2014-01-23 / Lifestyles

Jest for Fun

Lois A. Corcoran Lois A. Corcoran Shortly after meeting my better half, I noticed his tendency toward pyromania. One of our first dates saw him build a roaring fire in his parents’ hearth. Thus, I learned that gazing into a fireplace beats TV, hands down.

Dan’s always been fascinated by fire. He first encountered a book of matches at age six, and it was love at first sight. Through trial and error, he learned about flues, dampers, and the care and feeding of flames.

At the tender age of eight, he constructed a fort near the beach where he lived. Primitive, yes, but it featured a fireplace he made of bricks. Danny ran a stovepipe out of the roof and proceeded to build a fire.

As fate would have it, the wind carried telltale smoke to his house, and his mom ordered him to snuff out the fire. When his father came home, he poked his head in the little shanty to check out its heating unit.

“It would have worked,” dad remarked. “It did work!”

Dan replied.

One of his sisters was not as privy about fires. She cleaned the hearth one Sunday morning and filled a paper bag with ashes and charred wood. The family came home from church later to find smoke pouring out—and got a heated garage the hard way.

Dan’s mom used to gather driftwood during her walks along the beach. After the sun dried it out, she stacked up the free fuel for summer bonfires.

During one such event, Dan stretched out his long legs and proceeded to party with friends. Suddenly he noticed smoke seeping out of one shoe and yanked his foot back.

Heat caused the rubber to puff out and form a permanent lump. This made walking a bit of a challenge.

“I’d make a lousy fireman,” Dan observed one time. “I’d rather watch flames than put them out.” He also uses some unorthodox fuel on occasion.

Sometimes he gets a little help from a secret concoction he calls his “Patented Insta-fire”. I always know he used it when I hear the telltale “foomp” after he lights a match.

Thanks to our rustic camp, he can do so to his heart’s content. Its fireplace may be as earthy as the cottage it serves, but Dan’s free to indulge his inner pyromaniac.

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