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According to Us

One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

Men are so very different from women. Of course anyone could tell you that.  Men tend to have a certain determination to prove themselves to other men by competing. Sometimes the competitions can get out of hand. Other times they can be just plain silly. Then there are those times that the men are so determined to do something they never give up when  a woman would have called it hours before.

Part of our recent trip there was going to be a contest. Who could start a fire first. The rules were simple. You could only use a knife and rope, and anything you found out in the woods. It’s possible, not easy, but possible.  I forgot one thing. My sister told me that it NEVER rains in Colorado in August. Of course, while we were there, it rained, I mean poured, everyday we were there.

So days before the great fire stand-off the men began to practice. They would gather what they needed and they would practice. Everyone had a different idea (of course) about how it should be done. They also each had their own “secret” tip that would help.  As the days went one, eventually all secrets were out, because none of them were working.

Day after day those men would work at it. They would spin the wood, never succeeding. They would get smoke, but no flame. They would smell smoke, but no ember to start the fire.

We would all gather around and watch. At first it was kind of fun. Cheering each other on, but never having any success. It seemed like it had become a competition between “us” and the fire. The women teased, saying how we needed to be sure to have a fire for us to stay warm by while we were camping. The men continued in their determination.

As the days passed, slowly each man revealed their great strategy hoping for success. But to no avail.

Every outing we had, the men were looking for ways to start that fire. Could it be the materials? Maybe it was the tools being used? I think finally they determined it was the perfect balance of pressure and tools used. Clearly I have no idea what I am talking about. If you ask me, the best way to start a fire is with matches. Finally after much effort they were able to create an ember. With the ember, perhaps they would be able to start a fire.

Update: After reading this both my husband and my brother corrected my post. Please read what my brother wrote in the comments at the end of this post. I stand corrected. The day before we left, finally, there was a small fire started. In fact several of the men were able to start a small fire in the garage after many trial and error. Would they have the same determination for the contest?

We all went camping, which is where this great competition was to take place. It was quite a scene with all our tents set up. As it goes when you are out camping, just as the last tent was put up it started to rain. It rained and rained. The rain looked as if it would never end. I forgot all about the competition. All I could think about was a dry quiet place to be.

After a while, the rain finally quit. The competition was back on. You see, that is the difference between men and women. Women would have called it a day and moved on. Not so with our strong men. They had something to prove: that fire could be started with sticks (wet ones at that) and they would prove who “da man” was.

So off they went to gather the supplies needed. Each man off on his own to gather and prepare the materials needed to start a fire. A stick for a bow, a rock, moss and small sticks for kindling, and so on.

Once everyone had what they needed, the competition began. Each man went to quick work. Right off two of the guys had smoke, but no embers. They would tire themselves out trying to spin that stick on the bow. Nothing.

Finally after much time had passed, and everyone but the two that were able to get smoke had dropped out, they called it. Sort of. Once again it became an effort to just start a fire. Forget the competition. After more time we decided to see if the moss would even burn in an already lit fire. No. No it didn’t. It was too wet.

So in man vs. fire the fire won. Maybe next time guys it won’t rain so much.


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