Tuesday, October 20, 2015

One Match Fire

The summer after I graduated from high school, my big sister, Christi,  and I got jobs at a camp outside of Wagoner, Oklahoma. It was run by the Camp Fire Girls at the time and was appropriately named Camp Waluhili. For those of you not fluent in Native American languages, this roughly translates into "beautiful maidens camping by the waterside". It was off the beaten path and near Oologah Lake, which made it an oasis in the scorching Oklahoma summers.  On Sunday evening, the girls would show up on buses with their sleeping bags and little Barbie suitcases and eight third graders would become my sole responsibility for 6 days.

Here's a picture of us in front of the main lodge. For those of you under 25 years of age, despite how it looks, there's not a 1960's filter on this photo.  At the time, this was as good as it got with my fancy disc camera. And the line in the middle? That's  because a panorama option could only be mastered by taping three pictures together and hoping for the best. I'm the one in the middle on the right with the mini mullet and my sister is the red head in the cute polo shirt. She looks like she just walked out of a Ralph Lauren ad. How did she manage that at camp? That's just wrong. 

Here is my cabin- Conte. I had the left side of the cabin with my little chicadees and my buddy counselor, Pam, had the right. I want to say up front, thank you Camp Fire for putting a running toilet in each of these cabins. There was no way any of my girls would have headed out in the dark to take care of business- even if I had walked in front of them shouldering two flood lights. No way, no how. Outside each cabin was a fire pit where we would have our cookouts. The real feather in your cap as a counselor was if you could start your camp fire with only one match. Lo and behold, this was my hidden talent! I was a solid one match kinda girl and had serious skill with the camp fire. By the end of the summer, I still had matches in the box they had given me the first week.

Which brings me to this weekend. Things are cooling off here in Shamong and I have been itching to impress my Eagle Scout (aka Graham 1.0) with my fire making abilities. First things first, though- we needed fire wood. We found a local guy named Joe, who said he would cut us a bargain if we loaded and unloaded the logs ourselves. We've got a truck and we've got muscle, so it was a done deal.

A newbie at buying firewood, I learned a lot from Joe. Apparently, there are different kinds of wood to choose from based on what you want or need. One log is not the same as the other. Cherry wood smells best when burning, oak logs burn slow, but locust burns the slowest and puts off the most heat.
We decided to go with a mixed batch which included all three types of logs. Graham backed up the truck, the boys put on their gloves, and they got down to business tossing those babies in the back of the Ford.

Look at those faces- so serious. It took all I had not to break out into song - "Oh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay. I work all night and I sleep all day." Please, please say you know this song. Don't tell me you can't recite this Monty Python skit by heart. I just might not recover.
We bought a whole cord of wood. A half cord filled the entire bed of the truck, so we ended up having to make two trips from Joe's place to our house.

Once we got home, the guys started unloading and stacking. It was like playing a huge game of Janga, but with splinters. After about 45 minutes they were all done, having filled up a rack on the back patio as well as lining up everything nice and neat under these bushes. I now have enough wood to make Paul Bunyan proud.

Here's the first fire of the year. So relaxing and peaceful. Sitting there in front of it, I could not motivate myself to get up and do anything productive. I may have even tried to convince the guys that cereal would be the perfect choice for dinner.  Everyone loves carbs, right? But I know, looking at this picture, there's really only one thing on your mind. Does the girl still have game? Is she still a campfire master? Let's just say this. I may have lost the mullet, but I still only needed one match.

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