We are asked for our campfire memories this week. All of mine started as an adult.

We never went camping when I was a kid, although I did commandeer my brother’s pup tent some Summer nights when a cousin would come to stay. We’d sleep there for the night, but no fire.

We had a few big camp fires when I had my sons in Cub Scouts at Scout camps, but they were nothing to write about. The Husband took over for Boy Scouts and the rock climbing, repelling, whitewater rafting, etc. I know that he has stories, to which I am not privy.

We had a great group of parents whose boys were in Scouts with ours and almost all became auxiliary leaders. One time, a camping trip for the leaders and spouses was suggested. I was grateful that they decided on a potluck campfire instead, at a campground where many Scout camp functions had occurred, (Actually, Lincoln’s Boyhood Home).

It was a COLD evening. I made food that was extra hot and wrapped it in a huge bundle. I was left out of the loop, as the other women were in more communication, (that happens to me a lot), and others knew there would be electrical outlets at the pavilion, so they brought crockpots.

The guys made a HUGE fire in the large circular fire place, yet most of we gals could not get warm, even dressed in layers with blankets over us. It was an otherwise enjoyable night, but I was grateful again when we all called it a night.

We were invited to one campfire about a year after we got here. We went to church with people whose children really got along with ours, and they invited us to a [Kentucky] Derby party. (The first and last I ever attended or will, on principle that has nothing to do with the story)

The day of the party the ‘hostess’ called me to ask me if we had clean sticks for the kids to roast their hot dogs and marshmallows. (We have a yard; they had a big piece of property.)

She called again to ask me to bring buns. (There was only a country store with exorbitant prices between her place and ours.)

She asked me how many hot dogs my kids were likely to eat, so I bought more wieners.

She called again to ask me to pick up ice, for which she would reimburse me.
Mind you, she knew that I was already bringing a big cake as the dessert, because besides my family and hers, her mother, sister , brother-in—law, the niece and nephew were coming , plus a couple of her neighbor kids and their mother whom  we  also knew.

My nickname for this woman became “Pearl” as in “Pearl Mesta”, Washington, D.C.’s famous “Hostess With the Mostess”. Mesta’s parties were lavish, attended by celebrities, heads of state and everyone who was anyone in the world. She anticipated every need and want of her guests and made it look effortless. The woman who had the Derby party  was so NOT in the same league.

However, I have ,(and am still making), campfire memories because we have a fire ring in our backyard. It grows bigger every year. My kids enjoyed it all the time growing up and now my grandkids are using it into their teen years.

Campfire backyard

Sometimes we have one kid, often all three. We have had their friends join. We add fallen branches, logs from trees and let brush dry on the stack, so whenever anyone wants a fire, it’s ready, and so are we. I always keep hot dogs in the freezer, beans in the cabinet, plus marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars for S’mores.

When my boys were in Cubs Scouts, we’d also make Hobo dinners for them and their friends. I’d keep hamburger patties in the freezer, and add potatoes, carrots, onions and sometimes other veggies, usually green beans or peas, sometimes cut ears of corn. We’d wrap them with salt and pepper in aluminum foil and put them on the fire. They were always a hit.

We don’t have to wait for the kids, though, if you want to come over for a fire some evening. I have Polish sausage in the freezer; hamburger and thin steaks are there, too, so we can also make Hobo dinners, and jazz them up a bit. I can pull out more sophisticated veggie dishes from there as well, and homemade hummus for dips. There is always salsa and spreads to be had, and a variety of cheeses.

Who says that a campfire can’t be sophisticated?

Come any time!

About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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11 Responses to Campfires

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    love the informal and impromptu feel of the campfires you have now — with kids, friends, family, or whomever. That’s what fires are all about.
    I cringed reading about the woman who kept calling and adding to your shopping list. In such situations, I’m often tempted to say, “tell you what… let ME host this party and YOU buy all the stuff that you’ve instructed me to buy.” Ha.
    As if.
    Never been to a Derby party, so I don’t know much about them. But since I don’t like “dressing up”, I assume I’ll never be invited to one anyhow. Win-win.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, gosh, Jeff, I guess you are too far south. The Derby parties around here are long and loud…and very informal. All day gatherings, often with cook-outs. Lots of drinking usually involved., (so we try to stay off the roads). They often have trike/bike/scooter/whathaveyou races for the kids.(In fact, it is traditional for the Second Graders here to make their own stick horses, decorate visors and run races on the Thursday before the Derby).
      Only a few big parties even in Louisville are gala occasions. You may see the fancy hats in the sky boxes at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, but I was there a full week after the Derby and I will not describe the condition of the, ahem, “Ladies’ room”. It’s a rowdy, drunken crowd down in the bleachers, apparently.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    The fire ring sounds like fun. My brother had one at one of his homes, and I had a good time sitting around that one evening. But bugs love me, and I could only stay outdoors for a short time. As for the Derby hostess, I think I’d find an excuse next time our paths crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could tell you more stories about my [paths having to cross hers.Our husbands got along, our kids loved each other, (their son is still close to one of my sons and he visits me when they are both in town.) Her idiotic responses to my entertaining efforts and her follow-ups are now laughable, but not at the time.


  3. The fires that you have now certainly sound ideal. It sounds like lots of wonderful memories are being made and that those nights are filled with fun and family. Those are the best nights.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s what it’s all about, Angie!


  5. I’ve always loved a good campfire. Used to belong to a primitive camping club where we camped 1700’s style and tried to make everything look authentic for those who dropped by (called a “show and tell” because we had to be up on our history for this). Loved early morning coffee around the fire, late night singing and stories around the fire.

    I’ve been trying to talk Arnie into a fire ring in the back or many one of those raised ones for the enclosed patio, but no luck so far. LOL

    Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’d like to have a raised one, Sharon. I did’t explain in the post that this one started impromptu, as an after thought when my sons and my husband camped out back with another father and son that we knew. It has grown every year.
      I just love the 1700s camping! I’d love to hear more. My husband was a history major and then a social studies teacher for many years.
      Thank you so much for adding to the blog today!


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