Wednesday, May 14, 2008


When I was a kid in Tinley Park, I loved those first spring days when you no longer could smell winter in the air. Instead, you would wake up in the morning to the lush smell of new growth and fresh earth filling your nostrils.

Yesterday morning I opened the back door to let Molly out and the smell of Florida's springtime smacked me in the face, smoke and humidity. Almost every spring in Florida we get 'wild fires'. The term 'wild fires' is a misnomer, because almost all of them are set by arsonists. Stupid people with no regard for the other people around them. Mark told me that he didn't think anyone would really set fires on purpose. I had to set him straight on that, because when I was a kid I loved fire.

One of my chores as a kid was to take the trash out to the back of our yard and burn it. It was a task that I truly enjoyed. I would spend quite a bit of time arranging all the trash into a little town, using milk cartons and boxes as buildings, and sometimes even including my brothers toy cars and my sisters dolls. When I got everything set just right, the fire storm started. I loved seeing the flames spread across the 'town', slowly heading for my sisters hapless dolls and engulfing the plastic cars on the way. Every once in a while I'd throw a single sheet of newspaper over the town, just to watch it burst into flames and add to the excitement.

I finally got over my fascination with fire as I grew older, but that knowledge did come in handy. It is notable that when I was in Boy Scouts, one thing I was better at than anyone else was starting campfires. Even now, when Mark wants to barbeque, he always asks me to start the fire. I am exceptionally good at it.


  1. You stunk to high heaven when you returned from the fire pit.We presumed that was to cover up the smell of dad's Camels. The most dangerous thing that you would do was to put closed cans of pork and beans in the fire and blow up the back yard.The burning Barbies from the second story were very upseting.We're glad you got help.

  2. First of all, I didn't start smoking until I was fifteen and I never smoked dads. I stole my own from the Jewel.
    Second, I never blew up cans of pork and beans, only combustible paper products.
    Third, Barbies from the second story?
    Put another Ken on the Barbie.

  3. Yes, flaming Barbies from the second story window. Only later did we learn that Ken was on the Barbie. The whole house fan would suck those fumes into the house. Your mother just thought that you were in the fire pit again.You smelled much more tasty when you later worked at the Flaming Pizza Joint.

  4. Oh my! I hope you put those fires out all the way before you left them.