The Bigelow’s Scotch terrier was the first thing I spotted when I got out of our van. Frolicking among the company who gathered at the wiener roast Scott and Sue hosted on their back lawn, he commanded my attention. Groups of people played ladder golf and corn hole, and then there was Toby tottering excitedly from one event to the next, wanting in on some action, then making his own.
He bit into an orange, plastic, traffic-type cone and dragged it grudgingly across the lawn in his teeth where the crunch of plastic carried across to us as we brought our lawn chairs and finger foods (cookies and chips) closer to the tables and chairs surrounding the bonfire.
We sat around visiting while the fire burned hotter. Finally, someone grabbed the first wiener fork and hungry roasters collected from all sides sliding their forks and sticks over the flames. I loaded our long fork with four hot dogs and stepped toward the fire.
The fork was not long enough and I pulled the corner of my sweatshirt over my face. I would feel like I had windburn tomorrow, but I was anxiously watching people eating hotdogs. With this intense fire, it didn’t take long.
After I grabbed an assortment of salty snacks and Jean Ann Cook’s cheese dip/spread, I poured some unsweetened iced tea and sat down to enjoy. Hot dogs roasted outside always taste so good. I heard our friend Bill Wixon telling about someone who downed 12 hot dogs in a sitting.
You’d think that thought would have been enough to keep me from eating another bite, but my sweet tooth usually prevails. Since Sue had a pot of coffee and the evening air was growing cool, I went for a cup and added halves of three kinds of cookies to my plate. Mark ate the other halves.
We tried singing the round, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, but the second group never came in at the right time, and they’d stop singing when it didn’t sound right. We must have tried it half a dozen times. Then everyone stopped. Too bad! We’d have to do some homework and bring song sheets if we wanted this group to sing.
Toby didn’t care. He was still making his music with the orange cone. “Crunch, crunch,” he went, “I’m so happy to have all these people who think I’m cute!”
The story of the Jack o’Lantern comes from Irish folklore. Jack was a crafty farmer who tricked the Devil into climbing a tall tree. When the Devil reached the highest branch, Jack carved a large cross in the trunk, making it impossible for the Devil to climb down. In exchange for help getting out of the tree, the Devil promised never to tempt Jack with evil again. When Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven for his sins and turned away from Hell because of his trickery. Condemned to wander the Earth without rest, Jack carved out one of his turnips, took an ember from the devil, and used it for a lantern to light his way. He became known as “Jack of the Lantern.”