Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fire and Ice Cream

     Back when I was a Jake's age matches sang to the children of the world. The tune went something like this:
                 Come play with me,
                 'Cause I'm your friend.

                 Come play with me
                 And burn something down.

                 Ain't I pretty?
                 And so easy to use.

                 C'mon chump,
                 Burn something, anything, down or up.
                 I don't care. Just burn something.

     What I'm trying to say is that matches were everywhere. And, yeah, they were easy to use. Open flames were a part of life. Most everyone smoked. Even us Junior High kids. Back then we burned our trash in the alley, come fall, our leaves in the street. Once in a while, our university football coaches in effigy (see: Murray Warmath). And kids were allowed to torch that stuff. It was great. Nothing like a fire when you had the need to stand and stare.
     No longer. One of my fifteen year old nephews didn't know how to strike a match 'til I showed him. Not that he was slow on the uptake. Just that he'd never had the opportunity. Sheltered and deprived lives we live today. Can't fire up a match so you might as well break into the old man's gun cabinet and blow away your gym class. Maybe an exaggeration but I dearly love to go off the deep end when at the keyboard.
     So Thursday evening was campfire night in the burning pit. Wasn't quite dark yet. Didn't matter at all. Jakob was definitely up for it. Ryan kept a short leash on him. I was happy for that. Jake didn't realize it but he was happy too. There with his dad, in the woods and dancing around the flames as they snapped up toward the birches. Been quite a while since man first barbecued a mastodon but I think Jakob would've understood their celebration.
     Before that we'd taken part in a couple of other ancient rites, miniature golf and dinner at Dairy Queen. Finished the day in the cabin. Ryan and Jakob trying to figure out a simple, but impossible, wooden puzzle. Yes sir, life in the big woods is a basic one.
     Sorry, the ice cream doesn't come 'til tomorrow. And it wasn't really ice cream. Soft serve Dairy Queen. But that's close enough in my book. For me it's most always the same thing, medium cherry shake. If you're ever passing through Minnesota and happen to be in Little Falls, that's the town Charles Lindbergh came from, stop in at their Dairy Queen. Probably the best in the state. Until a couple of years ago you could get a pina colada shake. Wasn't on the menu, you just hadda know about it. In with the in crowd kind of thing. Not my cup of tea but Lois said it was the best. Only needed a dollop of rum to make it heaven. Then, one day they ran out of coconut syrup and the owner brought a great tradition to an end.

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