The Boy Who Played With Matches: A Memoir

He was only 5 years old. He had been told not to play with matches, of course, for his parents were good people. They made him eat his vegetables and limit his desserts. He wasn't a firebug. Not really. Not a budding arsonist. No pyromania smoldering in his tiny brain. No incendiarism waiting to be struck on the emery. But humans have had a long and intense fascination with fire and so it was with this boy. It certainly wasn't one of the usual motives for fire raising: there was no animosity, no vandalism, no psycho pathological factors, no crime scene concealment, no profit, and no political objectives, like demanding less brussel sprouts and more ice cream.

No, it was just your garden variety fascination with all things “grown-up.” The desire to be an adult. It was probably all that family talk about being descended from Davey Crockett, which may or not be true, but he just had to live in the woods, wear a coonskin cap and hunt bear, and all possible descendants of Davey Crockett know you can't do those things if you can't build a campfire. It's instinctual. Maybe not for you, but it is for all possible descendants of Davey Crockett. And just maybe fire made him feel a tiny little tingle in his tiny little pecker, but I don't really remember, for that 5 year old boy was I.

Into the Woods

There was a great expanse of woods behind our house. It was probably actually something like a copse of woods, but to me it was a forest. There were rickety tree-houses, labyrinth paths, foxholes, and secret tunnels hastily dug by the children, made all the better by the constant danger of collapsing and suffocating the little explorer within. Countless lush memories were grown in its fertile soil.

There was the time the people a mile or so down the road had their pet monkeys escape, about eight of them. My parents read about it in the paper, so we hiked down the road in the direction I had never been before, and there they were, monkey's swinging in the trees just like in the Tarzan movies. I still don't understand why those people had all those monkey's, but at the time all I knew is there were monkeys in the trees. So you can take your copse of woods and shove them up your arse. I've got a forest. There are monkeys in the goddamn trees.

And so when the neighbor kid and I came across the carton of matches in his garage, where else would we go to practice our campfire skills but to my forest, the one with the tree houses, paths, foxholes, tunnels, and goddamn monkeys.

The Catcher in Awry

Murphy's law says that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. He could have said it will go wrong immediately. We carefully constructed our campfire. A clearing was chosen, clear of any stuff that might accidentally catch fire, and built a ring of stones. Our kindling was stacked neatly in the center with larger sticks piled nearby for when our campfire got going. Neither man nor beast remembers who struck the match and held it to the brittle tinder.

What happened next was astounding. The fire paid no attention to our ring of stones at all and immediately began spreading across the ground like...well...wildfire. Frantically we ran round and round the burning ring stepping on flames, children performing a macabre clog-dance of death. The fire simply scooted round our tiny feet, proceeding on its merry way. Clearly, even in duress I could see that we were getting nowhere but fast. I turned to my compatriot and...there was nobody there. The bastard had bailed on me. I did what any 5 year-old boy would do. I ran. I ran and I ran. I ran faster than I had ever run before. I ran like a 5 year old possible descendant of Davey Crockett with a tingling pecker runs from a bear. Straight home to mommy.

Bursting into the house, I screamed, “Mom, Mom, the woods are on fire, the woods are on fire!” My mom, being good people, called the fire department. I went and hid in my room. “Maybe they won't find me forever and ever,” I thought. Soon, the roar of fire engines and police sirens filled the air. My self-imposed exile came to an abrupt end, for what 5 year-old boy is not called to the screams from a gaggle of fire engines flying into the neighborhood?

Gone With the Wind

The sight outside was dramatic. The flames were engulfing the treetops. There were fire engines and police vehicles everywhere, their lights flashing in an unsyncopated rhythm that matched my irregular heartbeat. It was hard to believe that I had caused such an epic sight. Two kids with a red thing on the end of a paper stick and now the world was ending. Maybe they won't think to ask me if I knew who did it?

And they didn't ask. They didn't have to. They knew. How did adults always know the truth? Just like that Murphy guy, damn know-it-all. I was given a serious talking to. But why weren't my parents yelling at me? There should have been yelling. It was confusing. Instead it was a very serious, quiet talk:

“...and you know not to play with matches, don't you?” “Yes, Sir,” I answered my father. “And you see how dangerous fire can be, don't you?” asked my mother. “Yes, Ma'am,” I replied. “And you'll never do anything like this again?” my father challenged.

“No, Sir,” I said. “I'll never do anything like this ever again, cross my heart.”

And I didn't. Not for a whole year, but you know how it is with us possible descendants of Davey Crockett. The call of the wild, the freedom of living in the woods, the damn box of matches in the neighbors garage.

It was virtually an exact replay of the same scene, like a video played over and over, it never changes no matter how many times we watch it. The clearing in the woods. The ring of stones. The match held to the tinder. The arrogant fire. The disappearing cohort. And me running. Running and running, “Mom, the woods are on fire, the woods are on fire,” Mom calling the fire department, the fire engines and police cars, sirens screaming, flames eating treetops, and the talk. This was the first time I heard the word “firebug.” In retrospect, they probably should have whupped the little firebug's ass.

The Grape Popsicles of Wrath

We moved a year later, the woods regrown now, safe from one particular little boy who liked to play with matches. Oklahoma was dry. Dry as tinder. A couple of us were once again trying to be grown-ups. We had found that kite sticks that came with a kite when you purchased it at the store was a very porous wood, and if you lit the end, you would get a nice red ember that you could keep going by sucking on the stick, like a cigarette.

So we were sucking on kite sticks pretending to smoke cigarettes when it came, the bell that calls children as much as the bell of a fire engine: The ice cream truck was coming. When you heard the bell of the ice cream truck you had to work fast. First you had to run home to get money, and then back to the street to maul the ice cream man with your orders of “push-ups,” “drumsticks,” “popsicles,” “ice cream sandwiches,” “fudgsicles,” “bullets,” and “chocolate-covered ice cream bars.”

There was that moment when the bell first rings and everybody looks up and freezes...listening...waiting for confirmation...and then the second ring. Simultaneously, everyone dropped their red-embered sticks onto the dry, thirsty grass and bolted into action, scattering in every direction like rats on a sinking ship.

