Saturday 1 August 2015

Fight Off Some Pirates

I have been thinking about roasting marshmallows today.
 Image result for roasting marshmallows
I remember roasting marshmallows at my gram’s cottage when I was a very young boy. There was always a fire burning by the beach to get rid of the driftwood that choked our side of the lake. The lake was man made and when the dam was built, the valley flooded making it a lake. Our side of the valley was forested and the other side was farmland, so we had the tops of trees poking above the surface everywhere you looked. At night, dad would add a few logs onto the fire and mom would bring out the marshmallows.

Gram would hand Steve and I, a hatchet each and we would go into the bush to cut the perfect stick for roasting marshmallows. It was a different time, now you wouldn’t consider giving an eight year old and a six year old hatchets and sending them out into the dark to chop at a tree. It seemed pretty normal back then. I’d give my grandkids hatchets, but the difference would be that their parents wouldn’t allow it…probably. Branches from the willowby the lake were always the best for roasting and afterwards you could use them as a whip to tame angry lions.
When I had kids of my own, we lived in Alberta where there was a distinct shortage of really good marshmallow roasting branches. I took an old hockey stick and some lengths of steel rod and made four or five roasters. They worked great with marshmallows and hot dogs and were the go to implement when we were camping for many years. Of course we used them at home with the fire pit and although they didn’t make very good whips, they were very good swords. We as parents just had to make sure that no one was poked when the tips were glowing red from the heat.

Over the years they were bent out of shape and then bent back into shape and in recent years they were pretty sad looking. Once the kids grew up there was less need to roast marshmallows and they sat in the garage for a long time just taking up space. One day Arwen asked if I still had those sticks and if I did, could she borrow them for the fire pit in their back yard. I thought back to the fun I had roasting marshmallows and thought it was a great idea for Hurricane and Tornado to have a similar experience.

That was years ago now and those two roasting sticks disappeared somehow. Arwen and family were going camping for this long weekend and asked if I might have any roasting sticks left. Surprise, surprise, I did have two left. I hope that they are getting a good work out this weekend in BC making ‘smores every night for the grandkids. Maybe when the parents aren’t looking they can do double duty fighting off pirates. I don’t expect to see those particular sticks again; they have seen thirty years of duty and deserve a rest.

I had some scraps of wood left from a project I had been working on and I thought they would make excellent handles for roasting marshmallows. I turned them on the lathe, sanded them and put on a wax coating just before driving the steel rod into them. Now I have four brand new, never been touched sticks just waiting to have some kid set fire to a marshmallow with. Maybe the next time Hurricane and Tornado are visiting we will have hot dogs for lunch with a toasted marshmallow for desert.

There might even be a need to fight off some pirates…

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