by Birdie Kisling
Often as we walk along in the fall we see a whiff of smoke and soon the nostalgic odor of burning leaves overwhelms our senses. What wonderful memories!!
We remember coming home on the school bus and entering the kitchen to the sight of our mother canning tomatoes. After a warm cup of tomato juice, butter and crackers, we hurry out to rake up leaves. Running and jumping into piles of leaves used some of our excess energy, and later lighting a fire helped ward off the chilly breeze.
Bonfires were central to our camping memories. After attending the Ranger’s program in the amphitheater, we would gather around the fire and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and make some smores.
Various gatherings of your groups usually had a time of singing around the campfire. We loved those old camp songs, we loved the fellowship and sharing with our friends and the burning embers as the fire died down etched the blessing of time, friends, sharing in our memory.
Bear Creek Meeting has been the location of many bonfires. Often while cleaning the meetinghouse for a large occasion, we would gather around the fire—tired, dirty, planning for a special event. Other times our Standing family reunion was held there and we would gather in the evening for stories, singing, and, or course, smores.
There was no central heating in our childhood home. Different kinds of fires burned there—a quick summer fire in the cook stove was usually corn cobs, fires to heat in the cold winter months were usually wood and coal, each with a distinctive odor. On cold winter mornings we listened for the sounds of fire building and would race across cold floors to sit on the warm oven door of the cook stove.
Interesting how different odors bring forth certain memories. After hot, dry days a soft rain brings forth the sweet, moist smell of grass. Bacon frying, breakfast on the farm, coffee, chatting with friends or family around the kitchen table, chocolate cake—anticipation of dessert—maybe company coming—bread baking—so, so special the ultimate heartwarming food of the fortunate family where food sustains not only the body but the Spirit of Love which surrounds the gathering together as friends.