We’ve all seen the movie where a man builds a fire by rubbing two sticks together to create a life-saving blaze when he’s lost in a frozen wasteland. Think Buck, the sled dog, and John Thornton in the Call of the Wild. They’d both have been frozen popsicles if that blaze had been my responsibility.
My sister, the Princess, and I arrived at the Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, Florida mid-afternoon. By the time we got the Casita backed onto the site (don’t ask), unhooked and set up we were starving. So, we had cocktails and appetizers and discussed starting a campfire to cook hotdogs. Grilling hotdogs on an campfire is the epitome of “roughing it” according to the Princess and something she’s always wanted to try. She brought kosher hot dogs, buns from the bakery, charcoal and lighter fluid, long expandable forks and a Bic lighter. I was supposed to provide the expertise.
We must have erased from our memories our previous attempt to start a fire. The Princess and I were having cocktails (notice a common theme?) by the fire pit at my cottage. We gathered leaves, twigs and some pieces of wood and made a teepee of them in the pit. It smoldered and smoked. We didn’t have any charcoal lighter so we threw rum on the smoldering mess. Embers started floating through the air and the leaves around the fire pit caught fire.
I ran to get the hose from the side of the house but it was about 20 feet too short. I was running in such a panic that I landed on my hands and knees when the hose suddenly played out. I ignored my scraped and bleeding knees and palms, jumped up and ran to help my sister stomp out the burning leaves around the pit. I yelled at her to stop stomping because she was wearing my purple Crocs and I didn’t know if they would melt onto her feet. I visualized purple plastic webbing fusing her toes together. Actually, there was no danger of setting the woods on fire. The whole sodden mess was due to damp leaves and wood.
Back to the present and oblivious to our miserable history, we put charcoal in the campfire pit, sloshed it with lighter fluid and lit it. Then we waited for the coals to turn white hot while we had another cocktail. The Princess speared the hotdogs onto our new forks and after a few minutes of holding the forks over the hot coals she began complaining that her back hurt from bending over the campfire. I told her to just put the hotdogs on the grill and turn them occassionally. You guessed it. One fell into the coals and one flipped into the dirt. I told her to rinse them off.
When she returned to the fire, she said, “I don’t think that was such a good idea.” Huh? Turns out she rinsed them in the dishwater bucket that had Dawn soap in it.
I gathered up the surviving weenies. “You make us another vodka tonic and I’ll plug in the microwave.”