Friday, November 1, 2013


We're getting ready today for a bonfire later this weekend.

For me, that means lots and lots of cooking. I'll wipe down the bathrooms, and maybe I'll clean my floors...if I can find them.

For others in the family, it means hauling tables and chairs over from the church and clearing the yard of miscellaneous debris that folks could trip over in the dark.

What is the difference between a campfire and a bonfire?

Well, a campfire is a small fire built out of doors (as opposed to inside, in the fireplace). It quickly burns down into a nice bed of coals so that you can cook your dinner over the fire. Folks can pull up a seat, prop their feet on the fire ring, and toast their chilly toes around a campfire.

A bonfire, on the other hand, is a conflagration used to signal astronauts on the International Space Station. At least that's what a bonfire is at our house. You are not going to roast any weenies over a bonfire, because you'd need a 20-foot roasting stick just to keep from singeing your eyebrows off. You can, however, toast your toes. In fact, you can toast your entire body:  stand at a safe distance and rotate slowly, kinda like a human rotisserie.

Is it because we have so many boys that our annual bonfire is such a huge inferno? My boys have always loved fire. On camping trips, they relished the challenge of keeping the campfire going for an entire weekend, bedding it down each night to be resurrected in time to cook breakfast the next morning. Could the first fire of the weekend be started with only one match? Oooooh, could the first fire of the weekend be started from the cold sooty remains left by previous campers?! Double bonus points!! And they don't cheat - forget using any kind of starter fuel.

Yes, these annual bonfires kinda scare me. I'm not the adventurous, risk-taking type, remember? Thankfully, I have a manly husband to complement my mother-hen personality. (This is why children need both a mother and a father, folks. They need a mom to say, "Be careful!" - and a dad to say, "Let's set this baby off!") Thanks to Dad, my sons know how to build and safely manage a bonfire, how to use a chainsaw, how to replace roof shingles, how to handle a firearm. They would have never learned any of those things from me.

Perfect weather this weekend for a bonfire:  chilly, clear skies, low winds, and we've just had a good heavy rain to soak the surrounding field. Hot dogs and baked beans, cider and hot cocoa, a little banjo pickin' and singing with friends and neighbors. Yep, time for a bonfire!

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