Meeting “Big Tom” Buchanan…

Big Tom, my sons, and Me

Big Tom, my sons, and Me

Last Saturday night I was treated to a surprise dinner by my youngest son Grayson. We pulled into the parking lot of “Big Tom’s Wings and Pizza” located in town. Unknown to me it was the Grand Opening with “Big Tom” of “Survivor Africa” appearing in person for a “Meet and Greet”. He was very personable and very pleasant to talk with. I mentioned that I had applied for Survivor Australia the season before his. He said that knowing how to make fire was part of the success of his long duration in the game. He also mentioned that dry elephant dung was the best tinder for starting fires, which I concur. Most herbivores leave fine fibrous material at the end of their digestion process.
Fire Piston Demo with Big Tom

Fire Piston Demo with Big Tom

Locally I use dry horse dung for solar fire starting as it’s fibers are loose enough for air flow but tight enough to transfer and build heat. After dinner I told Big Tom that I would like to show him a primitive fire method and so went home to retrieve a fire piston. After returning, I explained the history and process of ignition by air compression. I demonstrated the fire piston and after loading it with fresh charcloth, Big Tom successfully produced a live coal as well. He said “If I would have had this in Africa, I would have been a BIG hero!”. Well, after sharing this experience with him we had a great time while he shared stories of his Survival series adventures abroad.

Thanks to Ricky Roope and Jule Hubbard for the photos.


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