The Campfire

Copyright © 1998 Walt Zientek

"Come on Caleb, sit here a minute. Good boy. Wait while I put some kindling
down. You know, we all used to sit around this old Campfire. Hard to believe,
I know. Folks would see the light from this fire, all round the world. It was like
a beacon, calling kindred spirits, to come and sit a while and sometimes talk
about the things we cared about.

I know, it seems hard to believe, the way things are going now, but it sure is
true. Why, folks used to make up songs and we all sung them. Others would ask
for prayers and no matter what way we saw God, we all prayed for them. When
a tragedy struck, we sat a little closer, threw more wood on the fire for warmth
and put an arm around the folks who needed it.

Some folks had a lot to say, some just sat here every night and stared into the
flames, feeling the warmth and learning from others. Sometimes groups would
bring up a subject that others didn't care too much about, but everyone would
listen and wait for something new. Sometimes groups would talk privately, but
they always returned to the Campfire.

Hang on fella, I need to add a little more wood. I sure hope this catches!

Yep, this old Campfire was a heck of a place. We had new folks come round
every night. We always made room for them, always found them a log to sit on,
always listened to their stories. We were always sad when someone left. Felt
like we lost a family member. But, like all families, we had our differences.
Sometimes we couldn't resolve them. That was sad.

What happened? I really don't know. It seemed to happen so fast. Feelings got
hurt somehow. Small groups got up from the fire and talked over there. Some
folks just got up and walked away. It got harder to tend the fire. It started to go
out. More folks got up and either walked away or found a group to join, away
from the fire.

Hey, I think it's burning now! Sit closer, big guy. I see a few friends have seen
the flames and are coming back to sit a while. Plenty of room for everybody here.
Plenty of stories to tell, plenty of silly songs to sing, plenty of things to learn.

Will everyone come back and sit around the Campfire again? I don't know buddy.
I'll toss on some more wood and wait... and hope."

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Last modified: 8-19-2000

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