Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dogged




“Thanks for telling me,” I said.  “I suppose I better get on outta here.”

Gal’s effort to locate me carried respectable gravity. Its pull was strong. Certain Clay was in the lodge, I didn’t want to leave without him. What would it hurt to wait a tad longer?

“Uncle, she said not to let you fart around cause it was urgent, her words not mine. Somethin’ about your friend coming home,” said the boy. “Here, take my light. Just leave it on the porch and I’ll get it tomorrow.”

What? I’d have put money on being right, that Clay was the one talking to me during the sweat. He must have showed up at home after I left. The fire keeper handed off a bottle of water to me, baton style, as I hurried for the trail. I was a bit hungry and shaky from excessive sweating.

“Hey Uncle, wanna weenie?” asked a boy as I cut through the campground. 

It was the kid who got bombed with the blazing marshmallow. Their site had several propane powered lanterns setting around. Moths, intoxicated with light, banged their heads against the glass globes. The kid, recognizing me, held out a perfectly charred hotdog on a roasting stick. My belly rumbled at the thought. Grabbing the dog from the stick on the fly made the family laugh at me.

“Thanks and see ya’s next time, I’m in a hurry,” I said, shy of ample breath. 

What a gorgeous evening to be with family and friends by campfires. Small frogs, singing continuous rounds of praise hymns made me glad it was springtime too. A few mosquitoes, unable to resist my steamy aura, drilled at my neck and arms as I made my way unto the porch.

A spider, cousin to Toby maybe, wove a net between the siding and porch light. It booked out as I went inside.

“Clay? Where you at you ornery stinkweed? I asked while opening the door. 

Gal’s car was home. The aroma of coffee loitered about the kitchen but the pan was empty. I heard laughing in the back yard so went out to snoop. A fire snapped and popped in a small pit. Its light teased the faces of Clay and Gal who both seemed care free.

“Jeez, about time,” said Gal. “Grab a log seat and tin cup. Coffee’s in the thermos. I’m makin’ cattail bread. I’m sure you’re hungry after doin’ a sweat.”

Clay, standing next to his woman who sat in a folding chair, sipped coffee while stroking Gal’s hair. His tee shirt tattled on some heavy sweating.

“Gal, ya gotta keep turnin’ that stick or you’ll burn the bread,” said Clay softly and sweetly.

Cattail bread was what we called it. It consisted of heavy frybread dough wrapped around a stiff willow stick. A cylindrical sleeve of dough about six inches long was formed around the stick and roasted slowly over fire or coals. When it was dark brown in color it resembled a cattail. If a large enough stick was used you could pull the bread off and stick a roasted weiner in the hole to make a blanket dog.

“Wow Clay, you got a fever?” I asked. “It’s cool this evening but look at all that sweat. And how long you been here?”

“Got here just ahead of you. Musta missed each other. Went lookin’ for ya. Walkin’ fast made me sweat hard.”

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