I'm just sayin'

Gators, Fires, What’s next?

on July 11, 2012

Did you happen to see the Yahoo video interview with 17-year-old Kaleb Langdale? Kaleb and three of his buddies were swimming in the Caloosahatchee River in Moore Haven, Fla. when Kaleb “came face-to-snout with a 10-foot alligator.” The interview with this 17-year-old had me thinking about where I was at 17-years-old. I don’t mean where I was at physically, but I can tell you it wasn’t in gator territory. I don’t think at any age you could convince me to swim in a river where gators frequent. Really. Even if my friends had dared me or double-dogged-dared me. Or even for the age-old ultimate question, “Not even for a million bucks?” NO. But then I think back to stuff I did do that some people would say they’d never do, “Not even for a million bucks.”

Like the time my little brother and I packed up our scouting gear; canteen, pocketknife, mess-kit and a can of Franco-American Spaghetti and took off into the canyon and fields across from our house. Our older brothers were off building forts and didn’t want us to hang around them so off we went with our gear and built an igloo-shaped fort out of tumble weeds. We piled the dry, thorny bushes about six feet around and tall enough for us to crawl in and sit comfortably. After our hard work it was lunch time. With our trusty can opener on my girl scout pocket knife we opened the canned spaghetti and poured it into the bowl/saucepan combo included in our mess kit. I proceeded to light a fire in our tumbleweed fort to heat our meal. Fire and tumbleweed a deadly combination. Luckily for us, we ran out of matches before we could get the fire going, if we’d only known how easily tumbleweed burns.  I live to tell that story, but it could have ended a whole lot differently. Somehow, my parents overlooked warning us about building campfires in tumbleweed forts. I’m sure it was not included in the parenting handbook. Sure, the don’t play with matches thing came up after I was caught lighting tissues on fire under the bunk bed. But making a campfire to cook lunch I didn’t consider playing with matches. I’m sure my parents didn’t think it necessary to add to the list of daily reminders; Say please and thank you, come home when the street lights come on and don’t build fires in tumbleweed forts. I wonder when you grow up in Florida do parents add to their list; Mind your manners, be home by suppertime and “don’t forget, don’t swim in rivers with gators.”

Check out the interview:–abc-news-topstories.html

PS – As I was just about to publish this post I smelled smoke. I thought how weird is that to have an olfactory flashback and then I saw smoke and realized it wasn’t a figment of my imagination. I looked out back and lo and behold there was a fire down below our house and across the canyon from us. What a coincidence!!! I wonder if it was a couple of kids cooking Franco-American spaghetti?

A fire near Buchanan Park.


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