Warm days, mild nights and laughter shared with friends seemed to hasten the passing of the week. If it was daylight, they were usually out on the water, except for brief periods of capricious Spring time weather. The evenings were mostly spent visiting friends or playing dominoes.The nights however, were something else ! Most nights the windows were open in the motorhome. The light and cool night breezes coming off of the lake carried scents and sounds that were music to sleep by. Often distant rumbling of a thunder storm would carry to them, reminding them of how good the down comforter on the bed felt. Wildlife sounds were abundant and a source of listening pleasure for them. The calls of night birds and in particular the calling of whipporwills was pleasant indeed.One night a whipporwill landed in a tree above the motorhome. Though the bird had landed fairly quietly, Dillon who had been sleeping by the bed, bounded to his feet. He had lightly brushed the side of the bed as he quickly arose to the sound. A low, deep, gutteral growl came from his chest. Then the whipporwill called. Quietly, he laid back down. The sudden movement and the subtle alarm notice given by Dillon had awaken them. Slowly, they dozed back off to the beautiful calls of the night song bird.Another night Dillon alerted as a Raccoon tried to get a trash can lid off. His growl had been enough to move the Raccoon’s shopping trip further down the shoreline. An hour later a novice camper that hadn’t cleared off the picnic table before going to bed woke the whole camp up while running the Raccoon away from his groceries. They didn’t even get up to go look, the sounds told the whole story. The novice camper would be making a trip to town tomorrow to replace damaged and consumed items.Geese migrating back North often spent the night on a low, narrow spot of sandy island about one hundred and fifty yards from camp. A maurauding predator could cause a large and raucous outburst in the middle of the night, but was mainly unsuccessful.It was all the greatest of “sleeping music” for the Spring time campers.Daytime wildlife could make things around camp intresting as well. Fast and clever, the Crows could wreak havoc on a campsite that was unattended for even a few minutes. One morning while cooking breakfast outside, Butcherknife was making “silverdollar” pancakes. She thought Dillon was raiding her platter of pancakes, and was preparing to scold him. As she would place the next batch of small pancakes on the platter, it never seemed to increase. When suddenly she saw a swooping crow out of the corner of her eye. Dillon was asleep under the table and hadn’t heard the silent wings of the crows as they would swoop down to grab a small pancake.Laughing to herself about how she had been hoodwinked by the crows, she moved the platter to the edge of the camp stove.Squirrels may be the greatest camp thief of all. They can open a loaf of bread and distribute it among them faster than might be imagined. Plastic jars are not a deterrent to squirrels. One of the grandkids had made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a snack one afternoon, and left the jar on the table. When they came back they found a squirrel shoulder deep into the jar of peanut butter. He had ate a hole in the plastic lid the exact same size as the jar. Nothing remained of the lid but the very edge where it screwed onto the jar.A few campsites down a neighbor had made a trip to town to get minnows for crappie fishing. He sat his bucket full of minnows down outside while he went into his camper to get something to take to his boat. He had to gather up several items and it took a few minutes. When he came back to the minnow bucket, the crows had turned it over and were feasting on the bright and shiney minnows. He only had four left to take crappie fishing.On a morning when they hadn’t cast the jugs the night before, they slept in a little bit. First light revealed that a heavy fog had set in, and with the windows open they could see the fog as it gently flowed through the open windows. It had been like waking up to find that they were sleeping in the clouds. There was an erie silence over the camp as the dense fog muffled sounds. The fog diffused the early pre dawn light in strange ways. Softly she had nudged him, “look” she whispered. He had sat straight up from a sound sleep to find that he was in the clouds ! Dillon’s cold nose brought him back to reality. He must have made a noise or something, for Dillon stuck his nose under the covers to see if he was ok.Early Spring time is when a marvelous event occurs. An event not as widely heralded as the returning of the swallows to San Juan Capestrano, but very important to Ouachita Mountaineers. It is the annual returning of Polk Salad to the mountains. An old time favorite, Polk salad is prepared in many ways. Their favroite is scrambled with eggs and onions.Picking a small mess of Polk Salad to fill out a lakeside meal seems to be a traditional thing.
White beans, peppersauce, polk salad, mashed potatoes, sausage and cornbread. Heavenly, positively, heavenly.Life is good on a Ouachita Mountain lake !