Chip Bennett slipped a rock into his pocket for his memory box back home. He swallowed the last of his s'more and licked his fingers. He couldn't get away with that at home.
"Best kick some dirt on the fire boys, that is if you still want to hike around the Peak in the morning." Grandpa Bennett poured the last of his coffee on the campfire.
"Aw, no, not yet. Just a little longer, okay?" Chip and his friends Joe and Peabody, whined their plea nearly in unison.
"Yeah, Grandpa, just a little longer. We love roughin' it out here." Chip tugged on his grandpa's shirt. They could stay as long as they wanted since Grandpa Bennett took care of the Paisano Encampment.
"Roughin' it? Did you say 'roughin' it' boy? He, he, oh me..." He lay back on the ground, shoulders shaking with laughter. Chip and his friends lay down beside him, looking up at the stars, which seemed to twinkle in giggles with Grandpa.
"Oh, yeah, it's tough and rough up here with the cafeteria makin' you pizza and then you boys suffer by sleepin' in the air condition dorms.
"I'll tell you about 'roughin' it', as you call it. I wasn't more than a squirt the first time my daddy brought me up here. By the time his old Model T jolted and bumped up this mountain, I thought I'd lose all my teeth. He pulled right up to that spot over yonder where the drop off is to the creek. 'Course it had water in it then. We pulled off our shirts and went swimmin'.
"That summer is when all the churches started coming up here for Preachin' and Singin'. What good times we had in the Lord in them days. I got baptized in that very creek that summer.
"Now days all the churches have cabins with air condition, but we slept in tents or just under the stars. And the eats!"
"Cool! What did ya'll eat up here then, Grandpa?"
"Thatís where the fun comes in. One of the ranchers would always bring a cow. We'd watch him butcher it up and skewer it over a fire. The smell of that dripping fat sizzling and sputtering on the fire made a boy sorely hungry.
"After evening service the whole camp gathered around the fire. Some of the men took out knives and sliced off pieces of the beef and passed it around. There was always a big pot of beans to go with it. Nothin', and I mean nothin' ever tasted as good as that camp food. Sometimes there was homemade sauce to dip the meat in. The barbeque sauce from the grocery store just don't cut it when I think about them days. That's why I always make my own."
The boys were full of pizza and s'mores, but now their mouths watered for the taste of roasted beef and sauce. Man, Grandpa sure was a lucky dude.
"And we always had Paisano Pie." Grandpa sighed and smacked his lips.
"What is Paisano..." Peabody started. Was that a snort in the bushes?
"Hush, boys, don't move." Grandpa whispered and sat up slowly. Chip and Joe lay frozen to the ground. That scaredy cat Peabody yelped and moved closer to Grandpa.
"Just keep quiet and don't move." How could Grandpa keep so calm? A huge Javelina stepped into the light of the remaining embers, not more than eight feet from where they sat. Another one came up and then another. They sniffed around and snorted, but didn't come any closer. About ten of them rooted past into the darkness.
They all sat in mute stillness until the swine could be heard no more. Suddenly a shooting star dashed across the sky and broke their silence.
"Cool!" "Wow, awesome!" "No way!" They whispered with excitement as the fire was extinguished. They made their way back to the cabin for the night.
Grandpa served them Paisano Pie for breakfast, although he said it would have tasted better on an old tin pan rather than a paper plate.
Chip wondered on the way home how he could get that shooting star, the sight of those Javelinas, and the wonder of Grandpa's story into his memory box.
Years later, Great Grandpa's barbeque sauce recipe went into the box. But if he really wanted to relive that night, he'd just pour some syrup over a piece of white bread, the best pie ever.
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