February 22, 2013: Trouble with Fire

Trouble was firmly the pointing toward the brother to the right
With Day Two of house-bound status and memories flooding from yesterday's blizzard blog, I have to share a story about a fire-starter. Sorry for throwing you under the bus, Mark, but you sure didn't have my back on the day of the first incident. The fateful fire later was nothing short of karma (and not the good kind).

We do all know that candles and fires are the ultimate temptation for young boys. My brothers were pretty much fascinated by anything with a fuse. They also liked naughty words, but knew better than to mutter them in front of my parents.

On our big dining room table, black wrought iron, was a thick orange candle. It sat on a plate; displayed proudly by my mom in the middle of the table. She would light it when the mood struck her.

On the day of incident #1, Mom went to light her candle. Her pleasure turned into shock as she was greeted with an act of vandalism. Unmistakably etched onto the top of that large star-shaped candle was the ultimate worst, the "F" word. It was deliberate and it was deep. My mom audibly gasped and called for my dad.

One by one they sat each of us three down. We sat on the heavy wrought iron chairs pleading our individual innocence as we were interrogated like common criminals. I was nothing short of insulted that they even questioned me.

Thoughts that went through my mind, but not out of my mouth included "Seriously...me?? With MY BROTHERS...come on, Mom & Dad, give me a little credit."

I really didn't know who did it, but suspected Mark as he look the most guilty. Neither brother fessed up and the history books have never clearly reflected the guilty party. But I know it was Mark. In my parents defense, I don't think I was punished, but have memory of a bar of soap in the boys' mouths. This could easily have been a pipe dream rather than reality though.

Fast forward months later. By now Mom had burned the candle down and covered any remaining evidence from her purportedly juvenile delinquent children. Mark and I again sat on the big wrought iron chairs. This time, Mark watched me draw on sheets of white paper. He soon started taking the sheets and put the edges into the burning candle to start a fire. Bad idea.

Although the first few times he quickly extinguished the fire with a quick blow and a big smile, the last attempt did not prove the same success rate. This time Mark got a little cocky and let the fire burn until a fourth of the paper was consumed. I didn't say a word as he tried to blow it out to no avail.

As he blew frantically, the flames took over the entire sheet of paper. At this point I started screaming for Mom while a panic-stricken Mark threw the burning paper onto the floor. Watching my mom go into rescue and recover mode gave me a good picture of her potential as a fire woman. She performs well under fire. No pun intended.

Without a word spoken by any of us and within a matter of seconds, Mom put out the fire with her bare hands. Her bright green carpet was now embellished with a large brown circle. Mark said his was sorry. Mom didn't say a word, but her welled-up eyes told the whole story.

Then in true martyr form (I have this technique nailed as well), she took a small razor and knelt down, cutting the brown off every fiber of carpet. Mark and I sat and watched in silence. We knew that even if she fixed the carpet, the smell wasn't going anywhere. It was a long silent reflection of "just wait until your father gets home". And there was no question on the culprit.

So, Mark, I have to be real with you. It was karma that got you back with the candle. Or as I  like to say; play with fire and you will get burned.


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