Thursday, May 21, 2009


Today is the inaugural posting of my Thinkbox Thursdays. I'll be honest - the first slip of paper I pulled from the box (which is actually a can, just for the record) was a question I already have a couple posts started for so I DID pull a second one to preserve those for future use. The second one is much more fitting for day one of this experiment anyway - it's a light hearted question to start off on. So here it is...

Did you ever set anything on fire or know someone who did?

As a matter of fact, growing up, my parents composted our biodegradables (banana peels, potato skins, coffee grounds, etc.) and burned the rest of our garbage. Yes, you read that right. They BURNED it - plastic milk jugs and all. Tsk, tsk, I know. Apparently that was allowed in our town at the time. When the weather gets nutty and the icebergs in the Antarctic melt, you can send your complaints to my Mom and Dad. Email me and I'll send you their address. :) Anyway, as the two oldest kids, this job fell to my brother and I. I'll admit - it was a fun job. I'm not ashamed to say it. I had fun playing in the fire and burning stuff. Granted, it was a chore that left a burn scar or two in its time and may wind up giving me lung cancer someday but it was fun nonetheless.

We'd load up the burn barrel and torch it. The object was to light it low enough so it would burn up and to leave enough of a gap in between the bags to get good oxygen flow. Two very important requirements for a good fire. As it burned we'd stir it around to make sure it was all burning up. And we played in it, fishing out certain things to watch them burn. In fact, I vividly remember the distinct sound of plastic as it dripped from a milk jug or bottle. It's a very specific and memorable whizzing sound. Anyone that has ever melted plastic will instantly know the sound I remember. Zip. Zip. And the smell! Oh, the smell. It was putrid. Black smoke, stinky smell, whizzing sound. That's what I recall of burning our garbage. So yes, I have set something on fire. And I didn't totally hate it. Does that sound like a problem?


Tifkota said...

We totally had a "burn barrel" too!!!! Food went into the "slop bucket" for the pigs and chickens. Burnable garbage got burned. Other stuff we took to the dump on Saturdays (Redman Road?). Nothing like riding in the station-wagon with garbage.
The burn barrel gave off very distinct odors, didn't? They weren't always the same, that's for sure.
Man, were our parents crazy hippies or what? xoxo

Pam said...

That's country livin' for ya! Certainly not organic or "green" (*Wink, Wink, Shana!!*). See? This is where you come from...and it's awesome and beautiful! I love that you slopped and burned! It's why I call you salt of the earth! We never burned, though we composted everything we could, which was fun in a totally different, yet still stinky, way.