Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Writer Mark Watson relaxes by his fireplace at his home in Grantsville this week. He enjoys fires, but during one Thanksgiving holiday many years ago, fire was not a friend. (photo courtesy of Mary Watson)

November 30, 2017
There’s one Thanksgiving memory Watson wouldn’t mind to forget

With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, we now can focus on Christmas activities and plans for a new year.

Officially, winter won’t be upon us until Winter Solstice, which happens Dec. 21. However, I usually correlate Dec. 1 as the beginning of winter.

Technically, it is still fall, and fall works for this column as I write it on Nov. 30.

I always answer “fall” whenever I’m asked which is my favorite season.

Fall is fabulous in many ways. It provides cooler weather, colorful landscapes, better fishing, football is in full swing — and we celebrate Thanksgiving.

It was great this year with a wonderful dinner and activities provided by my niece at her home.

Now that I’m in the fall of my own life, I can reflect back on the many wonderful Thanksgiving holidays I’ve enjoyed.

Except one.

I was about 11 years old and started the house on fire the day after Thanksgiving.

Not a pleasant memory.

Fortunately, the blaze was contained to one bedroom (my older sister’s) and the rest of the house was not damaged except for a bit of smoke damage.

At this point in the column-writing process, I should provide more details about the fire. However, because my reputation continues to be sullied-by-self through these Out and About columns, I hesitate to inflict any more mental anguish on myself.

Suffice it to say that cheerleader pompoms in a closet provide an excellent accelerant.

Sincere thanks to a 16-year-old neighbor boy who grabbed a garden hose, broke the bedroom window and doused the flames.

I reviewed the experience with him this summer. He’s now about 67 years old.

“You sure that was me,” he said. I’m quite sure it was, but we’re both aging so our memories may be a bit fuzzy.

The Grantsville Fire Department arrived quickly to make sure the fire was out, but the neighbor’s work with the garden hose helped tremendously.

My father was mostly upbeat about the whole incident. He rebuilt the room with insurance money (or so he told me) and my sister got a bunch of new clothes.

She went on to teach first grade for many, many years in the Tooele County School District.

She told me that her students were always captivated each year when she told the “fire story.”

Other types of fires are good; house fires not so much.

I must confess that I still enjoy “contained fires.”

Fire has taken the chill off many nights while camping in the mountains. A fireplace at my house provides ambiance and warmth on cold nights.

Of course, I first check the Tooele County Health Department’s website to see if it is a day when burning is allowed.

That’s my tale about the “Day-After-Thanksgiving Fire.”

As I conclude writing this piece, I need to add some wood to the fire in the fireplace. It’s getting a bit chilly in here.

Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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