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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 6:00 pm | Fair 58º


Captain’s Log: Gather ‘Round the Fire

When weather begins to cool in early autumn, logs hit the fireplace. The first hearth fires of the season have a smell that seems just as welcome as the smell of the first flowers of spring will be many months from now.

Both smells signal change and usher in a season.

One of my charterboat www.wavewalker.com) passengers recently commented that we don’t have seasons in Santa Barbara.  He is from the Northeast and I assured him we do indeed have our seasons, for those keen enough to notice them.

We simply choose not to live in a place with inhospitable seasons. Guess I couldn’t help but defend our climate — as if it needs defending.

The first comfort fires of autumn bring out an urge in folks to gather ’round the fire and share stories, fears, information, gossip, jokes and best of all — adventure yarns.

Sometimes a family or clan gathering can last late into the evening, wearing away at a once-mighty stack of firewood.

Sound like fun? Invite a few neighbors, friends or family over for an evening at the hearth including pizza or other simple foods, drinks and maybe even roasted marshmallows.

Even better, take the whole group to a campground and have a real outdoor campfire experience.

My situation is, I don’t have a fireplace and my forced-air heater just broke down. It is time to pile up extra blankets while I work on repairing or replacing it and wait for parts. Meanwhile, I’ll be dreaming of a good warm fire.

Maybe I’ll make a fire pit in the back yard, to enjoy a warm roaring fire. Outdoor firepits are a great place to spend an autumn evening. It feels almost like a camping trip, except with all the comforts of the home, such as kitchen and bathrooms.

A ring of lawn chairs around a fire pit is a cozy arrangement that hints at friendship and good times. Think back to some of your best campfire memories.

Oftentimes those memories included a great storyteller. This is the best time of year to dredge your memory for favorite old (and new) stories to tell around a fire.

One way to get some good stories out is to take turns. Have each person tell a story from his/her past. That gives each person time to think of a story while waiting his or her turn. Adventure yarns are the best.

Given some time, most folks can recall a harrowing or fun adventure. Swapping tall tales makes for a perfect evening around a fire.

Myself, I enjoy telling fish stories. It puts me in mind of Mark Twain’s sage advice, “Never tell a fish story where people know you and never ever tell a fish story where people know the fish.”

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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