After purchasing and devouring our treats in the hot Oklahoma sun, satiated with the adolescent ecstasy that comes with consuming unexpected frozen goodies, we headed back behind the houses to retrieve our “stickorettes.” Again, we all froze in unison, not at the sound of a bell but the sight before us: flames. Flames spreading across the lawns of this one-time dust bowl, the circle of fire growing larger, spreading like a rosy welt on dry skin, creeping closer and closer to the houses.

The Quick and the Dead

I showed my usual bravery and quick mind. I ran. I ran and I ran. I ran into the house with the annual cry, “Mom, Mom, the yards are on fire, the yards are on fire!” Mom, being good people, called the fire department. There was no hiding for me this time. No forced exile. Why bother. They knew who did it. It was I. The firebug.

I didn't even get “the talk” on this occasion. It was just “what were you doing this time,” and then after explaining the “stickorettes,” the dreaded parent rolling eyes, followed by the look to the heavens, as if to say to God, “you do something with him.”

It was the old lady next door who saved me. Mrs. Abernathy, bless her heart. While we were waiting for the fire trucks and trying to put the fire out, she was actually fanning the flames toward her house. As my father explained to me, she was having financial difficulties and wanted her house to burn down. The fire had been such an opportunity, such a gift from heaven, that she couldn't resist helping it along. Dad thought that was so funny that he sort of forgot about me.

Fatal Attraction

I managed to go 8 years without an incident, and now that we had moved to St. Louis and I was in high school, you could say that I was a young adult and was expected to have achieved some degree of responsibility. But fire is a sneaky bitch, and she has a way of showing up when you least expect her. “Hello,” she says. “Remember me? It's been so long and you haven't called.”

Once a month a caravan of trucks filled with seafood would arrive and set up on shop on the parking lot of a nearby shopping center to sell their goods. It was fresh-frozen of course—frozen right on the ships and then trucked in from Louisiana—and my parents always filled up on snapper, salmon, shrimp, crab, and whatever caught their fancy, but always the breaded oysters. My father and I loved the breaded oysters.

One particular weekend night, I came home late from a night out partying. My father had left a note for me that read: “Chris, How about some oysters? Mmmm.” He had left the iron skillet with frying grease in it right on the stove top, for my father was good people. I turned on the electric burner underneath the skillet and went to get into my bed clothes. It took forever for those electric stove tops to get hot, you know.

Firestarter

It seemed like I had only been gone a couple of minutes. As I walked toward the kitchen I saw a strange, moving, orange glow coming from around the corner. I slowed down for a second, and then horror registered on my face as the realization hit me: the bitch is back.

I went quickly to the kitchen and the skillet was aflame. A grease fire. I quickly played through my mind what to do with a grease fire, and I remembered. Throw baking soda on it.

Naturally, the skillet was directly underneath the cabinet where such items were kept, such as spices, sugar, and baking soda. I darted my hand in and out of the cabinet, moving items, searching, looking for the baking soda, the flames kissing my arms with each thrust. There it is...finally. I quickly opened package and threw the magical ingredient on the fire and....whoosh....the flames shot even higher, burning in blues and greens like fireworks. I looked at the package in my hand, confused. For the love of God, I had thrown baking powder on the damn thing and it exploded.

I had to get the burning oil away from the wall, so I set a hot pad on the island in the center of the kitchen and carried the pan—hot grease, flames and all—carefully to the island and set it down. I knew that was the wrong thing to do. If I had spilled it the game would have been over, but no harm came from it. “Don't touch anything,” I said to myself. “Let it alone.”

Missouri Burning

Before too long the flames went out. Thank heavens, no harm done. The house was thick with smoke. Fortunately, my parents were still asleep with their door closed, but what to do with all this hot, smoking grease?  I knew I couldn't just pour it down the sink, and I knew that you were not supposed to put water on a grease fire.   What to do, what to do?   It came to me.   Nobody ever said anything about putting water on hot grease.   Grease that wasn't on fire.  So if I set the skillet in the sink and let just a trickle of warm water run into it, it will eventually wash away all the hot grease.  So that is what I did.   Everything was fine.

I went around the house as quietly as possible opening every window. Once I had the place aired out, I'd close the windows, and nobody would be the wiser. I was going to get away with this. I opened the last window and headed back toward the kitchen. Rounding the corner, I stopped in my tracks. There was that now familiar orange glow, except it was brighter, more furtive, and ...oranger than before.

I hurried to the kitchen. The damn thing had reignited. Nobody ever told me that. Nobody ever told me the grease fire would restart. The flames were moving up the wall behind the sink, burning the wooden roll-up shade that hung there. I turned on the water and, cupping my hands, tried flinging water at it. It wasn't enough. The flame was hungrily eating the shade now. I needed something big.

I hustled into the garage looking for a bucket, a container, anything. There was nothing. Finally, I spied a clay pot for plants. I grabbed it and hurried back to the sink. The ceiling was burning now. I held the pot under the faucet and flung its contents at the fire. Nothing. I did it again. Nothing. What the hell is wrong with this thing? I looked into the pot. Oh...yeah. Clay pots have a big hole in the bottom for water drainage. I forgot. At that precise moment, the glass globe on the ceiling exploded from the flames and the heat. Game, set, match.

 

Awakenings

I then did what any 16 year old young adult would do. I ran. I ran and I ran. Straight into my parents bedroom. “Mom, dad, the kitchen's on fire, the kitchen's on fire!” My mother mumbled, “Mmm God,” and then she rolled onto her other side but made no effort to get up. My father sleepily grunted, “For heaven's sake,” and he very slowly sat up and started to put on his slippers. What the hell was wrong with these people? “Hurry,” I gasped! Dad moved slowly to the walk-in closet and disappeared inside. What the... I half expected Rod Serling to come out in my dad's place. I mean, Rome was fucking burning and these people were getting ready for a barbecue. And they intended to arrive fashionably late.

Dad finally emerged—oh, it seemed like about 10 minutes later—wearing a bath robe. I couldn't stand it. I was jumping up and down like a cat on a hot plate. “Hurry! It's on FIRE! I'm not kidding! It's burning!” All he said was, “Just settle down.” Oh, fine. Just settle down, he says. Ok. Hold on “fire bitch”, the ice man cometh, it's just going to take him awhile. I am imagining the flames licking through the roof, illuminating the black night, and this man...this stranger...is out for a stroll in his jammies down the hallways of the old folks home.

