American Humor: Humorous Fireplace Lighting Hazards

The Last Laugh column shares MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader submitted American humor. This reader submitted story involves humorous fireplace lighting hazards when setting up and lighting a homestead fireplace.

| December 1997/January 1998

  • 165-096-01
    I've set out to make a blaze. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who couldn't start a fire in a box of matches.
    ILLUSTRATION: TIM HAGGERTY

  • 165-096-01

Last Laugh shares MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader submitted American humor with other readers. Phyllis H. Gubanc shares her story about humorous fireplace lighting hazards when setting up and lighting a homestead fireplace. 

What's a better way to spell "heartbreak"? Start with "hearth." 

You'd think, during those gray wintry days and bone-chilling bouts of endless drizzle, that I'd build a fire in the fireplace. Yet, our fireplace sits cold and empty, with not so much as a wood chip clinging to its cast iron grate.

I've always thought that a crackling little heap of logs creates a cozy atmosphere, and every now and then, overcome by a fit of country "hearthiness," I've set out to make a blaze. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who couldn't start a fire in a box of matches. In fact, I'm fairly sure that the police have permanently removed me from any list of potential arson suspects.



I haul in the logs, make a little mound of kindling, position each log carefully atop the kindling, leave plenty of air space so that—heaven forbid!—I don't smother my fire, and strike the match. Generally, I get a few spits of flame, great gusts of smoke, and hours of sullenly smoldering embers.

My husband, a former Eagle Scout, strides into the room, takes one look at the smoldering mass, fans it a few times with the Sunday supplements, and it roars to life and burns for days. So, one evening when he wasn't home, I grabbed a hefty fall clothing catalog, set to fanning, and singed off my eyebrows. Nothing else caught fire.






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