It hadn’t been a very unusual day, and for the most part it hadn’t been an unusual night, either. The eight-year-old version of me was perched on a loveseat, sipping on the hot chocolate I knew I would regret drinking later, and my father tossed another log on the fire. Unlike some children, I wasn’t ever really afraid of the flames. I knew what they were and respected them. I was never stupid enough to encroach on their boundaries, but never naïve enough to worry over the horribly slim likelihood of some flame-related calamity.
As the night went on, a few more logs were tossed onto the blaze, the tongues of red and orange consuming them near instantaneously. The inferno was huge now—a bit too big, to be honest, and had managed to catch the chimney on fire. My father, being the person he is, poked his head out the door and marveled at the sight. The majority of us stood gaping at him for being such an idiot, and I assume it was my grandmother who called the fire department.
After running through the entirety of the house to wake my grandfather up, the whole family moved out into the garage. It was times like this I silently thanked fate that our garage was a separate entity from the house. The only issue was that it was currently housing both of our horses as well, due to an issue with wiring causing the heaters in the barn not to work.
Four generations of people all crammed into one small space along with two equines. I’m sure the firemen had a good laugh about that one later on. My great-grandmother was still alive at that time, so her wheelchair was parked in-between the two beasts, the comforter off her bed the only thing staving off the cold. I maintained a good look-out roost on the back of my mother’s horse, his warm hide and a small blanket more than enough to please the girl who loved the cold.
Thankfully, there wasn’t much damage done, but afterwards it was quickly—and unanimously—agreed that my father was never again to be master over a fire.