Was I speaking another language? Why couldn't I make my parents understand that the—read my lips—house - was - burning – down? Dad stopped at the hall closet, removed a towel and casually threw it over his shoulder, continuing on to the kitchen, which had turned to bright, pulsing red, a frenzied dance of shadow and light. The ceiling was burning good now. He calmly went to the sink, wet the towel, and began tamping out the flames with the wet towel. It was over in 60 seconds.

The Silence of the Lambs

We stood there in silence, my father and I. Debris—glass, charred bits of drywall, paint chips—littered the floor.  I went to the garage, got the broom and swept up the mess, all in silence.   The room was ruined, but at least you couldn't see through to the outside anywhere.  I felt horrible.   How could things have gone so awry?

Finally, my father broke the silence: “You want some oysters?”   For my father was good people.

The next day, my mother said to me: “You should have thrown that burning grease on the linoleum.   I need a new floor, too.”  For my mother was also good people.

It has been more years than I care to say since then, and I have had no major incidents.   I still have a thing for fire, I guess.  I won't cook on anything but a gas stove top because you can see the flames.   I like candles and have them everywhere. I use them too, and have even made my own.   I have a bit of land behind my house and we are allowed to have campfires and such.  There have been many marshmallow roasts, the “fire bitch” finally tamed, bending to my will.

There was one near miss. I had used gasoline as a starter which you are not supposed to do, and I guess I used a little much. Standing about 15 yards away, I threw a burning stick at the gas-soaked mound and it was like a bomb. The flash of flames hugged the ground and quickly moved outward in a circle. I saw it coming but there was nothing to be done. It engulfed me and then was gone.  All the hair on my legs was singed off except where my socks and my shorts were.   From just above my ankle to just above my knee, as pink and new as a 5 year-old possible descendant of Davey Crockett's bare bottom.

So I've kicked that nasty fire engine habit... knock on porous, dry, ignitable wood.   I wonder what mom and dad would say, for they were good people.

 

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Comments 137 comments

rockinjoe profile image

rockinjoe 7 years ago from Standing right behind you!

Um, Chris, about that barbecue invitation I sent you.....


Em Writes profile image

Em Writes 7 years ago from Upstate NY

You're an amazing storyteller, Christoph! Not sure that an ass-whuppin' would've done the little firebug much good, but sure am glad that he lived through all of his misadventures with the fire bitch and is here to tell the tale.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

God, how this made me laugh Christoph, I giggled all the way through it. You remind me of me, only worse. My friend and I as kids were always lighting campfires, and then one day we built a den of planks of wood propped against an industrial greenhouse roof (outside), and covered in brushwood. Thinking it would be fun I touched a lit match to some of the brushwood, never thinking it would catch light. Suddenly the whole den was on fire, and we were running through the derelict greenhouse trying to grab the only water we knew of, (an old watering can full of it). We ran back with this and poured it on the fire and managed to put it out, but it scared us half to death. Never again!!!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

rockingjoe: Yea? What? Is there a problem?

Em Writes: Hi Em! Great to see you. I've been meaning to drop my and say hi. Thanks for beating me to it. Naw, a whuppin wouldn't have changed anything. I've got lots of stories about those woods. I've got another one in mind, but it's kind of painful!

Thank you for the compliment! It is appreciated!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Misty: Good to see you! That's what I kept telling myself, "never again." But it didn't take with me. Glad I could tickle your funny bone. Thanks!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

The fascination never truly ends. I still love lighting fires for when we are camping, or to light my parents fire in their fireplace. Mesmerising, warm and addictive. (wouldn't want to burn houses down or anything like that though !!)


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

that was very, very funny (-:


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia

G'day Chris. Mate, matchless , no really I mean it. You should be kept matchless.

Fair dinkum now, a really captivating read. Very relevant for us at the moment we are having a bushfire time as we speak. :-[)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

LondonGirl: Thanks for dropping by and the compliment.

Ag: Aw...heck. I can have matches if I want! Thanks for stopping in and the comment.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Christoph, I'm sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. Honest. This hub made me cry one minute and laugh the next till I simply ended up with tears flowing for reasons I wasn't even sure of. This is beyond outstanding. It's magnificent.

After the kitchen fire, when your dad asks you if you want some oysters...ROFL! It doesn't get any better than that. :D

It reminds me of something similar that happened years ago. I turned a stove burner on with a pan of grease, I left the room for just a few minutes, and when I returned the kitchen was in flames. Once the fire guys left, my husband was sitting on a bucket in the middle of the kitchen floor, and we were looking around at the black charred cabinets and walls. Out of nowhere he says, "If you didn't want to cook dinner, all you had to do was say so." lol!

Those experiences had to be quite traumatic for you. :( Poor guy. At least you tamed the fire bitch.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Ahh...a lady with class! I laughed at your husbands line. That's also an instant classic!

Yea, it's odd. I had tears in my eyes too, writing it, and not exactly sure why. Something to do with my parents, I'm sure. I only meant to try to be funny. It has been a long time, and these experiences have long ceased to mean anything to me except funny stories to tell.

Thank you so much for your generous compliments! Truth is, I worked more on it than I usually do, and I'm very happy with it (at least for now--I'm sure I'll feel differently in a few days. I always do!) so it's nice that it is appreciated.

More than that, I don't know how to respond to what you said. I'm not worthy of such praise, I guess, and at a loss for words. I can say...Thank you, you sweet gorgeous woman, you!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

C.C. Oh, yeah? And who's gonna give it to me? You? Bring it on, boy!

Anyway, I do want to thank you for stopping by and threatening me.


Em Writes profile image

Em Writes 7 years ago from Upstate NY

Chris - this hub made me think of events of my own childhood, and I threw together a quick hub to share.

Oh, and I found a little present for you on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-Vv0MeDt8A


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

You're more than welcome, and you should feel very good about this one. I'm still very moved by it. And it is odd because you are so incredibly funny through the whole thing from beginning to end, but there's something else there that is just so very moving. Maybe it'll come to me later.

