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

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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