Sunday, November 4, 2007


Last night we went to a bonfire party, hosted by friends whose home is tucked in the woods of Spotsylvania. I love to sit by a fire. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in a fireplace, or a campsite, or a bonfire like this one. I even like gas fireplaces. There’s something very soothing about staring into a fire, watching the flames dance. I get the same feeling watching the ocean waves at the beach. I even like the smell of wood smoke in my hair that lingers till the morning.

I do admit that I get a little paranoid about fires that I’m in charge of managing. I’m much too security-conscious to be able to sit back and relax. I don’t even like it when the barbecue grill flares too high. Isn’t it too dry for a fire in Virginia, anyway? Don’t forest fires start from innocent campfires gone awry? I’m thinking California, people. Shouldn’t we saturate the area around the fire with water? Where’s the hose? Who’s in charge of fire safety around here, anyway? Luckily for me, last night’s fire was someone else’s responsibility, so I was able to relax. Mostly.

The gathering included many of my favorite people, started with a terrific chili and ribs supper (with more potluck dishes than I could ever have hoped to sample), and then moved on to S’mores by the fire. The S’more making was turned into a highly efficient process with the arrival of the “Marshmallonator,” a homemade Tim Allen-esque device designed to perfectly toast 9 marshmallows at once, using a battery-powered, variable speed power drill with a dowel rod into which hooks had been inserted. Genius, really. Patentable, we all thought. At parties hosted by this very musically talented family, music always breaks out, and last night was no different, as a number of musicians brought out their guitars and played late into the evening. A fine time was had by all. And as an added bonus, an extra hour of sleep as we set the clocks back.

Here you can see the nicely constructed (and very safe) fire ring:

Marshmallonator at work:

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