Messages in Molten Marshmallows


The night had cooled enough to make sitting around our first summer campfire very pleasant. With the slip of a breeze teasing at my shoulders, I pulled on the red windbreaker trimmed with gold that my girls make fun of. Since I wouldn’t want them to be seen anywhere with me in it, I had relegated it to smoky nights outside like tonight.

Mark had made the fire after our evening meal just so we could toast some of the marshmallows that were part of the short list of items he brought home earlier. Through the clear bag, the soft, white sweets felt dry and separated from each other, something the several bags of marshmallows that I used during the last few summers had not been. They moved to my touch as I opened the bag. I slipped a powdery pillow between my lips, and sank my teeth into its spongy goo.

Mark and Josie held long, metal forks that let them stand a comfortable distance from the fire. Jo plunged hers toward the heat and the treats it held blackened in a hurry. She held the fork out to me. They kept toasting till we had each eaten four, but none had topped the texture and taste of that first one. They could never stay on the fire long enough to get as dark, yet stayed as soft centered, and they sagged away from the fork before they were done.

“I guess you need to let the fork cool completely before you start the next set,” I noted, but our impatience didn’t allow for that.

“Let’s sing around the campfire,” Jo coaxed, which made me think of the old Campfire Girl promotional theme. Remember the tune? “Sing around the campfire. Join the Campfire Girls.”

Before I could discourage her, Josie piped up with a Girl

Scout tune:

I’m proud to be me, but I also see you’re just as proud to be you.

We may look at things a bit differently, but lots of good people do.

It’s just human nature so why should I hate you for being as human as I.

We’ll live and let live, and we’ll get as we give, and we’ll all get along if we try.

I’m proud to be me, but I also see you’re just as proud to be you, ’tis true,

You’re just as proud to be you.”

Night settled over us while we lingered. Folding our chairs with only the palms of our hands, we licked our sticky fingers and retreated inside, leaving the fire still flickering. I felt lucky to live in a place where we can toast and taste our marshmallows to our own tune.

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