Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Barbeque/Cookout (09/06/12)
TITLE: In the Dead of Night
By Lillian Rhoades
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Tonight, sleep takes a detour. Despite the fact we’ve been fishing all day and are bone tired, Bo and I lie wide awake staring at the sliver of moonlight that filters through slits on the sides of the tent. Heavens! Even with night breezes and sleeping sun, I would bet my boot straps the temperature is a hundred degrees inside the tent. Over in one corner our cache for the day lie safely couched in mounds of ice, impervious to the sweltering temperature.
Bo thinks of it first, but it’s not difficult for me to sanction his insanity. I had been doing that ever since I met this hulk of unpredictability. A moon-lit cookout? Call it flight or fancy, I wasn’t quite sure. But we can’t sleep, so why not?
Bo pushes back the flaps of the tent and secures them. A soft, balmy breeze greets us as we step out into partially lit shadows. With our camping lantern teaming up with rays of moonlight we jauntily join the phantoms of darkness, pajama clad and barefoot, and gather anything dry enough to burn.
For Bo, starting a fire in the dead of night is as natural as the gentle zephyrs that whisper from the heavens. Night’s magic could not have worked a better spell on two dreary eyed and sleep deprived night raiders who are all fired up and ready to cook the day’s fishing booty in nature’s kitchen lit by heaven’s moonbeams.
On the banks of the Tiakawa that day, each of us had caught our share of good luck, although Bo’s stack of trout began to pile up quicker than mine. Now, as I sit before the dancing flames waiting for him to bring out the fish, I smile at the idea that dances in my head; our night out with a cookout.
“Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, this is going to be good,” Bo muses as he drops several pieces of the fresh rainbow trout on the waiting flames.
A canopy of stars rests atop the darkness, and when I gaze up at them I’m suddenly filled with a desire to cuddle.
“Even nicer because I’m eating it with you.”
Bo catches the cue, but we manage to make sure the fish does not burn.
We take our last bite somewhere around 2:00 a.m., down it with water purchased earlier at the campground commissary, and then shower the smoldering embers.
“Hey, little lady,” he says with a twinkle. “It’s been a long night. Don’t you think it’s time for bed?”
“What a silly question,” I tease back and race to beat him back to the tent.
It’s morning, and I awake with a pounding heart and panting breath to the sound of Bo’s voice calling out my name, but he is not beside me; only his picture – the last one I took of him that day at Tiakawa Lake.
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