Poof! In A Cloud Of Smoke!

Why do programmers always mix up Halloween and Christmas? Because 31 OCT = 25 DEC!  (It’s funny if you are a programmer)

December 7th!  What a day for us to remember that fatal attack on Hawaii by the Japanese. It’s quite amazing that we look forward from that day 70+ years and the Japanese are a strong ally of the US. When we go dancing, I often ask our older friends (yes, we have older friends) about that day and we get interesting stories.  Bernie, who is 97, remembers being in the army during WWII…we need to store these memories now as they will soon disappear as that generation gets older

I plan to walk today after three days being indoors up because of the rain and the bathroom scale, that lying mechanical device, says 206!  How can that be? Tell me it ain’t so!

But first a Christmas memory from years gone by:

Christmas Memory #7 – The Roaring Fire

Dad was a buyer for the dime store chain, Ralph’s 5, 10 and 25 cent stores and every year he would get gifts from various salemen.  I remember that one saleman would send a crate of grapefruit and oranges from Texas to our home.  The fruit was Texas sized and pretty good.  The fruit would be packed in excelsior packing material.

Wood wool, known primarily as excelsior in North America, is a product made of wood slivers cut from logs and is mainly used in packaging, for cooling pads in home evaporative cooling systems known as swamp coolers, for erosion control mats, and as a raw material for the production of other products such as bonded wood wool boards and used as stuffing for stuffed animals.

So it was a cold day and we had just finished off the contents of the box and Dad gets a bright idea… why not put the entire crate into the firplace…save buring our wood, save a trip to the trash, and save the effort of having to break the crate into pieces.  Wonderful.

I remember Mom in the background shaking her head provide sage advice, somehting like “Are you crazy???”

Well, into the fireplace the crate goes barely fitting and in fact a little bit sticking out.

Dad decides no kindling will be needed and no newspaper was needed to start the fire…he just got up close with a match. He was quite correct!!

WHOOOOOF!  All of a sudden the air is sucked out of the tiny living room as the excelsior disappear in a ball of flame and all the oxygen with it.  To this day I can see the flames jumping out of the fireplace, hiding the hearth in a orange blanket of flames, and flames/smoke lapping up the brick fireplace facing, hiding the mantle in flames and touching the ceiling of the small living room.

The saying “Nine Alarm Fire” came to mind!

Like magic, Mom took off like a shot, drags in the garden hose, which was fortunately right by the front door adjacent ot the living room, and hands it to Dad,  Mom runs back outside and turns on the hose bib.  We all watch as dad has the hose spraying water into the firepalce in our once beautiful, ableit tiney, living room!

Me…worried…duh!  The whole wall is flames but my Dad, my hero, the savior od the house, is there to protect us!  Within a few seconds, the excelsior is gone…the flames die back to a dull roar…and Dad is hosing the crate with a steady stream of ice cold water!

Neighbors came over as they saw flames shooting ten feet out of the chimney lighting up the neighbors yard and half the neighborhood.  Stories would be told for years about dad’s Christmas fire!

Mom was not a happy camper.  We were lucky we kept the Christmas tree in the den and NOT in the living room cause if it had caught fire, we would have lost everything!

Fire is out…Mom is boiling…but we had some good results!  Mom got a new living room rug, the living room was repainted, and Dad’s fire permit was permanently taken away!

Obviously, Mom was put in charhe of the fireplace for years to come!

In the afternoon around 5:00 PM we headed for Sherman Gardens to join in on their annual Night of 10,000 Lights activity. It was amazing and again, as last year, the Finch’s joined us for the activity. Join the fun!

Watch the short video of the evening,,, about 6 minutes long!

After getting home we watched a movie and crashed…another great day in our adventure through life!

About Paul

Just an old retired guy trying to finish out my last years on this planet. I lost my best friend and wife in early 2020. I was blessed again by reconnecting with Dr. Mary Côté, a long-time friend. Mary and I got married July 28th, 2021, and are enjoying life together and plan to spend the rest of our lives being a blessing to our friends and family.
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