This I know now, I've read tons of books in my life (shampoo bottles too), and this hub blows many books by accomplished authors way out of the water. And know this, there are too many smart writers here for me to be talking smack or whatever it is the kids say these days that indicates not telling the truth. ;)

I'm off to snooze. :) Thanks again for a great read.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Em: I love it! I'm a huge fan of Beavis and Butthead. It's interesting, my father was too, which was amuzing in itself, but he would do an awesome impression of them, and he would do it in fancy restaurants and have the waiters falling all over themselves laughing, because here's this old guy going, "he, he, I am the great cornholio!"

Ok. I'm comin' over to read. Put on some coffee, would ya?


Em Writes profile image

Em Writes 7 years ago from Upstate NY

My dad loves B&B, too. We used to watch it together when I was in high school/college. He's generally a very straight laced guy, but he'd laugh at Beavis & Butthead 'til I thought he'd pee himself. It was some great father-daughter bonding time. :D


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Pam: Wow. Again, I humbly say thanks! May your sleep be full of sweet dreams.

Em: I watched with my dad too, but we watched a lot of stuff. It must have been very special for you.


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

Classic. I withdraw my name for any consideration to be a muse.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

goldentoad: Let's not be hasty. Maybe I stole it.

Thanks for reading and the comment!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Christoph, it's high time to revive family television with a new show in the style of Leave it to Beaver. How does the title "Lit by a Firebug" grab you?

Seriously, this hub ranks right up there with "Stand by Me" in my book. I love it all, especially the descendent of Davey Crockett subtext. And I gotta say, you have the coolest parents ever!


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York

I should recommend your name for the title 'King of comedy'. I kept laughing all the way down till the end and just when I thought it was over, there came the final blow followed by a fresh bout of laughter. I really needed this after a stressful day. Thx firebug. LOL


Tracy J profile image

Tracy J 7 years ago from Missouri

I use to be a stick thrower but now I find flaming arrows more fun and safer to get the bonfire party started.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

"Lit by a Firebug." I like it. Actually, it would make a great name for an updated "Leave it to Beaver" show. Now, of course, the Beaver gets into more serious trouble, because that's just the way it is. You're in California. You can sell it! There are so many channels, and they are desperate for programming.

Are you referring to the movie "Stand By Me?" That is one of my favorite movies, and you've hit a nail on the head. That movie reminds me so much of my childhood it's a little uncanny that you would say that. And what a compliment! Thank you! My parents were pretty cool. Whenever I would hear other kids talking about how they hated their parents, I just couldn't grasp it. I guess I thought everybody's parents were the same. And the Crockett stuff is true. It was my mother's maiden name. I set about tracing our family tree once to try to find out, and then I thought, but if it's not the truth, I don't want to know, so I gave it up. I have learned since, that Crocketts family tree is still got huge gaps in it that nobody has been able to piece together, but his folk were Irish by way of Scotland. So, if it is true, I am 100% Irish.

Anyway, I do prattle on. Thanks for reading and your kind words.

Anjalichugh: Thanks for stopping by for the read. Congrats on the hubnugget. I enjoyed it, as I said on your hub. Glad I could lighten up your day with some laughs. I appreciate your time and generosity!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Tracy J:  Do you really?  I have often thought about that.  I don't have a bow and arrow, but it would be easy enough to get one.  Of course, knowing me, I would probably hit the house and burn it down. Thanks for stopping by and the comment!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Christoph - you're a riot! Light My Fire isn't your theme song by any chance, is it? You know the ...try to set the night on fire bit?? You captivate - from beginning right through to the very last word - thanks for lighting up my morning!

Love the subheads!


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Yeah, that reminds me when I was young on the ranch in Wyoming, and my older brother burnt down a haystack, after he and my other brother stole the old man's cigarettes.

Thanks for the story and the memory. I loved seeing him getting his butt wooped!

Keep on Hubbing!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

I absolutely loved this hub Chrisoph - roared with laughter , worried about the thrashing the small descendant of Davy Crockett might get and loved your parents attitude to you - particularly the breaded oysters incident!

When I was four years of age I had some incredibly bonding moments with my father (who died a year later) that were involved with me and my twin brother burning down of the side fence between our house and the local presbyterian church and also the very large wood heap - and it is quite amazing that I have such vivid memories of this going "over the knee with the hairbrush" when in actual fact I don't have a lot of memories of him because of his young death... however the hair brush didn't fix my problem - still a fan of the fire but not of fire bugs....

another good one - as always... thanks


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Shalini: There you are! You're missing, you know? Never was a Doors fan. Now, James Taylor and Fire and Rain and you're talkin'! Glad I could ignite your day, get a little combustion going, and prepare you to burn the candly at both ends. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Don't be such a stranger!

eovery: Thanks for having a read. About the haystack...I guess he didn't find the needle but he found the whip! Thanks for the comment!


dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina

I've been so busy at work lately that I have missed (I'm sure) lots of good stuff at hubpages...I'm so glad I didn't miss this. I agree with Pam R - "...this hub blows many books by accomplished authors way out of the water." I kept thinking as I was reading (no offense to Hubbers!) this should be on PAPER - on PAGES - not just on an online writing site. Christoph, this is literature. I think you are one of the funniest writers on HPs and love a good laugh when I read your hubs, but this one really almost made me cry - in a good way - but I can't say I was laughing. Awesome. Just awesome.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

ajcor: Always great to see you! Thanks for your kind comment.

Going over the knee with a hairbrush is something one would tend to remember. Were you and your brother little terrors, or just the occasional mishap? It is funny though, the things we always remember from when we are young compared to the massive amount of things that we forget.

Glad you were entertain, which I am always happy to do. See you again soon!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

we were little terrors and not the only ones as my older brothers (3) were only 13 months apart and they were equally bad..so there is no doubt about that fact - the stories I could tell....however it can be said that when my father arrived home after a long day at the coalface he would ask my mother "how are the little bar-stewards or even how are the little bathplugs?" that would be us - Pete and me! I guess you could say we were somewhat inventive and busy....


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

dineanne: Gosh. You make me feel so proud of myself. Really. I appreciate your coming by and reading this, and your subsequent comments. I think I'm going to get a big head. The "literature" is particularly meaningful to me, and I appreciate your tossing the word my way. I know what you mean about the laughing/crying thing. I can explain it about myself, but I guess it means something personal to others which only they can explain. I only meant for it to be funny, so it's interesting to see this other thing--this undercurrent--that imposed itself on it.

