Because of doing this blog, I think of more things in everyday life that pertain to survival. A couple of things come to mind concerning the practical use of fire from this past weekend when I was at a large family reunion.
Friday evening several of us were setting up tables and chairs in a camping lodge building in anticipation of the next day’s big dinner. A couple of my sisters-in-law and their teenaged children fixed supper in foil packs cooked over a grill. Hamburger balls, sliced potatoes, small carrots, chopped onions, and mushrooms were double wrapped in aluminum foil for each of us. S’mores and roasted marshmallows comprised dessert for those who wanted it. The meal was simple and very good. Everyone enjoyed it. Close to 20 people had to be fed, and the process of preparing and distributing the cooked meals took longer than I anticipated, but no one was in a hurry. It demonstrates that if a family gathering can be fed in such a simple manner, a smaller group, such as a single family, certainly can be. I assume in the absence of a grill, cooking over coals would do satisfactorily.
The next evening the women and girls were at a wedding shower, while the men and boys had a wiener roast in my father-in-law’s back yard. A couple of years ago he acquired several large chunks of concrete from a neighbor who was renovating property. The concrete pieces were arranged in a circle several feet across to make a fire pit. Wiener roasts have become a common event there when weather is suitable.
As we sat around the fire, waiting for it to die back sufficiently for cooking, one of the men made an interesting observation. He started by asking, “What attracts men to fire? How is it that men can sit around a fire and talk at length? I can’t imagine seeing women doing that.” The rest of us agreed, and the conversation moved on.
My mind stuck on that thought for a while though. I was thinking how men sit together and discuss big ideas and ponder unfathomable concepts, just as we were doing with our wide ranging conversation, which I found to be very enjoyable. Though we cooked our hot dogs and marshmallows, the fire was incidental and served mainly as a gathering point in this instance. We could have just as easily heated our dogs in the microwave. In that setting though, we would have probably broken up and had little meaningful conversation. The TV might have been turned on, blaring its mindless, disjointed drivel. Boys would have gone into another room to play games on the computer.
As for women and fire, I suspect theywould use fire with more utilitarian considerations in mind, such as for cooking, of course, but also in survival situations for heating water for domestic chores, etc. Yes, they would carry on conversations, but on much different topics from those of the men. Whether it would be the events of the day or family gossip, the fire itself would be put to good use, I’m certain of that.
I thank God for the basic simplicity and usefulness of a good fire.