I love a good fire.
I don’t mean a grass fire or house fire. I wouldn’t love those fires at all.
But our little fire pit makes our porch one of my favorite places.
We don’t do anything that special. We have some chairs and a little fire. My wife usually makes s’mores. But other than that, the fire is nothing special.
Of course, that isn’t exactly right. The fire actually offers one of the most special things my family rarely gets - unplugged, undistracted, unscheduled time with each other.
Usually when we are home “together,” someone is outside, downstairs, on a computer, cooking dinner or otherwise detained in such a way that they might as well be 100 miles away.
But when I light the fire, everything stops. No one has a phone, video game or computer. All we do is talk to each other and maybe roast some marshmallows.
We have even made getting ready for a fire a family outing. We go on a walk in a park where limbs have fallen and collect all of the kindling we need.
It’s a great way to spend time and save money.
Our fireside chats are funny to me because my athletic career didn’t include Heisman Trophies or World Series rings.
Thanks to injuries, the only sport I played after my freshman year in high school was tennis. Until then, I played football, basketball and baseball.
I was never great at anything. I started and played most of each game. I did some good things, but no opposing coach ever thought, “We might win if we control that Bush kid.”
I was big, physical and tried hard. Those aren’t bad qualities, but they’re nothing to brag about.
But my boys love hearing stories about what I did. They don’t care if it is a touchdown in a third-grade football game played in mud so deep our shoes were being sucked off by the sticky stuff. They also like stories about home runs I hit or the game where I hit a shot from half court at the end of the first half and again at the end of the game. (That was before the three-point line made it to sixth-grade basketball, so I only got four points for the feat.)
I love telling the stories and the boys love hearing them. But most of all, I love that we all just sit around a fire in the dark with nothing coming between us.
Some months we huddle around the fire for extra warmth, other months we stay back from the fire on hot summer nights. But we almost always find a way to spend an hour or so out there a couple of times a month.
When my wife wanted to buy a fire pit, it was a lot like other times we had gone shopping. I had no idea why I would spend money on something like that, but it wasn’t expensive enough to argue about.
That small investment has brought me value I couldn’t find anywhere else.
There is plenty of time when the sun is shining to work.
Make time for your family. It is the best investment any of us can make.
Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta, Kan., Gazette.
Kent Bush: Fireside chats become valued times
I love a good fire.