Random Thoughts

July 4, 1942

... a child's eye view ...

by Ann Robbins Talbot

Cozy cabins encircle a small field. All day long a bonfire is being built in the center. Large logs are placed at the bottom. Slabs of wood from a nearby mill are layered next. Then come branches gathered from the forest floor by the kids.  Much discussion flows about what size wood should go where. The top logs are placed by the firemaster climbing the wooden hill. Every time I saw a twig during the day, I would hurry it over to the pile and toss it on as high as I could reach. The aroma of pine dominates the lake breeze.

After a summer supper of hot dogs and hamburgers, after sunset, the fire is lit. It roars. The fiery colors are amazing. The heat is overwhelming. We are hypnotized by the biggest fire we have ever seen. As evening grows darker, the bonfire seems even brighter. It is our entire focus.

With ceremony a group of men walk slowly around the fire carrying a huge figure stuffed with rags and smelling of oil. My six-year-old eyes watch as the mannequin is thrown on the fire, making enormous flames and showers of sparks. I am frightened but fascinated. I cannot stop looking. The giant burning doll has a name  Mussolini.

July 6, 2007

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