Look, Boys! No Eyebrows!

When Billy and Wesley were youngsters, we lived in the little logging town of Ashford, Washington. I talk about some of my logging days there in several stories—The Old Man And The Tree, Killin’ Time, and A Man Among Men—and I tell some stories about Billy and Wesley, during that time, in Tearin’ Stuff Up, and Wows and Holy Cows. They were some good days for a while, and this story is a funny one about me. The boys were there, too, but I was the star in this little episode.

It was one of those nights when the boy’s mom was at work. She worked at a nice restaurant, called Ashford Manor, on the highway to Mount Rainier State Park,.  The restaurant was on the upscale side as restaurants go; good food and above average prices, so the tips were good.

I was in charge of dinner for me and the boys, and though I don’t recall what I intended to fix—a casserole of some sort, I think—I do remember it entailed turning on the oven, so it could pre-heat. I went in and turned it on, set it to the proper temperature then went back in and continued watching television with the boys; they were somewhere in the neighborhood of eight and ten years old; Wesley was eight, and Billy was ten.

After fifteen or so minutes had gone by, Billy reminded me that it was my responsibility to fix dinner, and Wes, ever the parrot, said, “Yeah…. dinner.”

“Okay, okay,” I said, getting out of my easy chair and walking into the kitchen. The boys were right on my heels, probably wanting to make sure I did not deviate from my assigned task. They were standing side-by-side a few feet away, when I opened the oven to put the casserole in.

What I didn’t know was the oven had not lit; best I can figure, the pilot light was on, and… the oven was full of propane. When I opened the oven door, the combination of propane, oxygen and pilot light created a pretty nice minor explosion. It didn’t go, BOOM, but made a noise kind of like, POOMF! The sound seemed somehow muffled.

All things considered, I was lucky; I guess I could have blown the whole house up. As it turns out, the extent of the damage was my moustache was now fabulously curly, and I had no eyebrows.

The boys had jumped back and were cowering in the doorway to their bedroom, but when they saw the danger had passed, they scampered over to see what had happened. I’d turned off the oven, so there was no further danger, and so, I allowed them their investigation. Billy leaned in and looked inside the oven—nothing to see there—then stood up and looked at me. I’m sure I was a comical sight, sans eyebrows and all; the huge grin on Billy’s face confirmed the fact.

He laughed then said, “Cool!”

Wes said, “Yeah…. cool.”

Lesson: Never close the door and walk away from a gas oven until you’ve confirmed it has ignited.

1 Comment »

  1. Sherry said

    I wish you’d taken a picture!

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