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Carrying Fire

 I started carrying a lighter a couple of years ago. Reflecting on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, it struck me that most of the soldiers carried matches. Imagine being in a trench, under a cold rain, the only source of heat now rendered useless in your pocket as the rain continues to fall. What would a doughboy have given for a small, reliable source of flame with which to build a fire to warm himself and his fellows? All the roses in Ireland, I suppose. 

My carry began with a Zippo that belonged to my late father-in-law, but I decided it had too much sentimental value for everyday use. Also, Zippo lighters have a habit of leaking or evaporating fuel. This isn't something you want when your lighter is needed, so I put the Zippo away for safekeeping and picked up a mini Bic. 

Tiny, almost unnoticeable in the pocket, the mini carries well. It has also came in handy on many occasions, such as at a child's birthday party when the time comes to light candles and the host realizes there's no lighter about, or when lighting charcoal to grill dinner on. Not the desperate Great War scenario that inspired my decision, which I hope to never encounter, but useful purposes nonetheless. 

The lighter served its purpose most recently on a warm Saturday evening. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed the day before and memorial gatherings were taking place nationwide, even in my small town. My family and I went to the county courthouse and found only one other person there. However, there was a small placard reading "Rest Easy RBG" and a candle that had lost its flame. I relit the candlewick while the other gatherer, one of the millions of young women the late justice had inspired during her years on the bench, played a recording of a speech made before her passing. Although the wind picked up, the candleflame held strong until it was time to leave. 

Carry fire, reader. 


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