Electrocution or Burning Down the Harbor

I was going to write about the time my wasband (ex-husband) tried to electrocute a squirrel with an electric frying pan but I need to talk to him first to get the facts straight. It happened when we were married so it has to be at least 25 years ago. I also want to ask him once and for all–WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

Instead I’m going to write a short little story of how my son almost burned down the local harbor.

He was about 10 or 11 and it was February vacation and he wanted me to bring him and his bike to town so he could visit a friend. I wouldn’t let him ride his bike to town yet. It was a four mile ride and I felt he was too young. So I dropped him and his bike off at his friend’s house and went to work.

A few hours later, he walks in the door of my store. As the door opens I can smell a burnt sort of smell. Behind him is a policeman. I’m thinking, “Oh Lord, what has he done now”.

damon-1988.jpgHe looks so innocent in this photo.

He and his friend decided to go to the local grocery store and buy a cigarette lighter, which the clerk willingly sold to them. Then they drove their bikes to the harbor. They started lighting little things on fire that they found, pieces of paper, rags and just throwing the stuff up in the air and having a grand old time.


Well, suddenly a swath of grass caught fire, which they didn’t immediately notice until the fire was about 10 feet by 10 feet. They had walked a short way down to the water for a minute. When they realized what they had done, Damon’s friend bolted. Damon took off his brand new Bruins winter jacket that I bought him for Christmas, ran down to the water and soaked the jacket and ran back to try and put out the fire.

Someone must have seen what was happening and called the fire department. By the time they showed up, my son had successfully put out the fire with his jacket.

As the policeman told me the story, I didn’t know whether to be angry or proud. The fact that he stayed there alone to put out the fire was very brave of him. He must have known if he stayed he would get caught.

The policeman said there would be no charges filed. I wasn’t even thinking of charges being filed at the time. He also said there would be no fee from the fire department. That never even crossed my mind. The policeman actually thanked my son for staying and facing the consequences and putting out the fire.

I did ground him for the week. I almost hated to do it. But he never should have been playing with fire in the first place. But on the other hand I was proud of him for not bolting like the other kid did.

Unfortunately, he didn’t learn his lesson about playing with fire. A year or so later he did it again but that’s another story.



He is now 26 years old and hasn’t set any more fires- that I know of. ♥



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Little Miss
    Feb 02, 2008 @ 14:32:53

    Your son is a good kid, now adult. From what you write, I can tell that. He’s like his mom – good heart, good soul. My brother was similar. Used to play with matches. Lit up a whole back yard hillside of iceplant when he was about 8. Maybe he thought ice plant wouldn’t catch fire because of the name. Hmmm.


  2. moonbeammcqueen
    Feb 02, 2008 @ 20:08:07

    Awww…those moments when you don’t know whether to kill them or kiss them (or both).

    Please, oh please, ask the wasband for the details on that squirrel story!


  3. Wendy
    Feb 03, 2008 @ 01:06:50

    I wish that in high school they have given us a textbook titled: Parenhood, The Horror Of It All. Because nobody ever warns you about this side of parenting, you just walk into it like a lamb to the slaughter.


  4. David
    Feb 03, 2008 @ 14:40:52

    My parents never found out about the dumpster I started on fire outside a Food Fair supermarket in New Haven (circa 1966). My friends and I thought it was fun to throw wooden strike-anywhere matches at the pavement with enough force that they’d light. As we were walking by the dumpster to go into the store, I tossed one of the matches which I’d thought was a “dud” into the dumpster. When we came out of the store some time later the dumpster was “fully involved”. Now that I think of it, it could just as easily have been some other idiot tossing a cig butt, however I’ve always assumed it was me. How’d that go? Play with matches, or don’t play with matches??


  5. Wendy
    Feb 03, 2008 @ 14:53:46

    @ David – I definitely think it was you, not a passerby. 🙂
    Those wooden matches your talking about were child-friendly. They were like “learning” matches, a good sized match with a lovely crackle when it lit, and they were so easy to use. It was great fun to light them on your zipper like the cowboys did. At least, that’s what we did. My uncle was a lobsterman in Maine and whenever we’d visit, my cousin and I would stand around this pile of old rotting lobster traps and buoys and light matches off our zippers. We were 9 or 10 at the time, and whenever somebody saw us doing it they’d just yell, “Hey, knock it off!” and they never stopped us.

    We also used to play with my uncle’s boat gun, because as everybody knows, lobstermen always keep a gun handy onboard.


  6. Wendy
    Feb 03, 2008 @ 14:58:28

    I only meant to Italicize boat gun, and I should also note that nobody ever made us stop playing with it. All anybody ever said was, “Hey, quit wasting bullets!”


  7. dragonfly3085
    Feb 03, 2008 @ 20:20:16

    This is hilarious!! I love the new england stories of adults not telling kids to cut it out because I was never told to cut it out! I once played with my dads BB gun (before I graduated to the shotgun or bow) and instead of being yelled at for not asking permission I was told to go set up the bottles so I can shoot at a real target and not air.
    Also, I once shaved all of my barbies hair off then placed styrofoam cups around their bodies and lit them all on fire, then buried them in the back yard. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know but I did it in the basement and probably inhaled some seriously toxic fumes. I’m pretty sure I was a little disgruntled at their perfect hair & bodies. Damn Barbies… so whoever buys my fathers house might dig up a barbie graveyard.
    My point is…. I think everybody plays with fire & matches at some time. 😀


  8. teeni
    Jun 07, 2008 @ 01:47:12

    Wow – it must run in the family! LOL. He is a cute kid there!


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