I have something shameful to admit.
I had never seen Bonfire burn until yesterday.
This is a great travesty that weighs on me as someone who considers herself a true, redass Aggie. I have felt less than the Ag than I could be for missing all the Bonfires that were held when I was a student. I had been absent from Aggieland for a few semesters when I was held up in the hospital or 1500 miles away in Washington DC. But now was not the time for excuses. I felt a strong inclination to finally see what I was missing. At approximately 4:30 PM Saturday, I decided that this was the year but my opportunity to go wasn't entirely ideal since burn was scheduled for an 8 PM burn and I was 90 miles away.
But the burning desire was strong, so I swung by my friend’s home and asked if she wanted to go on an adventure. She is the most awesome person ever because she said instantly said yes. We headed out with a few stops for money, gas, and my house to change into some clothes more befitting a bonfire burn than a pant suit and heels, where my friend had a lovely time Instagraming my horses and chickens (this was turning out to be a big event for her).
We made it into College Station with the obvious stop for Layne's chicken; the sauce never tasted more divine. After some issue with the actual address of the Stack, we made it to the outskirts of Hearne to see it in all its glory. My friend is not an Aggie, (she does get some points for having an Aggie sister, whom we found there) so she was a bit intimated and confused at all the whooping and sawing Varsity’s horns off, but all and all she did a great job at being a temporary Ag.
We listened to Frank Cox '65 tell us about the strength of the Aggie Spirit with stories of Aggies in war who defied all odds to maintain the Spirit in POW camps and in the midst of battle. As always, it made me feel even more proud to be an Aggie and wear the ring that so many people much braver than I, have sacrificed so much for.
After that, the Redpots had a little yell practice and lit the stack. The smell of kerosene and the blast of heat hit us and we decided were a bit too close to a building sized tower of fire. We almost caught aflame a few times when ashes blew way but it was amazing nonetheless. This year the outhouse was painted in tiger-stripes with a stuffed tiger on the side and a Columbia city limits sign to encourage the Aggies to BTHO our bad luck with teams with feline mascots. It made a brilliant cloud of glowing embers falling down on us when it finally collapsed.
When we had to make tracks to leave a couple hours later, Bonfire was still going strong and I felt that I had added a little bit more credibility to my Aggie-ness by even being near such an achievement of brotherhood and passion.
I had an awesome time at the burn with my friend, of whom I am so grateful to have, to tolerate such an odd request to go watch a fire in the middle of nowhere. We had a fantastic, spontaneous trip, made new friends, saw some old ones and participated in one of the greatest Aggie traditions.
Best night in forever.
Burn the hell outta Bonfire!