So today I went to REI to get a flint, so I can make fire on Saturday evening.
While there, a friendly REI employee came up to me and asked if I was finding everything. I said yes... and asked about the flint I was holding. He pointed out the lighters and mentioned, correctly, that they are much more effective. He told me a very, very funny story about tinder and fire building. Take away lesson: Tinder should be dry. Flints take practice.
"But", I said, "I really need the flint. Because I have to start a fire the old-fashioned way on Saturday. It's for Easter Vigil." I slipped that in there real quick.
It didn't faze the guy.
"Ah. So what are you using for tinder?" he replies, fingering the packets of tinder and cotton and woodshaving.
Well, actually, I have a secret recipe involving salt and flammable substances... no, that I'm not going to post on the internet. If you know me, you can email me and I'll send you the Secret Recipe for Easter Fire. It's AWESOME.
"I've never heard of using salt before..." he says, slowly.
"Well, it burns hot and fast, and it's out in a few minutes. Just enough so I can light the candles," I say.
"And not so much that you set the church on fire?" he says, without missing a beat.
"Yes!" say I. "Burning down the church is a horrible way to start a service!"
"Not to mention that it's against the law," he points out, accurately. "It's a federal offense to burn down a church. That would probably put a damper on Easter Sunday. 'Priest arrested for burning down church with Easter fire'. You know fire trucks, cop cars, so much trouble." He looks at me, considering his next question. "You know, [redacted flammable substance] evaporates pretty fast. How are you going to handle it?"
I explain that, last year, [redacted flammable substance] was actually a problem.
He gets a little gleam in his beady eye. "I know!" He sprints off to the travel bottle section. You know, the spot where you find the travel shampoo and stuff. He picks up a cheap, tiny squirt bottle.
"Just large enough for what you need, to add a little extra to the fire pile. You can probably, you know, slip this up your sleeve. AND THEN! If you strike that flint just right, you can have a flamethrower! An Easter vigil service flamethrower! A really tiny one!"
"Yes!" I reply with joy! "A tiny, Easter vigil flamethrower so I can not set the church on fire but have a really cool fire!"
I did not high-five the dude. But REI is awesome. Because their staff don't bat an eye when a priest walks in and explains that she needs to start a fire. Most people would at least give me the side-eye. But not these guys. Hurray for REI!
In other news, now I really, really want to go camping!