Treasured childhood memories for spring is the burning of grass around the edges of the fields and out buildings. It was an event that we looked forward to with high anticipation. Dad taught us all the ‘safety’ procedures for burning – starting a line of fire downwind, carrying a shovel, waiting until the wind died down and knowing there would be a heavy dew that night. We would put on our oldest spring jackets, our Ukrainian ballet slippers and out we headed with dad in the lead. He would start the fire and we would pull up hanks of long grass, twist it, touch it to the fire and then drag it long the edges of the fields to extend the burn line. If the fire got too close to buildings or ran the risk of escaping, we would stomp out the fire. That was much more exciting than using our shovels. Just after dark we would return to the house, covered in soot and smelling of smoke, circles of fire on fields of black imprinted in our vision. It was great.
April 26th was my parents’ 55th wedding anniversary. Dad is 18 years older than my mom, and turned 91 this last December. He had a minor stroke a year ago and has slowed down quite a bit. My sister got the burning permit for spring refuse. After dinner she walked the saluki and made the comment that the wind had died down and she was going to burn the ridge along the old garden. I haven’t seen my father move that fast in over a year! He was in his glory. Ribs for dinner and grass burning after, the perfect anniversary.