July 11, 2009 - Bonfire of the Browns
Now you thought I was going to say "Bonfire of the Vanities", didn't you. Well in case you didn't know, before the 1990 Tom Hanks/Melanie Griffith/Bruce Willis film and even the 1987 Tom Wolfe novel a historical event was actually given this name. In 1497 apparently, a Dominican priest in Italy encouraged people to burn items which might tempt them to sin. They torched mirrors, cosmetics, fine clothing, books, playing cards, and musical instruments, but somehow managed to sin anyway... a well-intentioned, but failed attempt to cleanse the world of evil.

All that aside... Meg and I went to visit Donna and Bob Brown at their home in DeKalb last Saturday. They've been having monthly bonfire get-togethers for neighbors and friends... a great idea. We couldn't make it to their June event, and August/September are doubtful, so we wanted to be sure to catch them in July

Unfortunately, I didn't catch exactly how these young men are related to Bob, but we heard the cow wailing as soon as we drove up. A group of us walked over to the barnyard where they were tending the livestock. I had to get a few shots of these fine looking critters. Of course I wouldn't know anything about them beyond the cow going "Moo" and the sheep going "Baa", but it was good to see young people interested an involved. It sort of reminded me of my 4H days in Cincinnati... of course that was a model rocketry club, which was a teensy bit different.
If I'd given this a little more thought, I would've brought the tripod over Meg's objections to better facilitate some of these "FIRELIGHT" photos. I guess they're okay, but fuzzier and noisier than I'd like. The center one obviously had a much slower shutter speed, but I like the light trails of the flying embers. Next time I'll know better... maybe next year.
Donna took to heart the normally male dominated fireworks ignition task, and displayed unusual talent in her execution. The pyrotechnics were not only spectacular, but also sincere.

We couldn't believe how the weather cooperated. It was a truly perfect evening. If I had the tripod, I would've attempted some sky shots. Rural DeKalb is far enough from city and suburban lights to really make the stars visible. It was impressive.

Bob and Donna's home and property are also impressive. I got a few nice twilight shots of the house. They had the yard all prepared for us "fire flies"... tables, chairs, firepit, lots of freshly mowed grass, and pretty much no bugs.

You can see that we had a table of munchies as well as some live music to round out the evening. We arrived a little late, and so did not have time to get a rowdy game of Bocce Ball started.

Since Donna asked... Bocce Ball rules are available at http://www.bocceballrules.net/. The game is incredibly simple, so the rules are pretty short and easy to remember.