Monday, September 12, 2005

Burning stuff

I was vegetating in front of the TV Sunday afternoon when my 7-year old came in an said, “Tatay, can we burn stuff in the backyard?”

“No,” I said. “It’s too dangerous. You might burn the house down.”

After a few minutes, I thought, Hmmm.. burning stuff. Could be fun. There wasn't anything on TV anyway. (Cable company just got another fashion station. How many fashion TV stations do we need anyway? One is more than enough.) So I turned the TV off, called the kids, and said, “Let’s go burn stuff.” Yaaa-a-aaaay!!

But first, we have to do things right, I said. I asked them to get a bucket and we filled that up with water. “If youre going to burn stuff, always have an adult with you, and always make sure you have a bucket of water ready just in case. And use the water to put out the fire when youre done. Make sure it’s out completely.” As we got the things we’ll need together—bucket, matches, old newspaper—I tried to think of what important life lesson the kids could learn from this exercise. There’s always chemistry: oxidation, combustion, and all that. But I settled on survival skills. I figure if ever we get stranded on an island, the kids could learn to tend the fire while Tatay goes off into the jungle to hunt wild boar for dinner using only sharpened sticks, bravery, and cunning. Ok. Life lesson settled, off we went.

We got a decent flame with the old newspapers then I asked them to gather dry leaves and sticks to keep the fire going. This they dutifully did. They also learned to blow on the embers if the flames die down from lack of air. But blowing on the embers was pretty dangerous so I told them to fan the embers instead using a magazine. Soon they were tending the flames themselves, giving me the confidence that if ever we get stranded on some island, my girls would keep the fire going and we could cook the wild boar I caught after a terrific chase through the jungle. “Dry leaves! Dry leaves!,” my kids would yell when the flames start going down. “Sticks!” The smoke had me worried a bit. The neighbors might complain. But then I thought I never complained when they played their stereo too loud even though their choice of music isn’t exactly uplifting to the soul.

We had a pretty good fire going. The kids were having so much fun, they burst into song. They had a perfect song for the fire. It was the Spongebob Squarepants Campfire Song. It was a fun song. Youre supposed to sing it faster and faster. They took turns singing Spongebob’s and Patrick’s lines. It’s times like these, when the kids are happy and we’re having fun together that I think of the time, some future time, when we won’t be doing stuff like this anymore. When they’re all grown up and have their own gang to run with. An uncle told me once, before I even dreamt of having kids of my own, “[Cousin] wants to go everywhere with me. She’ll ask if she could come with me to the bakery or to the drugstore or to the office or wherever. I let her, whenever I can. Because one day, there’ll come a time when she wouldn’t want to anymore. I don't want to miss the chance of spending time with her while she still wants to.”

I think we’ll burn stuff again this weekend. I have to remember to get marshmallows.

Spongebob Squarepants’s Campfire Song


I call this one the Campfire Song song

Let’s gather round the campfire and sing our campfire song
Our C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G song
And if you dont think that we can sing it faster then youre wrong
But itll help if you just sing aloooooong




C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G song
C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G song
And if you dont think that we can sing it faster then youre wrong
But itll help if you just sing along

C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G song. Patrick!


Song!!! C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E S-O-N-G



It’ll help!
It’ll help!!!
If you just sing along!

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