Backyard Camping

Camping in a Tent Under the Stars and Milky Way GalaxyWhen I was a kid, my parents never sent me to summer camp, but they did allow me to set up a large tent behind our house on weekends. They would let me invite a few friends over to spend the night under the stars in our backyard.

Each kid would bring over snacks, like Oreos, potato chips, or candy, although George, who was a vegetarian, always brought homemade spinach chips that his mother made. Truth be told, they weren’t as bad as one might think spinach chips would be.

Speaking about being under the stars, one of my friends, Andy, would claim, as we looked up at the night sky, that God had placed all the heavenly bodies in the night sky and that they all orbit the Earth. I thought what Andy said was a demonstration of his credulity with respect to religion and the Bible.

I told my father about what Andy was saying. My father explained that the universe is vast, is expanding, and is not delimited. He also pointed out that the stars and planets do not, in fact, orbit the Earth. And then he gave me a book, an astral guide, so that I could point out all of the planets and stars to my friends.

Apparently Andy told his parents that I had a book that contradicted the Bible and that I was telling everyone that God did not put the planets and stars in the sky. Andy’s parents then decided that he could no longer join me and my friends on our weekend backyard camp outs. I guess they thought my family and I were “confusing” him.

Andy is now a Republican member of Congress.

Written for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (camp, house), Daily Addictions (spinach), The Daily Spur (mother), Nova’s Daily Random Word (credulity), Your Daily Word Prompt, (delimited), Word of the Day Challenge (book), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (astral).

Our Proud Cat

Black CatWe have a cat
A black cat
A black cat with yellow eyes
He’s an indoor cat

We live in the city
We have a small backyard
With a privacy fence all around
Our neighbors store their trash bins next to our fence

We sometimes let our cat out in our backyard
Our cat is a hunter
He quietly and patiently waits by the fence
Where there are very small gaps

And then he pounces
And brings us a present
That he drops at our feet

How proud he is of his featDirty Rat

This post was inspired by fellow blogger Jim Adams in his post about cats and rats. His post was inspired by RayNotBradbury.

Friday Fictioneers — Monstrosity

img_0332“Oh my God, Henry,” Charlotte said. “I send you out to the garage to get rid of all the junk in there so that both our cars can fit and then come out here to find this monstrosity in our backyard? What is wrong with you?”

“Monstrosity?” Henry objected. “This is a work of art, Charlotte. Look at it! It’s worthy of being displayed at the MOMA, for crissake.”

“I’ll not have your junk sculpture spoiling our backyard,” Charlotte said.

“Fine,” Henry said. “But if I move it back into the garage, there won’t be any room for your car.”

(100 words)

Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. photo credit: Ted Strutz



Other Than That, Though


Everyone was looking forward to the fun-filled evening. Family and friends would shortly be gathering in the backyard for the annual Halloween bonfire.

Jack had placed a dozen or so chairs around the large, above-ground, metal firepit into which Stephen had stacked the nicely aged logs on top of kindling sticks and easily got the large fire started.

Maureen filled the cooler with ice. Mike tapped the keg. Frank stocked the patio bar with the liquor, various mixers, and the wine.

People started showing up decked out in their colorful and creative Halloween costumes shortly after 9:00 and by around 10:30 there must have been around two dozen revelers filling the yard.

Tommy’s job was to keep the fire blazing, both for warmth and for light. But he’d been drinking heavily since the party started. Maureen was the first to notice that the fire was fading. She looked around for Tommy and finally found him standing by himself nursing a beer and smoking a joint next to the house.

Maureen walked over to Tommy and pointed out that he needed to tend to the fire. He shot her a dirty look for interrupting his solo reverie, but went to the garage to get some more kindling and logs. Unfortunately, there was no kindling left. So he threw half a dozen logs into the wheelbarrow and wheeled them out to the firepit.

He took four of the logs and tossed them haphazardly into the pit. He pulled out his Zippo lighter, flicked the flame on, and tried to get the logs to catch fire. But he couldn’t get the fire going again.

In his state, Tommy probably should have asked one of the others for some help, but he was quite inebriated and stoned, which is why he didn’t. Instead, he figured out a way on his own. He headed back to the garage and found the can of Kingsford Charcoal Lighter Fluid that the family used for the barbecue grill.

Excited, Tommy ran back out to the firepit, opened up the can of lighter fluid, and sprayed it liberally all over the four logs. He then took out his Zippo, flicked on the flame, and touched it against the nearest of the four logs.

The instant the small flame from the lighter pressed up against the lighter-fluid drenched log, the explosion of flames engulfed Tommy.

Other than that, though, it was a good Halloween party.

This post is for this week’s photo prompt from Sue Vincent.