A few years later, I was in the kitchen making toast when the bread must have pressed up against the heating element to the point that it started to burn. And I don't mean a wisp of smoke coming up. This was an angry black cloud billowing up from the toaster. I screamed for my mom. Suddenly, the smoke turned into flames, shooting up and licking at the underside of the cabinet. My toast was going to burn down the house!
I screamed again, this time for my very life, and I remember thinking I sounded like a lady screaming in a movie. A real scream of terror. My mom, who had been in the other room, came to the rescue. Totally unfazed, she unplugged the toaster and pushed it away from under the cabinet, which did have a scorch mark, but never actually caught fire, thank God. My poor toast had pretty much burned itself out by that time.
There was another time. It was my Granny's birthday. Her 69th, I think. We had a birthday cake for her, and it was somebody's idea to put 69 candles on it. This was just a regular-size cake, not a sheet cake, and 69 candles didn't fit. But we put on as many as we could, and when we lit them, the candles all merged into one big flame. This was not something a person could just blow out. I don't know how they got it out, because at that point I ran out of the room.
So now, I'm pretty much afraid of things catching on fire or exploding, (or both), including overheating car engines and barbecues. I have always been afraid to light the barbecue, because it often starts with a "whoosh", and I'm always afraid there's going to be a flash of fire with the "whoosh".
Fortunately, Jerry and I have a deal. Since he changed very few diapers when Michael was a baby, and NONE (would you believe??) of Brice's, I feel that I can be spared the anxiety of being near the barbecue while it ignites until it equals the number of diapers that Jerry didn't change. How many hundreds of barbecue-lightings is that? Surely enough to last the rest of my barbecuing, fire-fearing life.