Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

First Best Friend (The Great Food War)

(This is another in an ongoing series about adventures with my first best friend, whom I’ve known since age 6. I have created a table of contents for this saga in the Pages section.)

I don’t remember exactly when, but Chris and I went on a short trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas, with his mom, my mom, my brother and his friend. Oddly, through all the years he and I have been friends, it still is the only trip our families have taken together. I’m glad we made sure it was memorable.

We stayed at the Avanelle Motor Lodge, since renamed but still about the same. I remember the original name because for years I had a drinking glass bearing its logo. I probably sneaked it into a suitcase when nobody was looking.

Chris and his mom had a room adjoining ours, and we kept the door between them open to form a symmetrical suite. Our moms chatted in one room while we four boys played in the other. Somewhere between watching TV and jumping on the beds, we snacked. These snacks included Funmallows — colored, full-size marshmallows in pastel pink, blue, green, and yellow.

It didn’t take long for us to discover that marshmallows, even multicolored, are shaped well for throwing. With a little water added, they had great sticking power, and we had the ideal targets — each other.

I would like to say that we devised an elaborate scoring system valuing each hit according to the color of the marshmallow used. That was not how it went down, however. It was pretty much a free-for-all, and there are not many places to hide in a room at the Avanelle. Our only defense was to dive behind a bed, or take refuge in the bathroom. Retreating to the other room, and therefore our mothers, was commensurate with deserting.

As we had a finite supply of the puffed sugar projectiles, but plenty of sugar-fueled boy energy, we re-used the marshmallows. Combined with the water and the repeated impacts, they got sloppy. So much, in fact, that misfires stuck to walls, curtains, and anything else they hit. They left behind a colorful residue.

In many wars, a weapon is developed that ends up being the showstopper, or it already exists but only one side possesses it. For white man’s dominance over the American Wild West, guns were a key factor (in addition to mass deception). In World War II, the hydrogen bomb made a horrendously final statement.

That night, however, we were not thinking of such lofty concerns. We were just upset that our marshmallows were deteriorating, and needed a replacement.

Looking back, I don’t know who threw the first Fig Newton, but I remember that the game suddenly became much more than a matter of hit counts. We were surviving. Those suckers hurt. Similar to a new weapon in a real war, the Newtons quickly ended the Food Fight at the Avanelle Corral.

Upon checkout, we joked that the housekeeping crew would wonder about all the random colored dots all over the curtains and the walls. I have no recollection of how our mothers reacted.

I’m just glad that adults don’t treat motel rooms like that. Oh, wait, some do. They’re called rock stars.

12 Responses to First Best Friend (The Great Food War)

  1. Funky new design here Mark.

    I remember doing something sort of similar when on a junior high school trip to China. The war-ending weapon that afternoon in the hotel room was a water-soaked dinner roll from the previous evening that ended up splattered all over the window.

  2. The new theme wasn’t working out for me. It didn’t work right in Internet Explorer and, although Firefox has gained a lot of ground, the IE users are a big lot to alienate.

    A new design is coming. Just not sure which one or when.

    Everybody just hang in there with me.

  3. Forced to use it at work, I prefer to call it ‘Internet Exploder’.

    I must say that this older design is more text-friendly and less distracting.

  4. Oddly enough, I had felt the urge lately to simplify my blog theme. Not to go totally minimalist, mind you, but to use one with less scripting, etc. (sorry, probably won’t have the sweet fade-in effect when you post a comment).

    Then, I saw that theme that allowed the user to choose the background, and I went nuts cropping and resizing lots of my photos to see how they looked in it. Up way too late, and now I ended up scrapping the idea. Sheesh.

  5. Keep the old site look bud… it’s clean, and it works (for me at least).

  6. I remember funmallows. My mom would never let get them. :(

    They just cried out to me from the store shelf with their tempting pastel multi-colors. Sniffle…

  7. Hmmm…for some reason my mind is telling me that we were in Lake Charles, LA on that trip. Are you sure we were at the Avanelle? Oh well, I guess it doesn’t matter. Wherever we were, that was a blast. I remember R losing his footing on the bed and almost crashing through the front window. He hit it HARD. That brought mom over to check on us and at least try to get us to calm down a little. I don’t recall it working though. I think we also went swimming at the hotel pool didn’t we? For some reason I’m thinking R forgot his trunks and had to swim in a pair of my athletic shorts and they kept coming off when he dove into the pool. Fun times…

  8. Dave – Thanks. I agree. And thanks for catching up after you got back from your trip. Glad you had a good time.

    Alvis – Gah. You’re so gay now that you watched “Brokeback.”

    Chuck – I don’t know why Chris would have gone to Lake Charles with us. I remember we also went to Midamerica Museum. It was a great time, and makes me realize why our friends thought our mom was so cool — because she wasn’t the type to crack down on a good ‘mallow fight.

    I remember the trunks, too. Hilarious.

  9. Yeah, I think you’re right. I think we went to Lake Charles for an Amway meeting, and I think maybe we tried to duplicate the famous mallow fight with the Bevans’ boys. At any rate…it was a fun trip. I don’t remember Mid America, but I probably wouldn’t remember that anyway.

  10. My funniest memory from the Lake Charles Amway trip was when we played football inside the motel room. The older boy was standing behind his overweight sister, who was defending the pass. He said, “Hey Charles, I’m wide, I’m wide,” Then holds his hands far apart and says, “Get it, wide?”

    She saw him out of the corner of her eye and waylaid him. Classic moment in kid history.

  11. Funmallows? I guess I messed that treat. I was not into marshmellows that much as a kid.

  12. I just thought about something else. How much food did y’all throw? Of all the times that I went on trips with friends, I never had anyone get the urge to throw food in a hotel room.

    You do not have to be a rock star to trash a hotel room. A couple of years ago, one of the TV news magazine shows did a report about how clean hotel rooms really are. One interesting finding was the finding of human urine sprayed on the walls of one hotel room. How did someone do that? Why would someone want to do that?


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