Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Slow Down and Smell the Brisket

My sister clipped an August 2006 Guideposts article by Johnny Nix and sent it to me several weeks ago. As the host of the Campfire Cafe television show on RFD-TV, Johnny should know a thing or two about slowing down. He's found that campfire meals are a great way to attract and meet fellow campers.

The concluding paragraph to the article says it all:

Something about a campfire invites people in. Strangers start telling their stories. Pretty soon they're not strangers anymore. When you're outdoors, you get a real connection back to what God has created for us all to enjoy -- good food, good friends, the love of family and a sky with more starts in than their are worries in the world. Cooking over the campfire isn't quick, but that's the point. It slows life down enough to remind you of what's important. So come and join me on the range.
I've long felt that the campfire is an inseparable part of the camping experience. While I know modern campers don't need campfires -- we have camp stoves to on which to cook our Kraft macaroni and cheese, waterproof tents to keep to capture our body heat and the stars to gaze at for entertainment -- I believe they're as necessary a part of the camping experience today as they were when my grandparents were featured on the masthead the San Francisco Chronicle (Monday, July 10, 1922).

A campfire gives warmth. And that's more than heat. For me there's nothing more comforting than to sit around a crackling fire reading my favorite book and gazing at the stars. Camping without a campfire is like a day without food. It refreshes the soul after a strenuous day camping.

I can think of dozens of reasons for burning a campfire. To name a few: campfires give warmth (the heat kind), provide light for that book, burn garbage and food scraps, give a beacon when you walk into the forest to take a leak and hasten the decomposition process so necessary for a lively forest.

But Johnny gives the best reason of all: The campfire is the focal point. It's the beacon that draws fellow campers and gives comfort while enjoying the enlightening comfort of our neighbors.

Hope to see you 'round the campfire soon.

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