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The Invincible M.A.E.

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Bonding fires

I just finished reading Saints at the River by Ron Rash (which is horribly overdue at the library) and it's a really wonderful, tragic book that's written with this understated style that just makes my heart ache. It's set in the Appalachian Mountains and the landscape is as much a part of the story (and tragedy) as everything else.

I recommend it, but umm, like I said, lots of tragedy, so you might not want to read it while extremely cheerful and happy with life. :P

Anyway, one paragraph in the book described "bonding fires", which I'd never heard of before, and they really intrigue me! From the book:
Bonding fires originated in the Scottish Midlands. A family's hearth fire was never allowed to die down completely. Banked embers from the previous night's fire were stirred and kindled back into flames. When children left to marry and raise their own families, they took fire from their parents' hearth with them. It was both heirloom and talisman, nurtured and protected because generations recognized it for what it was--living memory. When some clans emigrated they kept the fires burning on the ships as they crossed the Atlantic. Then they hauled them up into the southern Appalachians from Charleston or down the Shenandoah from Philadelphia. There had been one bonding fire started in the 1500s that was kept alive until the 1970s. The flame was tended by an old man and extinguished only when a dam flooded the valley where he'd live eight decades. Two hundred feet of water covered that hearth now.

I am so taken by that custom. :)

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That sounds good. I'll add it to my amazon.com wish list. *nod*

It's the second novel by him so I'm going to borrow the first one next from the library. I love books set in locations in the US that not many people write about. :)

Me too. *nod* Or in Canada, or.. well anywhere, really.

I think it interests me for the US in particular because foreigners view the US as one thing, what you see in TV shows and movies, but there's really a lot of parts that are so unique, so it's like showing an unknown side of the country, I guess.

Like when I read about other countries, I do really enjoy it, but I also expect the "exoticness" of the location.

*perks* Did someone say tragedy?

LOL! Yes, this book is right up your alley. ;)

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I know, when I read that I had this vision of the ship bursting into flames, haha. But yeah, it's impressive that the tradition meant so much to them that would have done that, with the limited amount of stuff they could have brought with them.

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Hello, and thanks! I made all of the ones I have except where credited to someone else (just the Van Helsing one I think). I've been trying to make one for every guy on the team, partly to practice using my image editor, hehe!

I'm thinking of making a batch of them for anybody to take, even though it seems it's a little late to do so. *sniffle* But I'll make a post to sjsharks when I do!

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Hehe, yeah, tersa made that one. I've been saying for months that Marcel Goc looks like the living dead because he always seems to have dark circles under his eyes, and then when Nieminen joined the team, someone said he looked like a gargoyle, so I decided that Thorty could be a werewolf and dubbed them the Van Helsing line. :)

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I love that line when they get all angry and stuff. Nemo is... a strange guy. As Vesa says, "Ville always has to make things so hard."

I love Goc. :) I love 'em all! Somewhat relatedly, I have a lot of clips of Sharks stuff on Youtube.

I'd never heard of bonding fires either...that's really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Yeah, imagine transporting them first across the ocean then up into the mountains!

Thus the phrase "keep the home fires burning".

Never heard that phrase either.

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