Well...thanks so much. You've put an even bigger smile on my face, which I didn't think was possible. Thank you!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

ajcor: It sounds like your parents had their hands full. I love those sayings by your dad..."bar stewards" and "bath plugs." That's wonderful. I'll never forget them. (You wouldn't believe how much I now go around saying, "Watch out! I'll point the bone at you!")

My mom was the disciplinarian totally. My dad never raised a hand and rarely his voice. All he had to do was quietly threaten and we ran for our lives. I don't know why since he never did anything. Mom, on the other hand, would chase me around the house with a bull whip. And I was the GOOD one!


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida

Christoph, this warmed my heart. Pun intended. I loved it! It was sweet, funny, and a great read! And two Stephen King references, first the shot of Drew Barrymore from Firestarter, and then the comment made about Stand By Me. LOL! This story did have some Stand By Me quality to it. It was great!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

Bones are good are they not?....and you say You were the good one! Honestly in all truth I can't believe it...must be the great diaspora - all that  Irish in us; is all I can say....the others - read your brothers and sisters -  must have been really really good at whatever they chose to be bad at!!!  lol ...still laughing...


ParadigmShift... profile image

ParadigmShift... 7 years ago from San Jose, CA

Before I forget, as far as theme songs go, I was thinking more like "Ring Of Fire" by Mr. Johnny Cash would be right up your (fire) alley. I learned a couple things from this hub:

1. Being a direct descendant of Davey Crockett does not mean you inherit his skills and good sense.

2. After a few funny paragraphs of fire bug mishaps, a picture of Drew Barrymore in "Firestarter" is freakin hilarious.

3. Smokey the Bear was right.

Great hub!


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Hi Christoph! Amazing story there, and wonderful story telling!! I alternated betwen laughing out loud and cringing at all the fire "incidents"! Your parents could teach lessons in poise and aplomb, too! This was a fabulous read, thanks!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Anna: Thank you for visiting my humble hub, and the lovely comments. It's funny about Stand By Me (or The Body, if you prefer). It hadn't entered my mind at all, but there it is. Thanks again!

ajcor: It was just my brother and me. My sister was 10 years behind me and she doesn't count; she was a doll and everyone adored her, including me. Yea, my brother was very good at being bad. I had bad mishaps. He purposefully did bad things. There's a big difference.

ParadigmShift: "Ring of Fire" works for me. As for your observations: True, true, and true. Thanks for reading and leaving the comment!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Elena: Hi! And thank you for the nice compliments. It's nice to see you here and I hope to get to know you better. Don't think I've had the pleasure. I appreciate your taking some time to read this and the time to leave a few kind words. Thanks!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

You were the good one? What on earth did your siblings get up to?!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

London Girl: Oh, gawd! I don't want to get into it. I will say he was the cause of the only time I ever saw my father lose his temper. It was horrible. Everything I had feared--and we weren't exactly little kids. I had to leave the house, but I could hear everything outside. God, it rocked the neighborhood. There was violence too. I'm not sure what, but I'm glad it wasn't me. My brother deserved it. He had been asking for it his whole life. I only remember that my brother took a swing at my mother and that was all she wrote!


pgrundy 7 years ago

Wow, it sounds like you missed your calling. I'm thinking in this economy you could make a tidy sum by, um, causing 'accidents' in failing businesses.

This is so well told Christoph, it is excellent. You are such a good story teller. You should write a memoir. Thank you for sharing it.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Chris,

This was a scorcher! (LOL!) I thoroughly enjoyed this, and it put me in mind of the time my older brother set fire to the wardrobe. He wanted to try matches out, but didn't want to get caught, so he hid in the wardrobe. The first my Mum knew was when our neighbour knocked to enquire whether my Mum knew about the smoke coming out of the bedroom window! Fortunately the damage was minimal and my brother survived to tell the tale.

This was a great story, well told.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

I had to return to the scene CR, the picture are awesome. I love the Crockett connection too. Great writing cowboy.

Now Crockett was of Scots lineage, not Irish. He came to be here through Ulster, Ireland. The correct term these days is we are of Uslter Scots heritage. The Irish hated the Scots. If you heard this from your family, it probably is true, but not necassarily.

I'll drink a wee bit of scotch to you cousin. Robby Burns day is a comin'.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Laughing through tears at this one...wow!

I can tell that your parents were absolutely beautiful people, loved you unconditionally and were the inspiration for your incredible gift of seeing the humorous side of life. You did a wonderful job with sharing them...thank you.

The trip down Nostalgia Lane was a great treat as well...between the cigarette-sticks, the ice cream man and the eccentric Mrs. Abernathy...I loved it all. It reminded me of Stand By Me as well...with overtones of Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine (one of my favorite novels).

You are such a gem *gives you a big sloppy kiss on the cheek*...thanks for making my day!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

pgrundy: Yes, I see what you mean. My working name could be "Murray the Match."

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your nice words.

Amamda: Thats funny about your brother in the wardrobe. Was he still in there when it was burning? Thank you for the visit and the comment.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Spryte: Wow! So great to hear from you. I am so glad you saw this! I was thinking about you (and Shadesbreath) yesterday, wishing you could read it. All my dreams have been coming true of late!

Such words of praise from you--and I know you don't give them out lightly, so I thank you for sharing that with me. It's nice my parents are coming off so nicely--actually they were mean and cruel (not really, they WERE great.)

Thanks for the big, sloppy kiss, too (ooo, cooties!). I'm glad I made your day. You have made mine too, and it's early yet!

You really are missed around here. I'm sure you are having fun though, and people in your life deserve your time, but dammit, I miss you. Thanks for popping in. It was great timing, at least for me. Take care and thanks for calling me a gem.

If I am a gem, you are the Hope Diamond!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

CC: Thanks for coming back for seconds. It sounds like I got the Crockett thing all mixed up. May family never told me that stuff. I just came across it when looking up Davey Crockett stuff about a year ago--I can't even remember why now. Thanks for setting me straight. I'll have to see if I can find where I got that info again.

