I recall with distinct clarity and great pleasure my first ever taste of S’Mores, though at the time I thought my heart, along with other body parts, was going to break. Initially I had politely declined the offer, but my mentor in matters S’Mores would hear none of it. She assured me that the gooey combination of graham crackers, warm toasted marshmallows and the resulting melted chocolate was, in so many words (and there were many), “to die for.”
Well now, how could I possibly pass up such a promising treat, especially when I looked into the enchanting green eyes of the one making that promise—which I could barely see because it was really dark around that wimpy bonfire. And cold, too.
Using an extra long willow switch for safety, she carefully toasted the marshmallow near the glowing embers of the fire that was built just for that purpose. You see, it didn’t start out to be a campfire. It was built for the express purpose of over-dosing on sugar. That squishey white thing skewered on the end of the stick caught fire only once and from having watched the preceding proceedings, I think that one may have set the record for the fewest times incinerated.
When she deemed it done to perfection she hastened to the makeshift table and assembled the confection by the romantic light of a double D-cell flashlight. Then with all the pride of a master chef presenting her finest culinary creation, my first S’Mores was offered up to me for my enjoyment. She served it with her gloves off, no less. She was willing to suffer for her art. Did I mention how cold it was that dark night around that puny fire?
I, too, removed a glove from my hand. I was willing to suffer for her, too, art or anything else. Carefully I took the S’Mores from her hand and, while she watched in anticipation, bit off a portion and began to chew. My first thought was that it was a good thing all the caps and crowns and plastic in my mouth, courtesy of having spent a hugely unfair number of hours in dentists’ chairs, fit real tight because there was a rock in the middle of the treat. Or maybe the graham crackers were very old and very petrified, perhaps a leftover from the Pleistocene era.
No, that didn’t make sense because everyone else around that teeny fire had been enjoying their S’Mores, and surely my green-eyed friend would not have saved the worst of the graham crackers for my first experience. I knew her well and there was not a molecule of chicanery or guile in her slender body.
Wait a minute. I could distinctly taste the graham crackers as I chewed around the rock, well aware that two large and lovely green eyes were watching for my reaction. Was that a sparkle of mischief I detected, or just a reflection of that dinky fire?
Steady as she goes, I reminded myself. This could make or break your relationship with the lass. My tongue found the marshmallow, which seemed to be more or less intact, and because I really don’t like marshmallows I swallowed it quickly so I wouldn’t have to taste it any longer than necessary. I dared not spit it out—it would have snuffed the miniscule fire—and surely the lovely Ashley would see me perform the scurrilous deed. Besides, I still had the rock to deal with and I was concentrating hard on that.
Surreptitious glances at all around the fire revealed no obvious signs of guilt, but then it was really, really, really dark. And cold.
With a leaden heart I recalled that only the captivating Ashley had been at the table when my first S’Mores had been prepared. No, not my Ashley. I could not, would not believe it. Bind me to the main mast and lash me with a cat o’ nine tails, I refused to believe such a thing of her.
Oh, man, there was something on that rock! I could feel it slithering off the hard surface when I ran my tongue across it. Now what should I do? The fair Ashley stood across the wee fire from me and there was something disgustingly sludgy coming off that cold, hard rock and it tasted like…….chocolate. Chocolate? How could a rock taste like chocolate? Oh, yeah, there was supposed to be chocolate in S’Mores. Okay, now I’d located the chocolate and it was stuck to the rock.
Which brings us to the detecting part of this tale. Who did the dastardly deed? Who was the malicious miscreant? Who fulfilled the felonious feat?
Elementary, my dear Watson, so to speak. All the clues were right in front of my face and the comely Ashley was innocent. Our devotion to each other was spared any malingering hint of festering doubt.
The clues were these: it was really dark and it was really cold and the fire was no larger than the head of a matchstick. Well, okay, I’m exaggerating a bit about the fire. So what happens when you put all the clues together? What nefarious doings have transpired? Who the heck put the rock in my first S’Mores?
Why, the lovely Miss Ashley put it there. You thought I said she was innocent, didn’t you? Indeed, she was innocence personified.
It wasn’t a rock after all. It was a slab of frozen Hershey’s chocolate bar, cast into granite by the sub-freezing temperatures, unmelted by the medium rare marshmallow that had been toasted in the dark over a penurious fire.
I am gratified to report that by the time I had deduced all this the chocolate had thawed enough in my mouth to be broken up into pieces smaller than those that could choke Sue the T-Rex and said chocolate was thereinafter swallowed by yours truly.
And, more importantly, the bonny fair Ashley remains my very favorite six-going-on-seven-year-old neighbor, the eldest of her siblings, the sweet social butterfly, the builder of exquisite and exotic S’Mores. I thanked her for her creation and assured her it was every bit as good as the peanut butter sandwich she had once prepared for me.
I did, however, have a few things to say to her daddy about his cheapskate fire, so if he does it again I sure hope it’s bigger than the one he built a few weeks ago on that dark and cold night when I fretted my way through my very first S’Mores.