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Monologue by David C. Steeves

Steeves, David C.
Fredican, Nicole
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming obstacles; Relationships with people and places; Childhood adventures; Then and now
David Steeves talks about his wife and setting woods on fire as a teen.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Nicole Fredican interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
DS (David C. Steeves): This one time we went to visit Heidi's grandmother, Heidi's my wife, and we were sitting there and she was trying to figure out some mathematical problem and she said, "Four times seven, that's 32, isn't it?" So another lady that was there and I were laughing at her and she said, "Grandmommy, they're laughing at me. Did you know what four times seven was?" And her grandmother said, "I did go to grammar school." When I was in high school, a bunch of guys, seven guys, decided we were going camping on a Saturday night out on one of the guy's land. So we were going camping, so we were like, "We need to go to South Carolina and buy some fireworks so we could have some bottle rocket wars." So we went and got some fireworks and now, uh, this one Saturday evening, to the camp, set up the camp and all this stuff, built a fire, had a big time, went to the store and bought all kinds of junk food and soft drinks, and different, wasted all our money that we had. So we went back to camp, we hung out, and went to sleep and woke up the next morning and decided to shoot bottle rockets at each other. So we're running around shooting bottle rockets at each other and the bottle rockets weren't very good because they wouldn't explode, they'd just shoot off, and they wouldn't bang when they got to the end. And [cough] so, we're shooting each other and they get caught in the grass, they catch the grass on fire and we all run over there and stomp out the fire. This happened six, seven, eight times and no big deal. A little fire we'd all stop, run over there and stomp out the fire. One fire got in front of the opening of the field that we were in and it was real dry and in the front of this opening there was a breeze. So when the fire started, after the bottle rocket lit the grass on fire, we all ran over there to stomp out, stomp out the fire. The wind started blowing, and it started spreading the fire, so we started stomping and we got, all of us and tried to get it out. Well, it starts to get bigger and bigger. So one guy runs down to where the camping stuff was and got some Mellow Yellow and poured it on the fire. Another guy ran over and got the cooler with ice and poured it on the fire. By now the fire is pretty big, so one of them runs down and gets a blanket and starts beating out the fire. And the fire keeps getting bigger and bigger and we're not getting very far, so one guy goes, "Well, I'm going to call the fire department." So he runs up through the next field to this trailer to call the fire department. Well, everybody didn't want to get in trouble so they were like, "We're going to leave and y'all stay here so there is as few people here as possible to get blamed for the fire." There is two people that have driven, and I was one of them and Bart was the other one. So we loaded all the stuff up in Bart's car and took the tent and just stuffed it into the car and this was a big eight, nine tent and they left and we stayed there. The fire truck comes and when the fire truck came, they, uh, didn't think that it was a very big fire, but by this time it had become a pretty big fire. So, the fireman gave me one of the hoses and started pulling it off and I'm out in the field trying to put out the fire. Then the other guy climbs up on the truck to pull the other hose off for the fireman 'cause one fireman and the fire chief had come so the fire chief was helping me pull my hose off and this other guy is pulling the hose off for the fireman. Well, they forgot to unlock the hose, so he is working really hard to get this hose off and it's still locked. He's pulling it off and going around trying to put the fire out with the hose. The fireman decided to call the fire department and get some more firemen. So they called the fire department and another truck comes. And then this fire truck comes and the men have little squirt packs on their backpacks going around trying to put the fire out. Well, they're not getting very far and the fire has almost spread to the pine tree woods. And so we're trying to get them to drive the truck around and just drive the truck in there and put the fire out. For some reason, they don't think that it's a good idea and they say water packs won't work. And finally, we better drive the fire truck around and into this area where it's on fire so we can get the truck to it. Finally they do that and drive the truck around with the hose and put the fire out with no problem. Well, the only problem was after they got the fire out we realized that I had singed all my hair on my head, on my arms, and on my eyebrows from trying to put the fire out when I was beating it with the blanket and it was blowing all through and I didn't know how or what didn't catch on fire. And so then, we didn't have any money 'cause we had spent it all at the store. So we meet over to this guy's house, I think there was seven of us, and we're trying to figure out what we're going to do. I have no money to get my hair cut, no adults knew that we had caught the field on fire, but I had to get my hair cut or everybody would have known. So we're trying to figure out what we're doing, what we could do, and this one girl who I had gone out with had always said she wanted to cut my hair. So I'm like well, I guess we could always call her. So we call her and I started off by saying, "Well, you always said you wanted to cut my hair and now you're going to get your chance." So we got her to come over, she cut my hair, cut the, basically cut all the end of my hair and did a pretty good job and couldn't tell. There were two people that ever said anything. One was a guy at church when we went to youth group, we were sitting at the table, and he asked me, um, did my hair been burned? And I said of course not and then my hair cutter, she asked me if I had been using a hair dryer too close to my hair because I had a lot of little singed ends. And that is the story about when we caught the field on fire.