Reader’s gift sparked hope

Ruth Griffiths

One of the things I miss most about being editor of Rural Roots is the contact with readers. During more than two decades of newspaper work I greatly enjoyed reading your letters and, later, email. I loved receiving your commenting on what you had read Rural Roots. Also enjoyable were your phone calls with information about sightings of birds and other wildlife. It was gratifying to know that people were reading the stories in Rural Roots and that those stories made a connection with the lives of so many people.

This summer I was finding it increasingly difficult to use my computer to write this column for Rural Roots so I was considering letting it go. Then, out of the blue, I received a surprise gift from Marcy Armstrong of Nipawin. Her parcel contained some of the firestarters that she makes from natural items that she finds in the forest. When I phoned to thank her for her gift I discovered a very interesting story. Marcy and her dog. Midnight (a black labrador), used to walk the forest trails during which she picked up anything that took her fancy. The twigs and bark she brought back from their walks were the items that she used for her firestarters. The fothings she found in the forest were artfully imbedded into three-inch blocks of wax and attractively packaged for sale.

Sadly, Midnight has passed over, but he lives in the name of her company, Midnight Firestarters. Marcy individually decorates the firestarters, depending on the season or the situation. One of her firestarting bears the word Canada and two red maple leaves. She can also make custom firestarters to be used as wedding favours or specialized birthday gifts, for example. The firestarters are attractively packaged in tiny boxes she makes herself. Everything can go into the fire except the plastic wrapping. There’s a label stating that no kindling is needed, just place the firestarter between logs and light the wick. Her creations are decorative as well as practical.

Marcy said she wasn’t expecting me to publicize her product but I wanted to share with you a success story. You can contact her at I thought it was a happy coincidence that she sent me a gift in the mail when I was at a low point in my life. My conversation with Marcy certainly helped me to rethink my decision to give up writing this column. During the summer I took a vacation from writing. Several people from across north central Saskatchewan said they were missing reading my columns. Even though it is increasingly difficult, I plan to write as long as I’m able because it will help to exercise my brain. Maybe more importantly it will maintain my social contacts and keep me in touch with the wider community. Marcy’s surprise gift and your kind comments have given me hope.