“Fire!” by Taylor Pool

“Taylor! Fire!” There’s nothing like hearing those words while standing in Easter mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Yes, I may or may not have almost burned down this renowned and treasured world-famous landmark and house of worship during the celebration of one of the most important Christian holidays… Oops. Here’s how this happened.

I was standing in line outside the cathedral before mass began and I was given a candlestick with a paper cone that would protect my hands from the wax. No big deal, right? I simply lit my candle from the flame of the person in front of me and anxiously waited my turn to enter the building.

On an important side-note, the reason I had to wait so long was because the Scouts of France and the Scouts of other surrounding countries (like Switzerland) were all attending Easter mass at Notre Dame as well. There must have been at least a thousand of them trying to squeeze through the cathedral doors at once. They were also all wearing the exact same green outfit, but that is unrelated. From what I have heard, the Scouts of France is an organization similar to the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, only more religious, which does explain why they were attending Easter mass together. Anyway, back to my story.

Since the scouts were seated in the pews and even spilled out into the aisles, my friends and I had to stand off to the side. This was the first time I had ever been inside Notre Dame and to say it was beautiful is an understatement. I couldn’t help but take pictures. I was completely absorbed in this activity and next thing I knew people were hitting me, tapping me and tugging on my sleeve from all sides. At first I didn’t understand, but all of my confusion disappeared when my friend hissed, “Taylor! Your candle is on fire!” My candle had become a torch while I wasn’t paying attention. Silly candle, what were you thinking?

What was I thinking? Well, to be honest, I didn’t know what to think. My gut instinct was to blow out the flame as I would a candle, but as I quickly discovered, that tactic is not nearly as effective with burning paper. Finally, I ended up throwing the entire thing on the ground. After a desperate “Help me!” plea, the scouts helped me stamp out the fire. Phew! Disaster averted.

After the drama was over, I looked around and it appeared that everyone had directed their attention back to the sermon. However, I did hear the old man standing next to me say, “Now that’s a real Girl Scout.” Ha! Thanks sir, thanks a lot.

Luckily, after the fire incident, mass went off without a hitch, I listened to a fantastic sermon and great music. I have bragging rights forever about attending Easter mass at Notre Dame, and I did get some awesome pictures!

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