Charlie’s Room: The Marshmallows

It was snowing again. Charlie bundled himself up as soon as the sun was up, and went out to make a snowman.   Then, he’d made another, and another, and another. Isaac went outside to investigate.

“Are you making a snowman army?” he asked.

Charlie laughed. “It’s not an army, it’s us.”

Isaac looked around at the large number of little snowmen. “Us who?”

Charlie pointed to the littlest snowman. “That’s me. And those two are you and Mom. And over there is Aunt Bethyl and Aunt Doris and Cousin Reginald. And over there is the rest of our dinosaur club.”

“Well it looks like the snowmen us are having a lot of fun,” Isaac said.

Charlie opened and closed his hands. “Yeah, but now my hands hurt.”

“Let’s see.” Isaac helped Charlie take off his wet, cold mittens. “Your hands are much too cold. I think we should go inside and warm up.”

“Can we have hot chocolate?” Charlie asked.

“Of course we can.” Isaac smiled. “In fact, I got a package from Aunt Bethyl earlier in the week, and I’ve been saving it for just the right time.”

“What did she send?” Charlie asked.

“Wait and see.” Isaac jogged a few steps. “I’ll race you to the door.”

“That’s cheating! You got a head start!” Charlie ran past Isaac.

Marianne met them at the door. “You both look cold. I started scrambling some eggs for breakfast. Who wants to make some toast?”

“I will,” Charlie said. “Dad said he’d make hot cocoa.”

“That sounds great,” Marianne said.

“It will give Charlie a chance to warm up his hands over the toaster.   They’re really cold.” Isaac started opening and closing the cupboards.

“That’s a great idea!” Charlie hurried over to the toaster.

Marianne stirred the eggs and then stood next to Isaac as he looked into another cupboard. “What are you looking for?” she asked.

“The marshmallows from Aunt Bethyl,” Isaac said.

Marianne smiled. “I put them in with the cocoa, behind the big jar of your cocoa mix.”

“I thought I’d looked there.” Isaac went back to the first cupboard he’d checked and took out the jar of homemade cocoa mix. It was a family recipe that his mom had mixed up every year when the weather started getting cold.   Making the same cocoa always reminded him of her.

There was a small package of marshmallows in the back of the cupboard.   Isaac held them up. “Found them.”

“Great!” Charlie said. “Now make the cocoa, please.”

Isaac started heating the milk on the stove. Marianne was already dividing up the scrambled eggs. “Is the toast almost done?” she asked.

“Yes. Why did Aunt Bethyl send marshmallows? They have them at the store,” Charlie said.

“I don’t know,” Isaac said. “The package says that they’re rainbow marshmallows.”

“They look like normal marshmallows to me,” Charlie said. “They’re all little white puffballs.”

“Maybe rainbow is the brand name,” Marianne said.

“The bag says they’re made by visitors from outer space,” Isaac said.

Marianne and Charlie laughed. “I bet that’s why she sent them,” Marianne said. “Because the bag is funny. Does it have a picture?”

“No picture,” Isaac said. “The cocoa’s done.”

“Charlie, if you’ll get the silverware, I’ll add the toast to the plates, and we can bring everything to the table.” Marianne put the empty pan in the sink to soak.

They were soon at the table, ready to drop the little white marshmallows into their cocoa. “Look,” Charlie said. “They change colors when they’re in the cocoa.”

“How do they do that without dyeing the cocoa?” Marianne prodded at her marshmallows with her fork.

“I think the real question is what do they taste like,” Isaac said. He fished a marshmallow out with his fork and ate it.

“What’s the answer?” Marianne asked.

“They taste like normal marshmallows. Did they dye my tongue strange colors?” Isaac stuck out his tongue.

“Nope,” Charlie said. “Since you haven’t died yet, I guess they’re safe to eat.” He started slurping his cocoa.

Marianne laughed. “Thanks for being the brave test subject for us,” she said. “Fortunately it appears that these alien visitors weren’t hostile.”

“No problem,” Isaac said. “I think that most visitors from outer space are friendly.”

Marianne and Charlie laughed again. They finished their breakfast, and took the dishes to the sink.   Charlie started bundling up.

“Let’s get you some warmer gloves if you’re going out again,” Isaac said.

“I need to make snowmen for my teacher and the rest of my class at school,” Charlie said.

Isaac found a pair of waterproof gloves in the top of the closet by the front door.   “It’s nice that you don’t want to leave anyone out of your snowman party,” he said. “Luckily, there is still plenty of snow. Do you want some help?”

“Yes, please,” Charlie said. “And when we’re done, can we have some more cocoa with rainbow marshmallows?”

“Of course we can,” Isaac said.