Sunday, April 6, 2008

Family Tradition: Manly Fire

When I was a kid, we had a charcoal cooker in the backyard. On burger night, my dad would make a pile of briquettes in the cooker, douse it with lighter fluid, and light it with a match. But as it was getting going, he employed another tool; he would use a hairdryer like an electric bellows to accelerate the combustion process. Many times I saw him out on the back porch with mom's hairdryer, whipping the coals into a raging inferno. It works unbelievably well.

In my first years of marriage, The M thought I was nuts for using her hairdryer on the Old Smokey. Heck, I thought everyone did it! What do you mean your father never used a hairdryer on the hibachi? It must have taken forever to cook anything.
I remember having a cookout with another newlywed couple and showing them the family trick. Steve thought it was great! Elizabeth was not impressed. That reminds me of a necessary warning. Guys, if you get her hairdryer too close to the fire, the tip will start to melt. And also, the next time she uses it to dry her hair, she may have a pleasant smokey aroma. No kidding.

Just for this post, I went and took a picture of our hairdryer. Sorry the quality isn't the best. If you look at the rim, you can see the left side is bubbly and melty, while the right side is still smooth and relatively unmaligned.

Well anyhow, I have this tree stump in my backyard that I have been trying to get rid of. Today was the third day I tried to burn it out. As I sat there watching it smoulder, an ancient voice spoke to me out of the traditions of my forefathers. "Plug it in, Luke." Something like that.

At this point, it would be reasonable for you to think that I used a hairdryer to fan the flames. And you would be close. Instead I used a leaf blower, and MAN! was it cool! We could get the "coals" glowing a very bright color orange, as you can see. They boys helped me out and together we filled the backyard with smoke. It was indeed good.

Jono takes a turn.

D comes in from upper angle. Can you see the smoke in the air?

If you held the blower right on the coals, they would glow like... like... something really bright!

And lastly, here is some video that D shot with his camera. It's a bit shaky, but he was excited. You can clearly hear Jono say "Papo, can I do some?". D says "Oh gosh." when the smoke gets in his eyes. And oh yes, the fellow with the good lookin' legs in the knee-high rubber boots is yours truly.


Anonymous said...

I just want to say that hand's down you are the best papa out there! Those boys are going to be such great men because you teach them how to be you!! I love you honey.

The M
(it's kinda creepy referring to myself that way, but...I'll go with it)

Redlefty said...

That is epic awesomeness.

And the big question -- did it work? Is the stump gone?

Orangehouse said...

Sadly, the stump is still there. It is definitely smaller and blacker, but also more bitter. It now mocks me when I go out in the backyard.

"Hae huemun! Whas rhong wis yau? Kaent yau boin a stik? Iz yau stoopid owa sompin?"

(Red Oaks are not a particullarly well-spoken species.)