Thanks!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Chris, as soon as his stash of Beano comics started smouldering he was out in a flash!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Amanda: So glad he got out of the burning wardrobe. I've never heard of Beano comics. It doesn't sound as if Beano Comics and matches would go very well together.

Thanks for the note!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Interesting story Chris. Fires are very prevalent and scary her in Southern California mountains. I am glad my family and friends have been safe through the last few fires.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Yea. It's such a shame to see those fires in CA. on the news night after night. Glad y'all have been safe!


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

WOW!! You were even more naughty then my younger brother. But then Leo is a Fire sign and you always were "brilliant" in a way. My brother once lit up Diwali fireworks without adequate safety distance and burnt his hand (my mother gave him such a big scolding that till date he remembers it). Thumbs up for a great narrative hub.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Hi, CW! Thanks for coming by. Always nice to see you and I appreciate your comments as well. Have a great day!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Wow, you haven't heard of Beano Comics Christoph!! What, not even "Dennis the Menace??? "How about the "Dandy" comic, that was out at the same time as the Beano, but starred "Desperate Dan" who had a thing for eating "Cow Pie" which had two horns sticking out of it??


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Dennis the Menace, sure.  Is Beano the brand, like Marvel Comics?  I really wasn't much of a comic book reader, though I am a huge fan of old comic strips.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

The Comic that Dennis the Menace featured in was called "The Beano", it was just one comic though, not a brand of comics. :)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Oh, I see. No. Not really familiar with it. Like I said, not too big on comic books. I know Dennis the Menance from the Movies and the newspaper strip. Thanks for clarifying that.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

No problem Christoph :)


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

Christoph you're funny! The Human Torch tames the Fire Bitch. Definitely one for the chronicles. Thanks for a great laugh.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Hi Misty!

Lifebydesign: Thanks for having a read and the comment. Glad I could make you laugh. Stop by anytime!


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

I do hope that you have really good friends on the fire department just in case you get a visit from your old friend again.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

R. Graf: A friend of mine is a fireman in the neighboring town, so maybe I'll get some preferential treatment. I'm not planning on finding out though!

Thanks for reading!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Still a hot hub? How could it be otherwise!! Christoph - I agree with ParadigmShift - 'Ring of Fire' would be a better theme song - much as I love James Taylor, 'Fire and Rain' is too mellow for the likes of you :D


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Shalini: Hey dere! Thanks for the note. I'm actually a pretty mellow guy (in real life as opposed to "hublife".) Sounds like a hub--if it hadn't been done 10 times already! Maybe I can think of a screwey angle? Any ideas? You're good at this stuff!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

A mellow guy with a penchant for setting the world on fire - and you think I'm good at the 'screwey' stuff??? Christoph - you're the guy with the hawt ideas!!! :)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Oh, yeah. I forgot. Oh, and I didn't mean you were good at "screwy stuff," I meant you were good at approaching a story from an interesting angle. You know. Sorry if it came out wrong.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Don't apologise - I just LOVE being called 'screwy' - maybe because I am LOL!!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Oh, good. I like screwy people, unless they're dangerous screwy--like people who start fires.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Great job, I laughed the whole way throught this. You are a wonderful writer and made me feel like I was there watching like a fly on the wall. I loved it.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Glad you saw it and it gave you a few laughs. Thanks for the compliment too. It's always special to get one from you!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Hey Cr, want to do some hubjacking tonight?


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

GM: Sure! I have the Jeopardy test at 8:00 and I don't know how long it will take, but if you're around after that, ab-so-lute-ly!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

jeopardy test at eight huh. Ok till then.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Yeah. I'll probably flunk out fast, but we'll see. Gotta run. Supposed to sign on at 7:30


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

Don't know how I missed this one. All I can say is wow. Just...wow.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Hey, B.T. Well....I'll say it again, coming from you I am humbled. Thanks! I'm kind of humbled in general lately. There are so many good writers here, and I'm just discovering lots of them. Plus I seem to be pissing people off left and right. Getting too cocky i guess. Thanks for your nice words, which say a lot more than they say.


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

How did Jeopardy go? are you going to be a contestant? or a wwriter of questions? hope you went well...cheers


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Oh, man. I sucked the big one. No question I will not be called for the next audition. It's all very fast, and I panicked, but even if I hadn't panicked I still would have done poorly. Thanks for asking though.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

Fantastically engaging and entertaining piece of work, Christoph! I'd forgotten about singeing the hair off my face along with an inch of bangs when a gas stove exploded once long ago; but now... And I hate electric stoves!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Why, thank you, Patty.  Always a pleasure to know you've read something of mine.  Glad you were entertained.

Glad to have brought back your happy memory of an exploding gas stove in your face.  Ah...it's the little things. I hate electric stoves too. You can't tell what's going on. I should point out that the kitchen fire was the result of an electric stove. If it had been gas, it wouldn't have happened, because I wouldn't have turned it on until I was there to watch it.

Thanks again, and I loved your comment!


MellasViews profile image

MellasViews 7 years ago from Earth

hehe, this was too good. I loved the part about Mrs. Abernathy trying to push the flames over to her house. lol.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Mellasviews: Glad to see you. Yea, it was funny. I remember asking my dad why she was doing that. I never really did grasp it at the time, but now I understand perfectly.

Thanks for dropping by and the comment!


MellasViews profile image

MellasViews 7 years ago from Earth

No problem, I always love your hubs... off topic, but sort of on topic... my mom caught a monkey in a tree once. Showed the thing a loloipop and it came down and snagged the pop from her. Then she was able to catch it. Turned out a neighbor who had moved couldn't take the monkey with them.

They let lose a chimp! I think these things go for like $50k now? lol. At any rate the chimp was caught, kept as her pet for about a month, and after long the moneky got nasty, so they had to give it to the zoo. lol.

The chimp actually got hold of a kitchen knife... well if I go any further you're just going to think Im a liar... lol... but it really did. Almost hurt itself, but was okay. It did though flash it through its cage at my mom. lol.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Two Mellas! Must be my lucky day! That is so cool about the chimp. And the chimp with the knife gives me all sorts of visual imagery. "Come any closer and I'll cut you!" Or "Let me out of this stinkin' hellhole, or else!" Very funny. I was saying on one of the Bow hubs (Bow is a chimp and the writer is raising him) that I knew a famous chimp in New York named Skippy. Probably before your time, but he used to be on Letterman all the time (chimp-cam, etc.) He was funny as hell. But the owner/trainer lived with him in a N.Y. apartment. Skippy got too big and turned mean. He had to go live at one of those Showbiz Chimp retirement farms in Florida.

