Tag Archives: Fire

Phoenix Shmeonix, We Have a Pumpkin!

Mythical Birdie

Greek mythology tells of a bird that rises from its own ashes to live again. They call this kind of bird a pheonix.

Personally, I’ve never seen a pheonix, nor have I seen any bird rise up from the ashes of its own dead body – not even that turkey we burned to a crisp one year. I’ve seen some chicken go up in flames, but once the ashes were cleaned out of the grill, that was it.

So, when it comes to freshly-feathered foul flying from the fire, I’m kinda skeptical.

But when it comes to pumpkins, that’s a different story.

Mysterious Gourd

If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I might have thought some muffaletta-munching Greek had been up to another one of his tall tells. Yet, there it was, right there, smack dab in the middle of our burn pit… a pumpkin!

You see, down in a field we have a place where we burn stuff like wood and brush, and the occasional box of paperwork that’s too sensitive too be trusted to a shredder. When not being used as document destroyer, the pit is perfect for cookouts and hanging out while listening to the crackling of the fire on a cool night.

What the fire pit is NOT used for is a garden. On top of that, the last time the fire pit was used, no produce was harmed and no seeds were sown. As a matter of fact the last thing that was torched was about a hundred pounds of sensitive files and a couple of trash bags filled with shredded bills.

So where on earth did the pumpkin come from? Charlie Brown?

Don’t Lose Hope

Here’s the thing: you never know what might unexpectedly spring up from the ashes. Even your wildest imagination may fail to prepare you for what might grow out of the remains of total decimation.

It might be nothing like anything that was burned, not even remotely, but it will have been planted by God and nourished by what you thought was worthless.

I literally don’t know where that pumpkin could have come from or how it managed to grow. However, later on, when I’m eating pumpkin pie, I’ll be thanking the Lord it was a gourd that rose from the ashes, and not a pheonix…

The last thing you want to eat is a regenerating hot wing! 

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Fake Fire

Conclave 2013

This weekend I went with our youth pastor, Daniel Ziegenmier, to Conclave 2013, “a training conference to equip and rejuvenate your youth ministry team.” The great thing was that it was here in our home town, not across the country. 

camp fireWhile strolling through the exhibit hall where various ministries had booths and displays, I came across this neat fake camp fire. The flame in the middle was made of a fabric that fluttered above a silent fan and colored light. From only a few feet away it looked real.

It would have been nice to have one of these back in 1984. There would be less emotional scars.

High School Play 1984

In my junior year of high school the junior/senior speech class wrote and performed a Christmas play. I had a part in everything, from acting to writing and prop design. It was the prop design that had serious flaws.

The Stage

The play was held in the auditorium of Hamill Road Baptist Church in Hixson, TN. The set took up the entire stage where the pulpit usually sat, along with most of the choir loft. It was a big production in a very nice, carpeted church.

Hamill Road had light blue carpet…really nice, comfortable, flammable carpet.

The Set

In one of the scenes the cast went Christmas caroling, so there was a set complete with houses and front doors.

Following the caroling, all the cast went to a house to sit around and talk about the Christmas story. There they drank hot chocolate as they sat around a fire place…

…a fire place in church.

The Prop

It essentially came down to 2 or 3 other guys and myself. We had to figure out how to build a fireplace that looked real enough, but didn’t actually burn wood or gas. Unfortunately, we had no prior special effects experience.

I don’t know if it was Jeff DeHart, Brian Gibson, or myself who decided it was a good idea to take a candle, lay it on its side, notch it out, and expose 3 to 4 pieces of wick. I don’t know who it was, but one of us thought that we could light a candle in front of tin foil, surround it with dry wood, and make it would look like a burning fire place.

Did you know that when you notch out a candle, pull out the wick, light it, and let it burn during a 10-minute scene that the flame would eventually burn through? Nobody told us!

The Fire

I was proud of all of us. Like true professionals, when the fire hit the carpet…that beautiful, baby-blue carpet…we were able to smack the floor with our hands to the beat of another Christmas carol. Nearly in a panic, knowing our semester grades were on the line, not to mention our eternal souls, we put the fire out with our bare hands. Our parents didn’t have a clue.

Providentially, the next to the last scene involved the death of a character and a real casket. Without going into much detail, the layer of smoke created by the fire became a special effect worthy of an Oscar! It was beautiful!

For some reason the air conditioning system didn’t come on, and the smoke spread out like a sea over the congregation.  When the rented spotlight in the back came on, the exposed smoke made the congregation look like an eerie cemetery full of dressed-up headstones. I got chills.

Epilogue

Well, we got a standing ovation and an “A” for the project. Unfortunately, because the play was so well-received, we were asked to do an encore.

That’s when the church burned down…

Just kidding.

 

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