This is part two of a story I started last week named Confessions of an Altar Boy. I hope you had an opportunity to read last weeks article but in case you missed it I need to re-cap. I am describing actual events during my days as an altar boy in my childhood church.
Boys and lighter fluid are a dangerous mix. Our duties were designed to bring honor and dignity to the church service, but if the congregation only knew the number of little devils that were lighting their candles, they would have probably passed out.
We used lighter fluid to assist our efforts in lighting the wick on our candle lighters. These were the tools used to actually light the candles before our church service. They had a long wax candle that could be controlled by a slide on the tool. I'm sure there is some religious name for these things, but I know you have seen them. They have a wick on one end and a bell shaped cone on the opposite side to extinguish the candles.
One day while using the fluid, we found that lighter fluid burned fairly cool. Now I know fire is always hot, but some fluids burn hotter than others and lighter fluid burns cool.
We soon learned we could drop a little fluid on the floor in one spot and light the terrazzo floor, but not cause burn marks. It was really cool too! A small blue flame burning from concrete was very amazing to us guys. As time passed we learned the art of writing our names in lighter fluid. Talk about having your name in lights! As time passed our little flames grew to bigger and bigger flames, almost to the point of getting out of hand.
If we thought somebody was coming to check on us we would quickly stomp out the fires with our feet. If the puddle of burning lighter fluid was deep enough, you could slap your foot on the flames and cause the fluid to splash.
This splashing would create little fire droplets all across the room. It was really neat to see the series of little drops of fire. Occasionally we would have to slap the fire out with our hands if it hit the walls.
An odd thing occurred while stomping out one of the flames. We soon learned that the UN-burned lighter fluid would stick to the bottom of our Sunday shoes and we actually had a burning foot that really didn't burn. Our antics went from burning shoes to soaking our hand in lighter fluid and lighting our hand like the guys in the movies. We called ourselves stuntmen. Sword fighting with burning fingers was a good pastime.
I know a lot of my readers are wondering who in the world could have done such things. I'll never tell. Just remember, many of the male readers of this article can relate. I will simply say many of these guys are now holding different positions in different areas of the country. Some of them are Church Elders, a couple of Ministers, past sunday school superintendents and a vast array of job duties.
I can only imagine how many people in our congregation sat through church thinking they smelled singed hair. I guess they thought it was the candles that the sweet little angel altar boys had provided for them.
If only they really knew! I guess now they do!