I was sitting around the ol’ “civilized campfire” (a big candle on the coffee table with 3 wicks in it) late last night with all the lights turned off. The wine was dry, the couch comfy, the hors d’oeuvres tasty and the atmosphere so peaceful that my wife was dozing off in her recliner as bars of Brahms quietly flitted about in the background. My mind harkened back to so many, many nights out in the wilds, sitting around a crackling campfire by myself or with friends after a long arduous day of climbing, canoeing, hunting, fishing, or just hiking. The friendly fires flames would jump and flicker brightly as the wood popped and crackled, and the cool evening breezes shifted the delicate aroma of burning oak, cherry or pine until it would invade our nostrils marking all that remained of a once strong and mighty tree.
Occasionally a log would burn through and drop heavily into the white hot embers emitting an upward shower of sparks that would glitter and sparkle like so many fire flies until burning themselves out like miniature shooting stars. As the fire would die down its warmth and beauty would retreat inward drawing all those gathered around it to move closer with its almost hypnotic power. Peacefulness and tranquility would emanate outward enveloping everyone with a quiet and serenity found no where else on earth.
Imagination will take you only so far however, and the three little independent flames of my “civilized campfire” failed to deliver the nostalgic imagery my brain registered of those wonderful campfires of yesteryear. Trying to bring some realism into the situation I grabbed my coyote call and ripped off a few robust yips and howls.
Even in the glow of just those three little candle lights, I could see clearly the wine from my wife’s glass as it rose and hung momentarily suspended in mid-air at it’s apex, held aloft I believe, by the primal scream of terror she had let loose. Her then empty wine glass was hurled directly my way with the velocity of incoming mortar fire and the dead eye accuracy of a cruise missile. Just how that little lady could perform that feat from a three quarter reclined position, out of a dead sleep, left handed, is beyond me. Because my hand still held the coyote call in my mouth, I was spared a direct cranial hit with the attending damages, however I failed to escape completely unscathed as the glass shattered into a million shards of fast moving crystal shrapnel. The calls lanyard was wrapped around my wrist which proved to be a definite benefit in eventually retrieving the call from half way down my throat. Had the lanyard not been attached, I believe I’d be farting coyote howls to this day! On the other hand, the panic on my part, coupled with an over activated gag reflex resulted in about a 15 second cacophony of yips and screeches, sounding like a whole pack of coyotes under full attack by a pack of cougars before I could successfully pull the call free. At least that’s what my abruptly awakened wife perceived the noise to be – or so she told the paramedics.
On our return from the hospital ER hours later, an agreement was struck between my bride and me to relegate any and all critter calls to my den where all heads, horns, body mounts, pelts and sundry other dead things had already been previously quarantined. Upon cleaning the wine from the ceiling and carpet I was told I could round out my, roughing it, imaginary adventure by spending what little remained of the night, alone on the couch. I soon dozed off in a tired and pain pill induced foggy sleep, dreamily wondering just where in the living room I had dug the latrine!