Wherein the trip goes up in flames. Literally.

So, last Friday was a day that will go down in infamy in my family and will be the topic of conversation for many, many, many years. It will go down as the day we set my little brother and sister-in-law’s yard on fire.

The day started with Logan and I going to visit the historical site of Jamestown. Nothing super crazy. Then we headed home to get some meat smoking and grilling for a little BBQ with some of their friends.

But, before we go there, I have to explain what happened in the interim. My little brother was sporting an epic beard when I arrived. I mean, strangers commented on the regular. But it was time for it to go, but not without some amusement first. So, we carved a magnificent Fu Manchu and some bushy sideburns into that mess for giggles.

Then Logan decided to start up the smoker in the backyard for some ribs. Their house is less than a year old and there’s no deck yet, so he placed it on the grass, which is dry, dry, dry and hasn’t started greening up yet. Nicki and I suggested he move the smoker to the driveway, since the grass looked like tinder just waiting to combust.

About mid-way through smoking the ribs, the heat in the smoker was dropping and we couldn’t get it back up by just adding more coals and wood chips so Logan decided to heat up some coals on the grill in the backyard and transfer them to the smoker in this little gadget he has for such things. A few minutes after adding the new coals  a couple of construction workers working on a house behind them come tearing around the side of their house yelling, “FIRE!”

We look around the house and sure and shit, the yard is on fire and spreading quickly. “Call 911!” Logan yells to Nicki while he grabs a hose to hook up to the spigot. I go out back to see what’s up to find a good seven or eight construction workers out there shoveling dirt on the grass from the dug-out foundation behind the house in an effort to save the new fence from going up while other guys are moving toys and furniture, slapping the ground with shovels, and dumping Landon’s bubbles on the grass. It was a scene. But it was quickly under control, thanks to these guys who were likely thinking, “Shit! We just finished this house! We DON’T want to start over!”

When it became apparent everything was going to be okay, Logan and I took one look at each other and burst into laughter. The kind where it’s hard to breathe. I mean, what else do you do in a situation like this? Nicki’s at the backdoor with Landon, who’d been abruptly grabbed out of his crib lest the back of the house go up in flames, on the phone with 911 shaking her head at us, clearly unamused.

I turned to Logan and said, “Dude, the firefighters are going to show up and here you stand in shorts – nothing else, holding a beer and a hose with that ridiculous facial hair. You look like a damned hillbilly!” That set off a whole new round of laughter as did our thoughts on the conversations the construction workers would all be having that night at home. “So, let me tell you about this stupid gringo who set his lawn on fire today…”

The upshot is that the firefighters told us that burning the grass likely did it a favor – it’ll come in greener and more lush now. In fact, they were headed over to the local horse track to do a controlled (ahem) burn for that very reason. After they left, Logan and I joked we should burn the other half of the lawn for a more uniform look.

For the next few days, every time I looked out, I’d laugh again. What a couple of bozos.


No idea what’s on Landon’s face, but I love how the dog is laying in the burn area
like, “What? I don’t see a problem.”



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  1. Ma

     /  April 18, 2014

    This is definitely go down in the Brokaw History under “really dumb, but funny”.


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    My mother is an encyclopedia of useless information (sorry, ma, but it's true) - no one can beat her at Trivial Pursuit. As I age, I become more like dear old mom everyday. I routinely tell people about resources, recipes, tips, tricks, or websites I've heard about, tried, live by, etc. until one of my clients urged me to start a blog. So here it is! My perpetual ramblings. I hope you find them useful and amusing. If you don't, you can either keep it to yourself or leave me a well constructed critique.

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