We had a lovely dinner at D&T's last night. (Thanks guys!) Full of good spaghetti and wine and a decadent chocolate dessert that could only be eaten directly from the baking pan, with ice cream, of course, we sat by the fire, talking, talking, talking. And then, more for show and tell than for eating, Deborah brought out a bag of gigantic marshmallows. I've never seen anything like these before. Huge, bulging marshmallows that looked like they might just keep growing and take over the world. Weird, alien marshmallows. And some of them were pink.
We decided to toast some. Everyone has their own preferred marshmallow toasting style, and Deborah stuck hers right into the fire, turning it black, blowing it out, and proclaiming it perfect. My own idea of marshmallow perfection is to toast it ever so slowly, preferably over a nice bed of coals, until it's evenly browned on all sides, and never, never, charred black. Call me picky. It's sort of like making a bead - take your time, keep it moving, be patient...
So I sat down on the floor with a big, pink skewered marshmallow and got to work. It looked like it was going to behave like a normal marshmallow, but nooooo... that thing kept growing and shifting until it looked more like a bagel than a marshmallow. I had to admit defeat before it fell off the poker, into the fire, but at least I managed to get a semi-nicely toasted crust on the outside. I pulled off a bite of it, just to prove it was wonderful, ignoring the fact that marshmallows are not a vegetarian food. And you know what? It was hideous! Horrible! Yuck Poo! I hollered, Quick! I need something to take this taste away! And Thomas, darling Thomas, immediately brought me a glass of whiskey. That's how bad that pink marshmallow was - only whiskey would suffice as an antidote.
It does not escape me that I've gone from talking about a life-changing humanitarian beadist mission to Ethiopia, to babbling about giant marshmallows. Maybe it's part of the re-entry process. Go from doing something that matters a lot, to doing things that make no difference in the world at all. A pendulum swing that eventually might go back to center and balance. And then again, who's to say that an evening spent with good friends, toasting marshmallows, sure, but also talking about Ethiopia and other life experiences, isn't as important as anything else we do. Who says? We do. And I'll tell you what. While I'd go back to Africa in a heartbeat, I also wouldn't trade an evening by the fire with D&T and those ridiculous marshmallows for anything.