Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



All of My Friends

Monday, June 27, 2016

The (Fire) Circle of Life

That's Entertainment!
On the ranch, in the 50s, we burned our garbage.
It was the only option.
Each week, the trash cans were collected from every room in the house
Carried out to the burning barrel.
Emptied into said barrel.
And set alight.
It was an exciting job.
Okay, well, it looked exciting to me.
Probably because the task came with an 'age appropriate' rating.
And I hadn't reached that age.
Sigh.
I would scurry through the house, collecting bins for whoever was assigned.
Then help them lug everything to the trash barrel.
Then stand back and watch as they . . .
 . . . LIT THE MATCH.
Oooooo!
Most of the time, it only took one.
I was more than fascinated.
The lit match would be lowered into the barrel.
A curl of smoke would issue forth.
Then the first of the flames.
There was nothing . . . I repeat nothing . . . more exciting.
And I had been to movies.
And watched Bonanza on TV.
Okay, well, maybe I'd better exclude Bonanza which, incidentally, started with its own fire.
For years, I watched, enviously as, first my parents, then my older siblings got to light the match.
Slowly, the day approached when I would be trusted with the all-important job.
And then, it was here.
"Diane, would you please burn the garbage?"
Eeeeeeee!
I carefully collected every bin.
Toted them all down to the barrel.
Chose one at random and dumped its contents.
Chose another.
And another.
And finally, surrounded by empty trash cans, the magic moment.
I lit the match.
And dropped it carefully into the accumulated trash.
It winked out.
Huh.
I tried again.
Same thing.
This was harder than it looked.
Most of a book of matches later, I discovered that I needed to choose a piece of paper as my first victim.
Light that, then let it light the rest.
Ahhh!
Finally, I had a blaze.
I stepped back and watched proudly.
My first trash fire.
Okay, I admit it, you have to look for opportunities to shine in this life.
Within a few weeks, I was an old hand at 'burning the trash'.
I could collect, empty and light with the best of them.
And use one match to do it.
And then the gloss wore off.
Dad: "Diane. Time to take out the trash."
Me: "Can't someone else do it? I'm watching Woody Woodpecker!"
Blair: "I'll do it!"
Dad: "Blair's too little. He can help, but Diane has to light the match."
Me: [Huge sigh.] "Okay. Fine."
Blair: "Yipee!"
The fire circle of life.

5 comments:

  1. How times of changed! But kids have not.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just like that blazing opening of Bonanza, Alberta style!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I grew up in the country and in Eastern NC. We too burned our trash. I too loved it. Still love it, but it is forbidden now. We have to haul it to the dump and separate the recycle items. No where near as exciting as lighting a fire!
    Dawn
    Spatulas On Parade

    ReplyDelete
  4. A memory that today's chillun will never have. Recycling yes. Burning no.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Everything forbidden is more fun ...

    ReplyDelete

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