The boys and I went on a camping trip this past weekend to Forever Florida. We had tons of fun ziplining, horseback riding, and hiking. Our campsite was incredibly remote, a 20 minute drive down a dirt road through wilderness and cow pastures, and we were the only campers for miles around.
I started arranging the cut pieces of wood into my typical campfire configuration.
“Can we do build it like a tee-pee?” my youngest son asked.
“Okay.” I took my stack apart and started over.
“How about like this?” he asked, moving wood around. “We can balance it.”
I was more focused on the small sticks. There was very little tinder available, and it had rained the night before. I was more concerned about just getting something to catch fire than I was about the final shape of the thing.
Ten minutes later, as I was muttering about wet wood and no tinder and how few matches we’d brought, my oldest son balanced on a log. “I wish Aunt Helene was here.”
“Were here,” I corrected. “Why?”
“She can start a fire anywhere!”
“Yeah,” his little brother chimed in. “She’s legendary.”
“Even in the rain.”
“With only one match!”
“And it’s really quick.”
“I heard that she even started a fire floating on the – ”
“Yes,” I interrupted. “You’re right. She’s a legendary fire-starting force of nature. Now shut up.”
They laughed and continued ruminating about the wondrous fire powers of my sister, and how handy she would be to have on a camping trip, and how surprising it is that she didn’t teach her little brother any of her secrets.
For the record, I did get the fire started. It ended up being a tee-pee, and I only used one book of matches.