Tuesday, November 21, 2006


It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since the Aggie Bonfire collapsed in '99, killing 11 students and one former student. What's even more frustrating is that Bonfire has yet to burn again on campus. I won't express my ire at administrators too cowardly to actually make a permanent decision on Bonfire's status here, because that's a rant for another time. Suffice to say that Bonfire's a wonderful experience I've hoped to take my children to someday.

Thanks to the Comal County A&M Club, Lisa ('94) and I ('92) were able to do just that last night. After work we packed up the kids and headed over to the Newks Tennis Ranch for a fajita dinner and bonfire (note the lowercase "b"). The evening was fantastic. We ran into far more people than we expected to know, and were amazed at how many folks turned out. The club officers were overwhelmed by the turnout, and happily reported that more than 200 people attended. A cross-section of the Centerpole cut from last year's Student Bonfire was auctioned off to help raise money for that noble cause, and went for an eye-popping $300. I wish I'd had that kind of money, because those students are doing a great job of keeping the tradition alive in the face of the university administration's opposition. Someday, when the kids are a little older, we'll attend the Student Bonfire in College Station if it hasn't returned to campus by then (Student Bonfire burns tonight, by the way).

But last night we reveled in our own, miniature bonfire. It didn't compare to the monstrous Bonfire stacks of old to be sure, but as the work of a handful of dedicated former students, it was glorious. And it burned real pretty, too. Below, you can see Keela and myself as well as Lisa and Orion bundled up against the chill of the night, waiting for burn to start.


The stack itself was maybe 15 feet tall, and even had a miniature orange "t.u. frat house" perched on top. No "Austin City Limits" sign, though. Naturally, the whole Blaschke clan had to gather to document the children's first bonfire experience.


Remeber those 200 folks I said turned out participate in Yell Practice and watch the stack burn? Here's some of them. The crowd pretty much ringed the stack, and it was somewhat startling to realize that there were more Texans here than there were fighting at the battle of the Alamo. A pointless observation to be sure, but an odd one nonetheless.


Eventually, they lit the stack. That dry cedar burned like nobody's business, let me tell you! The ring of spectators pulled way back as the heat increased, and pretty much everyone shed their coats and started the rotisserie dance, as the side of the body facing the fire got over-heated while the side facing away got quite chilled. Calista and Keela chased falling ash, trying to catch it like snowflakes (although not on their tongues, thank goodness).


The concurrent Yell Practice even had a volunteer Yell Leader who did a solid job of running the crowd through its paces, although he couldn't tell a Grode Story to save his life (remember--it's not simply an Aggie joke. It's an Aggie joke that casts the opposing team in an embarassing light). Sure, there was no Aggie Band, but the CD playing over the sound system was an acceptable substitute. It was great to hump it for "Farmer's Fight," "Military" and "Locomotive" once again. We sang the War Hymn and the Spirit, and I sent a ripple of laughter through the crowd when I shouted out "Off the wood!" (It's a Kyle Field thing). "The Last Corps Trip" was read and quite affecting. This was one improvement over my college days, as the guy reading the poem wasn't drunk, and therefore the words were intelligible. My proudest moment, though, was watching Calista hump it along with everyone else, yelling at the top of her lungs. The girl is loud-- she's going to be a great addition to the 12th Man in another 10 years or so.


Beat the hell outta t.u.!


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  1. Anonymous5:34 PM

    What does 'beath' mean?


  2. Oh, you're a funny one, Trimm!

    Beath indeed...