As a young boy I loved to color. My mother knew to always get me a couple of coloring books and a fresh box of crayons. I had a bad habit of pressing down way too hard, using up the crayons much faster that I should have. Being rambunctious, I broke most of them in half. I’m sure I ate a few of them along the way.
It was Christmas Eve night, most likely when I was 6 years old. When I unwrapped my presents I had a huge set of colors and it came in clear plastic carousal that you turned to select the one you wanted. The idea was to put the one you were using back in its slot and dial it to make the next selection.
We were living down on the creek, Bull Creek out of Jollyville. The primary heat for the house was a fireplace. So if we started out the night with a nice fire going in fireplace when we went to bed it would heat up the small wood frame house pretty well. We made use of electric blankets on the beds, so most of the time we stayed warm enough without adding wood during the night.
After getting the nice set of crayons and coloring books, I just couldn’t stay in bed. I got up and went in by the fireplace to get started coloring. If I got on the raised hearth there was enough light from the fire to see to color. After I colored awhile I went back and got in bed.
When I got up the next morning there was literally a puddle of colors melted all over the hearth, along with the carousel that was a heap of molten plastic. Not only was my favorite Christmas present lost, I had a horrible mess to clean up. I’m not sure that we ever got all of that off the stonework. But it was a good reminder to not leave stuff sitting too close to the flame.