Memories of the Bonfire

Excuse the bad attempt at trying a little wordplay on the novel by Tom Wolfe.  That’s the only place where this blog will even remotely favor that story.

When my family went on vacation this year, we went back to Michigan.  I wrote a few blogs about it here and here, but I don’t think I wrote about how it felt visiting it after so many years of being gone.

I moved around a lot as a kid, so I have many places that were my home for a year or two, but the last place we lived in before I left is what I picture in my head when I talk about my childhood home.  It was a ranch-style house out in the country with a drive around driveway that sat on two acres of land that used to belong to my great-grandfather when he farmed the acres behind it.  When I lived there, you could still see the old corn crib and barn that were just over the barbed-wire fencing, but it now looks so abandoned that you can’t even see the wire fencing, for all the weeds that have taken over.

There were good and bad memories of that place, but some of my best memories were the bonfires we used to host.  Since our gravel driveway circled around the back of the house, we were able to set the fires on it, so as not to damage any of the yard.  We also set it on the side of the house where people wouldn’t be driving, and which you could see from the enclosed porch, in case the night got too cold for you.  We’d invite a bunch of friends over (both mine and Mom’s), light the fire, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows well into the wee hours of the morning.  We’d normally have music playing from somewhere inside the house, as well, and would sing out loud whenever a great song came on that we all knew.

That’s one of the best things about living out in the country . . . we didn’t worry that we were disturbing any neighbors, because the nearest one was at least two city blocks away.  Our closest neighbor may have heard faint noises and known that we were having a party, but since we never had the cops come to tell us to quiet down, I don’t think it was overly boisterous.

Now I live in a state that is so fraught with drought on a regular basis, that they put bans on when you can even light a fire inside your own chimney; forget having a bonfire in your back yard.  The houses are too close together, so it’s not like we could anyway, but it’s quite a shock to my system to have “Spare the Air” days.  I understand the need for it in this dry area, but there are times when I long for a nice, quiet evening, sitting with friends around a bonfire, shooting the breeze, eating a dog or two, and feeling that–for that one night, anyway–you don’t have a care in the world.

Maybe I’ll have to find a place where I can do that for my next vacation . . .  😉


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