My Dad’s Thing With Fires

Posted September 28, 2013 by jimhigley


My dad had a thing with fires. His. Yours. Everyone’s.

Let me clarify: I’m not talking about a pyromania issue. I’m talking about fires in the fireplace. He loved them. And he loved making sure a good portion of our town enjoyed them, as well.

My father’s business was wood. He ran a big place we called the “Plant” – a sprawling collection of buildings where a group of men built wooden store fixtures. In simple terms, they made the display cases and shelves for department stores.

A business that resulted in a lot of leftover wood.

Which fueled his thing for fires.

During the winter months from November through February, my dad would rally my four brothers and me the first Saturday of every month to deliver scrap lumber by the truckloads to an assortment of families. And our process was the same, month after month.

My oldest brothers were in charge of cutting sprawling barrels of scrap wood down to precisely 18″ lengths while the younger three of the Higley boys would stack the wood in the bed of a delivery truck. Like a firemen’s water brigade, we’d load that truck to its limit while my dad supervised all efforts.

That’s what we did. With regularity. Once a month.

And then we’d deliver to our designated stops. House-by-house. Where we were expected to carry and neatly stack a family-sized load of wood. Enough to last a month.

I dreaded those Saturdays. I hated the splinters. The sawdust in the eyes. I hated being cold. And I hated not being old enough to run the big, engine-loud table saws.

Every bit of it. Childhood misery.

A misery that somehow morphed into one of the best memories, funny enough, of my youth.

Thanks Pop.


This memory is brought to you through my partnership with Kimberly-Clark during the months of September and October. It’s part of their Pick Up the Values Program– providing tips and ideas for parents to stretch their budgets.

Today’s Pick Up the Values Tip for Stretching Your Budget would definitely get my dad’s seal of approval: Try buying your staples mid-month, once a month only. Over time you’ll get better at estimating your needs. And then only goto the grocery store every one to two weeks for perishables.

Be sure to stop by the Pick Up the Values Facebook Page for more tips and conversations!

Rest assured, while I’ve been compensated by Kimberly-Clark for this story, the memory, and belief in their product is as real as it comes.