posted by Matt W on February 22nd, 2012

I made a bonfire the other day. There had been a series of storms that had made it through our neighborhood over the past year and I had my boys pile up all the fallen branches into a huge pile. My oldest made a nice starter tower and my other son made another pile right next to it to presumably add to the fire once it started. While making the pile, I went over with the boys all the instructions that fathers have been sharing with their kids about fires over the years.

-Call the fire department to see if you need a permit to burn.

-Make sure there is nothing on the ground around the fire that can catch fire and allow the fire to jump to the surrounding woods.

-Don’t build a fire on a hill.

-Don’t put your fuel source to close to your fire or you will have a big problem.

-Have a water source available to be able to put out the fire quickly if it gets out of control.

-Etc. Etc. Etc.

And as every middle-aged father has done over the centuries, I proceeded to ignore all of the above.

And it was AWESOME.

The fire never got truly out of control but there were a few times that I thought I really need to keep my wits about me. It was hot! After a while, I couldn’t figure out what the bad smell was, that is until I realized I had burned the hair on the inside of my nose just breathing in the hot air coming off the flames. My neighbor said he couldn’t believe the amount of heat that the fire was producing, “Seriously Matt W, you could roast a pig on that sucker.” He actually had come over after it had died down quite a bit. The next morning it was still burning. Did I mention it was awesome?

When I was a kid, I always thought the word was bomb-fire, thus combining two of my top five favorite words as a kid (the others being knife, snake and donuts). Fires where mysterious and dangerous and the thought of them actually exploding like a bomb just added to the intrigue. The other factor in my thinking they were bomb-fires was the fact that my dad added some kind of accelerant to every fire he ever started. “Oh, look at that, I have a half full mason jar of kerosene on a shelf in the garage. That ought to do the trick.” Who would keep mason jars full of flammables in their garage these days? Back when I was a kid every garage had crap like that in it. I remember once getting solvent from a bucket full of soaking paint brushes for my dad to start the briquettes in the barbecue. And we actually ate the food.

So remember, as every good father is required to do, explain to your children the danger involved in making fires and how to make them safely. But also go out this weekend and really relive your youth, and make yourself a good old fashioned bomb-fire, they’re great. Invite your Dad (he’ll have an old coffee can full of gasoline and rusty car parts somewhere in his garage to get the bomb-fire started with a real bang).

File Under King of the Castle