“The old-fashioned home with its fireside companionship, its religious devotion and its closely-knit family ties is my idea of what a home should be."
~Father Edward Flanagan
Father Flanagan started Boys Town. He INVITED children into love, warmth, belonging. Bill had a fire in the fireplace when I came downstairs at 5 am. It smells like the beach to me. It reminds me of the bonfires we had on Guemes Island when we were kids. Mom and Dad rented a cabin a few times so we could spend a week at the beach. The fishing cabins were sparse. Mom brought all the food, packed our bags, filled the car with gas and we would rush to catch the ferry boat that left every hour from Anacortes. I smell it now, thanks to Bill's industrious morning and I wanted you to see our little fire of hearth and home. I went to Camp Lutherwood when I was a child and we had a campfire every evening. We'd dress in long pants (I wore royal blue corduroys and an orange crew-neck sweatshirt), buy a Pepsi at the snack shop, and hunker down to sing new songs with our fellow campers. I liked looking around at the kids in the firelight. I felt such a sense of comradery. Later, we'd pad back to our cement floored cabins, crawl into our sleeping bags and drift off to sleep, the smell of firelight still in our stringy hair. Years later, at Malibu Club, when Bill was running the program or speaking at Young Life camp, I'd take the kids back to our cabin and if it had rained all day (British Columbia is wet) I'd try to rustle up a warm fire to while away the evening. That smell again. So true, so warm, so inviting. Yes, it's spring and yes, the ground will remain covered in white until tomorrow, and today I am blessed with a fire.