Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Making Campfire Memories

I smell of wood smoke and marshmallows, if you can smell of marshmallows, more like I "feel" of marshmallows, being sticky from s'mores.  This evening Sis's Brownie troop went to an outdoor evening with a hike, fire safety lesson, s'mores, and a puppet show.  The only thing we didn't really do was sing, except "Taps."

I love to sing around a campfire.  It is, hands down--even more than crafts (though I love tie-dye and telephone wire bracelets and ice candles in milk cartons and plaster of Paris objets d'art)--my favorite Girl Scout activity.  I remember singing at campfires almost every evening as a camper at Camps Robinwood, Agnes Arnold, and Casa Mare, and as a counselor at Mira Sol and Strake, plus various day camps in both capacities.  Oh, the songs, which I once listed here.  Most of the time, we didn't make s'mores, maybe once a week.  Sometimes we made banana boats (split banana in peel stuffed with chocolate chips and marshmallows, wrapped in foil til melted) or foil packet dinners (what is it about ground meat and potatoes and onions and carrots and bell pepper and salt and pepper that is so good?) or maybe hobo stew, if there was time and a pot (ground meat, potatoes, cans of corn and maybe green beans and tomatoes and salt and pepper, maybe.)  But we'd always sing, alternately boisterous and quiet, sometimes with stories or skits in between (almost never ghost stories--I'm sure the counselors didn't want to cause trouble for themselves by upsetting us.  Smart.)  I love the look of stars above the light and smoke of a fire, all ringed in by pine trees (usually).  "The stars at night are big and bright". . . .

Tonight, I stayed around the campfire, not up for an uphill hike, hearing the lessons about kinds of wood (kindling, tinder, and wood, I think), types of fire (square for charcoal for s'mores), and safety--the bucket of water, the fire ring of stones.  I should have just started singing.  The fire refused to light, repeatedly, and we resorted to paper, which even then took quite awhile.  The leader suggested that smart Girl Scouts always dry their wood under tarps, gathering it the first day of camp so that it's ready by the last night.  She didn't reveal the firestarter secret I learned:  the inside of maxi-pads catch fire really easily, as do tampons (sans applicator, of course), and Girl Scouts of a certain age always have those when camping.  We did eventually get it started . . .and then no one knew the "smoke follows beauty" saying as the smoke wafted around.

The girls had a great time, as did my outdoorsy co-leaders . . . so there will no doubt be more campfires and more chances to sing in the future.

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