Thanks for the story. "Listen, copper, I breaking out, see!"


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

Hi Christoph - seems the hubjackked hub is duplicate copy and this fact has been raised by misha I think - it certainly was the wrong hub!..... cheers 


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

I just read that. That's funny! Now she really regrets us hubjacking her hub!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

All for a bit of fun that has backfired....Well I think I also found her profile at http://www.xanga.com/ISpeakLife/profile - but on google I also saw another of her hubs..but i rate not unless for for good reasons  - so not going there...cheers


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

It was still fun. Sure turned into a ruckus though. Some enemies were made, I think.


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

which is such a shame - maybe it will all blow over in time - hope so - I wonder if GM has read the latest developments -


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

She will probably think it's all her fault...she's so nice. It's not of course. I'm sure everyone will get over it.


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

as I said earlier in the comments - I found it - had a couple of doubts then thought it had the capacity to be really funny - wrong - bad choice on my part - leesons learned here I think -


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

You know, I think it was a good choice. It just got out of hand is all, but many of those people were new to hubjacking. There were so many people, when usually it is just a few of us. Whatever the results, Mightymom is correct when she says it's the most successful hubjacking ever. It has set a new standard. Ha! Let's do another one! Here's the other thing, I haven't counted lately, but I would guess the comments are approaching 150, if not past it. The hub had zero when we started. The hubscore was 51. Last time I looked it was up to 65--and all that in 24 hours. She never got anything near to that amount of attention before.


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

well something good came out if it - so thats ok - yes we should another! and try beat this record...


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Yes! We've got out work cut out for us!


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Great stuff Christoph. How are you at mixing gun powder?


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Hmmm. Interesting thought. Never tried it. I have emptied the powder out of 50 fire crackers to see how high I could blow a tin can...had a few fire crackers go off in my hand...and been in many bottle rocket fights...but no gunpowder per se. Do you think I should?


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

it's the comment monster striking again! now you see it and now you don't

on no not the gun powder....Pete and I used to empty penny bungers and create mini bombs in milk bottles of course all under the supervision of our 3 older brothers when my mother was at work...


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

What a fantastic story teller you are, Christoph! I loved this.

You certainly were an adventurous little boy! Eating pharmaceuticals, starting fires, etc. Since you're still having a bit of an affair with the fire bitch, I'm a little scared for you. Have you considered wearing asbestos suits?

Your mom and dad sound like very good people, and wise parents. I'm not sure that I could've been that calm in the same situations. Obviously, they knew that you felt bad enough without any further punishment.

I just gotta give you a thumbs up for this story!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

ajcor: Boy, firecracker were lots more fun when you "jazzed" them up a little! I'm assuming that penny bungers were a type of firecracker? Sounds like us. I remember also we'd twist the fuses of many firecrackers together and use them as bombs. And bottle rocket fights were my favorite! Thanks for saying hi!

Shirley: Thanks so much for stopping by. I noticed you were sporting a hub score of 100 yesterday...congratulations!

Glad you read this and thanks so much for the kind words and the thumbs up! It's always a pleasure to have you read something I've written, and then leave your thoughtful comment. I'm sure everyone--like me--appreciates it more than they can express. Thanks!


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Thanks for the congrats! Getting 100 was one of my goals. Still not sure how I managed it, but it makes me smile when I see it.

So does your writing. :)

I don't know if everyone likes my comments, but I do like to let people know that they are being read. That's the most exciting (and nerve wracking) part of being a writer.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

It is. Being able to finish something and get it right in front of people who read it, really gives a writer a boost. I would not be doing as much writing as I am (not near) if I was writing in a vacumn. (Besides, have you ever tried writing in a vacumn? It's all dirty and dusty in there! And when the vacumn is turned on...look out!)


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

Hi Christoph...No comments left on the hubjack!....cheers


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

There are not words to describe, Christph. Am I sad? Am I touched? Am I laughing? I'm so confused, I may take Dolly Parton's advice and try to figure out whether to wipe my head or scratch my back side.

You, my friend, are hilarious. But I'm pretty sure you already know that. I woke up several times in the night laughing about your hubjacking last night. Too bad it got serious.

Thanks for the very long laugh tonight!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

ajcor: Wow. I went and looked a few hours ago and it was fine, but I had noticed she had published a new hub yet did not comment on the hubjacked one. That's a shame. They should have been left on. Who else is talking about it? I must check this out. Thanks for the heads up!

Proud Mom: What a very nice comment from someone, I am ashamed to admit, I do not know well. I will remedy that situation very soon! Really though, very sweet of you to tell me those things.

In terms of how "it's" supposed to make you feel, I think it goes like this: You start off laughing your butt off and do so through the whole thing. Eventually, the tears are flowing because you are laughing so hard. In the end, you continue crying, but you are not sure why. Something about an undercurrent of melancholy, the bittersweet memories of youth and loved ones gone forever. Or you can just say, "screw it" and go about your merry way!

Seriously, I thank you for coming by and the very wonderful comment. You've made my evening (actually, my whole day!)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

Christoph - You'll love the fact that a friend of mine had an electric oven start a sparking fire when she turned the dial the other night - she had to call 911. She may remove the elements and just build a fire inside...


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Patty: Yes, Patty, I love it when your friends almost burn down their houses! It makes me happy. Just building a fire inside works for me. You should try it! Of course, I'll be even happier when ALL your friends set fire to things and have to call my friends at the fire department. Gotta keep those guys busy.

Really, though, it goes to show you that the electric stuff can get you too. Glad she's OK! Thanks for the update. How about a nice big forest fire next time?


PeppermintPaddy profile image

PeppermintPaddy 7 years ago from The vast expanse of creative space (my brain)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Um...Ok. I don't get it.


Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 7 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain

Oh my Gosh Chris this was the best ever. I adore your parents! You are the master weaver of words, I swear. I'm sucking air in horror then giggling then sucking air. I'm gonna have to print this out, my Dad will love this. There were canons and gunshots and explosions and such a plenty in his childhood, he'll relate. I can't relate. I was an angel child, ehm.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Hi, Patricia! Thank you so much! I appreciate your lovely comment, I really do! I'm honored you would want to pass this on to your Dad. So, you were an angel? Or was it that you just never got caught? You can tell me!

Again, thanks for coming by and the wonderful words!


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

I'm in pain -- I laughed so hard at this I'm actually in pain -- I may have to sue -- you've just been struck off the "who would you like to visit" forum topic, though, as it's obviously way too dangerous to be around you --

pain, I tell you, I"m in pain

(language note: you say 'tender' in your part of the world? Makes sense. We always used the word "tinder")


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Teresa:  I've been struck from where by whom?  I must investigate.  Thank you so much for your laughter!  Sorry if I've caused you any pain.

(Note:  Yes, in our part of the world we say "tender,"  but we mean to write "tinder" when referring to ignitable wood, as I'm sure you well know.  You attempt to set a "tender trap" for me, and dangerous game, as I could be tender, or like tinder under such circumstances.  Thanks for the catch, and for letting me know tenderly.)

Thank you for visiting and the lovely comment.  Ah, you hadn't been here before, which is why I felt always felt something was missing!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

I read this magnificent story the day you published. I simply could not leave a comment.

"Eventually, the tears are flowing because you are laughing so hard. In the end, you continue crying, but you are not sure why. Something about an undercurrent of melancholy, the bittersweet memories of youth and loved ones gone forever."

At least I should have been grown up enough to leave a high-five (which would have been only a pathetic show of praise, and this story deserves so much more), if nothing else, but I couldn't and so that didn't happen, because the story hit too close to home. My apologies. I learned a lesson here.

Now it's my turn to bring you an apple.

Your adoring fan,

Sally


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Sally: Thank you. You didn't really have to. I appreciate your thoughts and am glad it affected you, I guess. I fear it may have been painful to you in some way that I can't understand and if so, I am sorry about that.

Thank you for all your kindnesses. I have something to read as well, and some crow to eat.

Chris


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

This is just flat f-ing good writing.  I have no idea how I missed this (yes, actually, I guess I do, you published this during my hiatus), but, that said, dude....  Voice, diction, pace (except one tiny part for like 3 paragraphs... sorry, but u know I'm an ass like that) are perfect, so compelling.  This was a total pleasure to read and I knew I was in for a good one when I caught myself settling my chin onto my hands and taking time with each sentence, enjoying the choices you made with each and just allowing the story to "be."  Really, really good work here man.  I've said it before, but, you can write man.  /salute.

Thanks for an awesome, awesome read.  Honestly, lots of stuff on HP is amusing or interesting, but rarely do I read anything on here slowly and for the joy of the prose.  This probably is your best work on here that I've read.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia

I missed this! Now for the resurgence it deserves. That was so animated. The Fire Bitch. Ha!

You're parents amaze me. You little rascal you.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Thanks, and I know exactly which three paragraphs you refer to. Maybe I'll change them someday. Thanks for reading it and your comments. Your opinion counts big in my book, so I'm thrilled that, for the most part, you liked it. It was kind of a departure for me, to see if I was capable of this kind of stuff.

Thanks again for your comment, Shades. It's appreciated.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Hi Jewels: Yes, I was a little rascal, but I was a good kid. Of course, that was mostly because I usually didn't get caught. Thanks for reading, Jewels, and your comment. (Why do I feel I should be harvesting or something?)


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

How did I miss this?!?! You had me drawn into this story like nobody's business! Considering I'd already read the story of you jumping off the fence (ooh, my stomach is flipping at the thought), this story didn't catch me by complete surprise. I think there's more truth to that davey crockett thing than people give you credit for. Of course, I am (was) related to Johnny Cash, and didn't name my son "Sue".....


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Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Hi Laughing Mom! You're related to Johnny Cash? Wow. Hey, thanks for coming by. I'm really glad you took the time to read it and to comment too. See? I didn't just pick the moniker Dave Crockett out of a hat. Thanks again!


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Laughing Mom 7 years ago

I figured there was a motive to your madness!

And I try to read all your stuff. You keep me doing my very favorite thing in the whole world.....laughing. Ok, well, maybe my second favorite thing. But if I named myself after that, well, let's just say it wouldn't be a good idea. :-)


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Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Well, Laughing Cash has a nice ring to it. Ha,ha. So what is your favorite thing? Hmmmm. Let me think.....hmmmm.


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Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Here's some music while you're trying to decide....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXGhvoekY44


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Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

Look who all has found our little fire starter! *wink*


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Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

What is playing Jeopardy, Alex? Hey...I know what you were doing...tsk, tsk.

Randy: So many fires, so little time.


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Okay, you got me--I can't think of a comeback.


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Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Laughing Mom: No, but I'll bet you can think of a "come on." Woo hoo. Talk to me, babe.


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

I'm a little rusty. Give me a minute.


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Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Since Trace Atkins' "Swing Batter Swing" is playing in the background on the computer, I guess "Can I Take You Home?" is about as straight forward as it gets. I'm not much of a game player.

Here check it out for yourself. Pretty good song. Except that my naive daughter thought it was a good idea to make it the ringtone for my son's t-ball coach. Hubby didn't think it was very funny. I was just shocked.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgAfRX_jdJw


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Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

ha, ha. I think that's funny!


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Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Sometimes real life is funnier than anything you can make up.... Actually, that's just my life in general.


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Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Laughing Mom: You're right, and I think that's true for many people. But I think people such as you and I are more intune to the humorous aspect of things than others.


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Laughing Mom 7 years ago

If you can't laugh at yourself, you're going to sit and cry while everyone else laughs AT you.

Where's Pam BTW? I haven't talked to her in ages!


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Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Laughing Mom: That's so true.

Pam is busy finishing up her packing. She moves house very soon...I'm not sure when, but that's taking up all her time. She posted something about it somewhere, maybe on FB? Anyway, she's just been busy and will be back when she's all settled into her new house.


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Well, if you talk to her, tell her I said hello, would ya'?


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Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

You betcha.

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