Speaking of “campfire” tales, this little ditty is all about the campfire.
We all enjoy a drink around the campfire, whether it’s a carbonated soda, orange juice, or beer. I make a point of bringing only aluminum cans with me so I can pack them out and recycle them at home. They’re worth a whole five cents where I live.
I remember a campfire where I was determined to burn my aluminum cans. I gathered armfuls of dry hardwood, and built a small fire pit with granite stones banking on all four sides to capture the heat.
After I made a thick bed of hot coals, I lay several cans on the coals and placed a row of thick birch logs over them. I sat back to watch patiently, adding more fuel as the fire raged hot and bright.
It seemed that the cans were burning. Flames danced on their outer surface, and they glowed with the brightness that suggested they were at last oxidizing.
Yet after the fire was finally doused, there they lay, worse for wear, yet nearly completely intact. Maybe one or two had shriveled into a metal glob, but no aluminum had been reduced. I was left with a mess to clean up by myself.
So it always intrigues me when I see fellows blithely toss their empty cans into the flames. On the Dungarvon, there were fourteen of us, and several otherwise enlightened drinkers pitched can after can onto the fire.
“That’s not going to burn, you know,” I politely pointed out, not willing to risk offending folks I had just met earlier that day.
“Oh yeah, they’ll be just ashes in the morning.” So I sat by and let it pass. I wasn’t going to make a stink in front of all these people who had invited me along on the trip.
Sure enough, the fire pit was a huge mess of blackened aluminum in the morning. I only hope at least one or two of them checked the fire and learned the error of their ways. It’s hard to say, the hungry blackflies were out early and everyone was in a hurry to get their tents struck and their bellies filled before the show got on the road again. I did my best to clean up the mess, but it was a dirty, dirty job.
Next time, I’ll make a friendly little bet with the beer can burners. Especially if they insist the cans will burn.
“I bet a dozen beer that your cans will still be there barely scorched in the morning. If they’re not burnt, you won’t have to give me any beer, you just have to pick up the cans and pack them out in your boat.”
I’ll let you know who wins, and whether buddy cleans up the mess.
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