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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Playing with Fire aka That One Time I Caught the Front Yard On Fire


When I was around ten or eleven, we moved into a three bedroom red brick home off the highway in Corinth, Texas. The home doesn't exist anymore, long ago being torn down and a Jack in the Box built in its place.

The summer following our move into this roach infested rental my siblings and I found ourselves bored out of our minds. It was an unsaid rule in our family that you never complained about being bored or else you'd find yourself scrubbing the baseboards with a soapy washrag. Our mother worked during the daytime and since it was only us kids at home, being bored did not usually bring out the best in us.

For instance, my brother and sister were in charge of mowing the lawn. This particular summer was hot and dry and because of that the grass hadn't been mowed until it was very tall. We had one of those side attachments on our mower that shot grass clippings in neat parallel rows. After we finished mowing, it was then all the kids' duty to rake the grass clippings and then bag them up to be picked up with the trash. Well, we didn't feel like working in the heat, so instead we let the sun bake the grass clippings til they were dry through and through.

This was a bad thing--for one day a careless driver flicked a cigarette out their car window which then caught our front lawn on fire. I have never seen anything go up in flames so fast or seen my sister more panicked in my life. I don't think the fire department was too happy with us.

Of course some kids never learn their lesson.

Just a few short weeks later, my twin brother discovered the art of homemade blow torches. I guess that somehow he had forgotten about the firemen scolding us for catching the front yard of fire. My brother was always tinkering with electronics, and I am not sure where he learned it from, but had somehow found out that when you spray a can of hairspray with a lit match in front of it that a blast of fire forms. My brother thought it was pretty cool.

Mother did not and I don't blame her.

My brother got into trouble for making this blow torch, but that did not stop him. One day, he hid under his bed and showed the neighbor kid how to make a blow torch. I have to admit that watching the flames was pretty cool, but this particular episode got my brother into the proverbial hot seat. That summer, my mother in an effort to teach my twin brother to not play with matches made him wear a cardboard sign on the side of the highway and in front of our house that said:

"Do not let your kids play with me--I will catch them on fire."

I think the next time I remember this brother playing with fire was about four years later when we lived with my father in Oklahoma and he thought it'd be cool to shoot bottle rockets off in the house. I think he did it out of boredom.

Which brings me to my kids. Remember how I threw their toys away (aka hid them in the garage)? Well, this new found boredom has struck a curiosity chord in my boys. First, it was my youngest who found a new, unused weed-eater gas line in the junk drawer and decided to use it as a straw to suck pickle juice out of a jar early one morning. That incident really wasn't too bad. What was crappy was when my oldest decided to hide in the bathroom with his youngest brother after they found one of my lighters and then lit several sheets of paper on fire in a midst of laughter. For a minute I thought Beavis and Butthead were locked in the bathroom whispering, "Fire, fire. He he. Fire."

Perhaps taking away their toys wasn't such a good idea after all?

16 Comments:

cheri said...

Ha! Okay I have a few fire stories for you. When I was 15 I left a candle burning and caught the living room on fire and then only a year later I returned home to a house that was burnt through and through from a fire that started in my room. I have nooooo idea how that one started. Heres my last fire story - I had a long mirror that I would lay down on the floor and spray "pretty designs" with hairspray and catch on fire to see the pictures in flames.

AZ Mommy said...

Is it bad that I laughed at fire fire he he fire?
And what is with boys and the refusal to wear clothes?

Jana said...

Im starting to think that adding another bundle of joy to my pack of 2 boys may be a bad idea. Still I think yours are super cute even when they are naughty, probly cuz they aren't mine. =D

ZipTheUSA said...

Boys just love fire. I caught mine after he burned several sheets of paper in his bathroom and left the remnants in the trash can. He's also made a homemade flame thrower with an aerosol can thanks to the wonderful tutorials he's watched on youtube. Currently he's working on converting a flahslight into some sort of laser. Oh and I forgot to mention the fireballs he's made of cotton and thread soaked in lighter fluid. He can actually juggle these and I have the video to prove it.

kristi said...

LOL...too funny. My brother always played with fire and got me involved because I worshiped him!

Screwed Up Texan said...

Cheri, I didnt know you were such a PYRO! Ha!

AZ Mommy, No worries, I was laughing too. OH and when you figure out the clothes thing let me know.

Jana, Don't! Okay. Fine. Do whatever you want.

ZiptheUSA, Which reminds me: My younger brother watched a tutorial on YouTube on how to shave your beard by lighting it on fire. And then he tried it. Classic Beavis moment.

Kristi, Darn brothers always getting us into trouble ;)

Auntie Em said...

a man with a ciggarette? Sure it was... when my uncle's caught their lawn on fire it was a man on a motorcyle that did it. ha ha ha!

Assertive Wit said...

Me and my brother LOVED to see plastic melt; it was tantamount to pouring salt on snails/slugs but we were warned by my dad that he EVER caught us playing with fire, in an effort to melt plastic, we'd get the skin beat off our hides. That isn't to say we didn't sneak off to melt plastic; we just made sure we never burnt anything down so as not to get caught LOL

Your stories are hilarious though!!!

Loco YaYa said...

even our best intentions can result with an ugly backlash. i would rather pick up the toys then have to deal with what my children would do. when you have five idle minds the devil has nothing on them!!!

i love your blog!

Boots said...

I only recently heard my own sons "confessions" of fire play. He admitted to me that he accidently caught some straw on fire near an old barn and then he and a buddy threw an old mattress on it! and BOOM the whole thing went up, Barn and all!

It was even reported on the news that evening~ thankfully NO ONE was hurt, and I didnt know about it! He is 27 yo now!

FYI I posted Texas Treats in my blog!

DangGina said...

What a kick in the pants! Your kids are...winning...? I think it's that darned Y chromosome; I grew up with 4 brothers, and some of this sounds vaguely familiar...

Amy @ Living Locurto said...

I think I'm re-living my husband's childhood when I read your blog! LOL! He had 2 brothers, and a poor little sister. I'm glad you were laughing about the fire. I would have been screaming like a crazy person. ha!

Screwed Up Texan said...

Auntie Em, I am beginning to think all boys have a fascination with fire no matter what their ages, lol.

Assertive Wit, You made me remember that one time my brother hid in the closet of my grandpa's bedroom with me and my sister and lit something on fire which then somehow started burning the carpet on fire.

Loco YaYa, I am beginning to see the errors of my ways.

Boots, Now THAT is funny! It was even on the local news and you didnt know...he he.

DangGina, What can I say...it is three against one. lol

Amy, If I laugh at them burning down the house is that considered insanity? I think I may be going crazy...

NitWit1 said...

Is pyromania heriditary?

wow! a bunch of narrow escapes!

the nightingale said...

I loved the summary of it all at the ending paragraph. I feel that same way sometimes :D An idle mind.." you know the rest. Nice to meet someone else who knows how it is! (I got a great laugh out of this one) Thanks :) I needed it.

Screwed Up Texan said...

NitWit1, One simple answer: YES.

the nightingale, Cant wait for school to start and this idleness to end!

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