own arm off.

I found out the hard way that maybe what we eat out there is better off left out of cookbooks. I say that because one time we made a stew that was some kind of amazing, and having leftovers, I brought some home to my family. I don’t know what came over it between camp and home, but when we dished it up, I believe the flies made a break for the door.

I like fires so much that I had a fire pit built in my back yard. The problem is that I live in SW Florida, where it feels like 100 degrees in the shade most of the time. So I stockpile wood and pray for cooler evenings.

Sitting around a fire is therapeutic, I’ll always believe. Especially when it’s with family and friends, and there’s a pot of coffee boiling on the grill, and somebody has a guitar.

Oh, the stories we’ve told around campfires of yore. They grow a little more with each telling, but that makes them more interesting. When the tale grows to the point that it overshadows what actually took place, I wonder what it’d be like if told and retold by my ensuing generations. Pretty whacked, I’m guessing.

I guess you could compare a nice fire to life. It starts with a flicker and grows until it rages as much as possible with the fuel it has to work with, and then slowly burns down to embers and ashes before going out.

With that in mind, I enjoy a fire’s hypnotic enticement, seeing images in the flames, perhaps of loved ones gone on now, and maybe hearing their laughter in the crackling of the embers. The smoke feels like a brief hug to me sometimes.

I’m hoping Heaven allows campfires. If so, I know I have a few relatives and camping buddies already sitting around one.

Keep it burning, my brothers, and I’ll be along directly.


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