Sundays are Professional Family Days for us. When I say that we have it down to an art, it’s not an exaggeration. A typical Sunday consists of Dad’s famous country breakfast, time outside with the dogs, a grocery trip (or two, depending on how much beer is left in the fridge from Saturday night), dinner on the grill, and inevitably, a bonfire.
It’s pretty perfect. I look forward to Sundays from Monday morning until Saturday night. We will occasionally have a variation on the above-mentioned formula, and that’s ok. But for the most part, my Sundays are pretty much always the same.
Except for this past weekend.
We’d easily gotten through breakfast and a grocery trip without incident. There was even a quick jaunt to Sam’s Club thrown in the mix, just to spice things up a bit. By the time the sun went down, Adam decided it was time to start our weekly bonfire. And so, Daddy, Adam, Brian and I headed out to the back yard, while Mom finished cleaning up the evening’s dishes.
Things started out normal enough. Adam started a pretty low-key fire, burning a few cardboard boxes and an old pallet. We sat around, sipped our beer, and let the warmth of the fire lull us the rest of the way into a full-blown food-coma.
After about 30 minutes (and a few more beers), Adam made the announcement that he had a pile of stuff in the garage he needed to burn. Brian and I glanced at each other, eyebrows raised, as Adam rounded the corner with another pallet and several more cardboard boxes. Dad hummed along with Garth Brooks in his picnic chair, totally relaxed and oblivious to what was coming next.
Namely, Laid Back Adam was now being replaced with Fire Bug Adam. And Dad was none the wiser.
It didn’t take me long to figure out, despite my slight beer haze, that Adam’s plans may go a bit awry. Especially after he launched Pallet Number One onto the already-blazing fire. Brian was right there with me. Somewhere between Pallet Number One and Pallet Number Two, Dad started to catch on, too.
But it wasn’t until Mom (also known as The Voice Of Reason) joined us that panic began to set in.
You see, there’s a small tree that overhangs the fence in my parents’ back yard. And the flames from Adam’s bonfire were just beginning to lick the very bottom branches. Sparks flew up into the night sky each time my baby brother would add a new cardboard box to the inferno. And we’d all been nonchalantly waiting for one of those embers to catch, and for the tree to go up in flames.
Eleven words from my mother and the entire family jumped into action, like characters in a cartoon.
Brian, always prepared, had his phone at the ready, fingers poised to dial 9-1-1 at a moment’s notice.
Adam sprinted across the yard, hauling the water hose behind him, shouting, “Dad! Dad! Go turn on the water!!!”
Mom and I jumped behind Brian, to protect ourselves from errant flames that may decide to dance on our heads.
And Dad stood calmly by the conflagration now threatening his tree and, ultimately, his garage, and directed Adam as to where to point the hose.
Ten minutes later, crises averted, we were back in our chairs around the fire, enjoying our frosty beverages, tree still (mostly) in tact.
I can’t wait until next Sunday.