Bonfire Night

Tuesday is Bonfire Night! Guy Fawkes night for some, though I can’t remember ever, as a kid, knowing what bonfire night represented except a good time!  I don’t think the tradition is as strong as it once was.  When I was a teen, we’d have been cutting trees for months, I remember one year starting in August!

We’d gather them, and anything else we could burn, boats, driftwood, garbage, pretty much anything.   Come supper time on the 5th, we’d light it up, keeping much off to one side to keep it going all night. Many times we’d have enough fuel to restart it from its coals the next night and do it all again.  Old tires had to be a favorite to burn for sure, they’d burn and pop, and stink everything up, and turn us all black with soot, but we had a ball.  Off to one side we’d have smaller camp fires to roast potatoes, wieners, marshmallows, and maybe some less traditional roasting foods, like kippers!

I remember many if not most of our fires were on the beach.  I remember one year in particular it being down on McGrath’s Cove below Colin Miller’s house, and us getting up on the bank to watch. I think i remember Rick throwing a bag full of aerosol cans in that one, for our own form of fireworks.  The beach was covered in shaving cream!

As we grew up, most of us stopped the smaller community fires and many of us would gather and help at the one on Randall’s garden in Snook’s Harbour.  I remember the huge piles of brush and tires. It was also fun to look up and down the sound in the night and see the fires in Georges Brook, Harcourt and Monroe.

I think though the best memory has to be the time there was an empty propane tank on the fire, and Gar Whelan risked life and limb to run into the fire and yank it out before it exploded!

Many “beverages” were consumed, and often the police were there too, though they never interfered, or stopped us from having our “beverages” in public.  I do think they got too close one year and the paint on the door melted a bit!  Though perhaps that was someone else’s car, memories run together as you get old.

The link below is to a video on Memorial University’s site.  Have a watch, and feel the memories flood back.

Bonfire Celebration in Brigus, Newfoundland

Hope you all have a great bonfire night!

Wiener Roasts and Fireworks

Its the lazy days of summer now, evenings are starting to close in a little earlier, nights are a little chiller, perfect for sleeping, and for fires on the beach. In our teens, and likely much beyond back home these evenings often led to a bonfire on the beach, or sometimes just a smaller fire. We’d gather round some big rocks to sit on, skin out an alder or birch branch or three, and relax and tell lies as we roasted marshmallows and wieners on a stick.

I’ve not had a wiener roasted over a fire, or a toasted marshmallow in years, but I can taste them now, but I think what was even better was a potato, rolled on to the coals to roast, then pulled out, burning our fingers in the process, and drenching it in butter and too much salt and pepper as we scooped it out, often with our fingers, or a stick shaped into a fork or spoon.

Another thing we used to do, back in the days when we we’re less green, or a lot more stupid, you pick your choice, was a bit more dangerous, but in its way a lot of fun.  Years ago, many people had heavy lead or other metal pipes in their houses and outbuildings for drainage.  These pipes were pretty thick as well, and often there was a lot of this around as scrap.  Well we had a piece about yay long (imagine me stretching my arms out :P).  We had it balanced against something, perhaps nothing more than a forked branch, I forget, angled out over Snook’s Harbour. The other end was pressed down into our usual fire pit, with the end underground.

Well we’d gather up spray cans that were nearly empty, bags and bags of them sometimes, and light our fire.  Once it was going good, we’d drop the cans into the pipe like a mortar and run off a little and watch.  Of course once they heated, they’d explode and shoot off over the harbour like a shot, making a huge bang.  What was best was shaving cream cans as they’d trail white foam as they shot off, or WD-40 cans as they’d go off like a flare!

Of course times have changed, and we’ve gotten smarter as well as older, and realize this hazardous not only to ourselves, but bad for the environment.  But sometimes there’s something to be said for being young and stupid too.