“Everybody quit talking, Teresa’s here.”
Those are the first words I heard when I climbed out of my car to join my family at our Labor Day bonfire. It has finally dawned on them, after 18 weeks of blog posts, that they are the main cast of characters in Crazie Town. They were, therefore, on their best behavior – which means, no story for this week.
Just kidding, Strangely-Normal Family, I have plenty of old bonfire stories.
This is one of my favorites that my niece Kim shared with me. She’d asked my dad if she could invite a bunch of friends from college out to the farm to have a big bonfire.
“We’ll take care of everything,” Kim said. And like all good teenagers, they showed up after dark, with all the necessary supplies – graham crackers, chocolate bars, marshmallows and beer. After several attempts to ignite a log using a Bic lighter, Kim went inside to ask Dad’s help.
“Just pour some diesel fuel on it,” Dad said, never budging from his rocker in front of the TV. “It’s in the red can in the shed.”
When she had no luck locating the red can, she returned to the house. “Can you pleeeeease help us?” Kim asked in her best ‘I’m your only granddaughter’ voice.
“Wrasser, frasser,” he mumbled. (Did anyone else’s parents use those words?) Dad stood up, re-fastened his jeans and lumbered outside. He rummaged around inside the shed and found the red can. It was empty, so he did what every good farmer does – he grabbed a gas can and a hose, walked to his truck and siphoned enough gas to fill the can. He walked over to the pile of logs and splashed the gasoline in the general direction, picked up the lighter and VOOM!, lit the fire.
Dad tossed the gas can a few feet from the fire and walked back into the shed. He came out carrying two quarts of oil, which he proceeded to pour onto the blaze, tossing the empty plastic bottles into the fire.
Kim’s friends sat frozen in place, with the mouths agape and motor-oil-fried marshmallows dangling from their roasting sticks.
“You want something done right, you gotta call a professional,” he said and retired back to the house to finish watching his basketball game.