All right, it’s time for a little confession.
Here goes: I, Chris Trainor, age 35, never actually built a fire until just recently. Like, a real fire, with wood.
That’s right, I’m a fire-building neophyte. But, I’m starting to get the hang of it.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m only now embarking on a fire-building career. Simple: I didn’t have a reason to build one.
The way I see it, that’s why they make furnaces. When I need heat, I go to the thermostat and turn it on. We don’t even have a wood-burning fireplace in our house.
Granted, we do have two fireplaces with natural gas logs, but I don’t light those, either. Heck, if I’m not going to light a real fire, why bother lighting a fake one?
Now, there are likely many people who don’t have a furnace in their home and might not have any other access to heat in the winter months other than to build a fire in their fireplace. No shame in that. We all do what we have to do to make things work in life.
There also are those who like to build fires in their fireplace simply for the aesthetics and the experience. Even though they have a furnace and central heating in their home, they still like to light a fire.
To me, that’s kind of like having a refrigerator, but choosing to keep your drinks in a Styrofoam Igloo cooler instead. But, hey, whatever floats your boat.

THE REASON I’VE RECENTLY started lighting fires is because my wife asked for, and received, a new fire pit for Christmas.
I’m sure you’ve seen these. For lack of a better description, it’s a circular and fairly shallow metal cauldron in which you can build a nice fire outdoors on the patio or in the yard or wherever. Then you sit around and look at the fire.
Basically, it’s kind of like a little bonfire, or campfire, except yuppier.  
A lot of people in high school had bonfires and campfire parties on the weekend. I rarely attended those, instead spending most weekend time in my teen years going to horror movies and stealing real estate signs and putting them in other people’s yards.
Point being, until we got our fire pit, I’d not built many campfires. More accurately, I’d never built a campfire.
A few weeks ago, we got around to putting together the new fire pit. The time had arrived. I actually had to build a fire.
The first thing I needed was wood. This led to the inevitable question: Where the heck was I supposed to procure wood?
I suppose I could have gone into the forest and cut down some trees and sawed up some logs. You can stop laughing. I never really considered doing that.
I do own a chain saw, but the only time I ever use it is on Halloween, when I crank it up to scare the trick-or-treaters.
So, I chose to go buy some firewood. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, many local convenience stores sell bundles of firewood. After buying several bundles in the last few weeks, let me be the first to tell you: This convenience store wood varies in quality.
Sometimes it lights easily and evenly, other times it catches fire about as quickly as a snowball. One bundle — the labeling of which indicated the wood was from “West Georgia” —  shot forth a greenish flame and produced more smoke than a 1979 Chevette.
The best batch of wood I’ve gotten thus far actually came from the Rite Aid pharmacy store on Hampton Street. Because, when I think of great places for kiln-dried firewood, I think about a pharmacy. Still, it burns clean.
Also, as many know, it often takes a decent amount of newspaper to get a good fire started. Heck, with the bundle of wood from “West Georgia,’ I think it took the better part of an entire Sunday Index-Journal to get things going.
See, newspapers are still useful. Let’s see you try to light your smartphone on fire.
By the way, my columns might not be great reading, but they burn really well. They’ll even get that West Georgia wood started.



Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 864-943-5650; email ctrainor@indexjournal.com. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.