My grandfather loved hunting, fishing, shooting, and camping. An L.A. City Firefighter, he followed the tradition of most firemen and worked a second job doing carpentry from the garage. By the time I knew him, he was "Grampy" and never had anything but a kind word and the abundant love only a grandparent can provide. But by all other accounts, he was a real "man's man." That never prevented him from taking me camping when I was younger, despite the fact that I was a girl - a girl who felt sorry for the worms on his hook and "washed" his fish, effectively letting them go.
I have tried over the years to locate the campground at Glass Creek, up near Mammoth. What I am able to locate does not even begin to match my memory. I can picture the fallen tree trunk, the wide expanse of the campground, Grampy's 1965 Ford Econoline van, and that wonderful creek - a place I would just watch, down on my belly, looking for signs of life. Once I found a small rusty pocketknife on the stream bottom. I retrieved it and proudly brought it back to Grampy, hoping he might find it useful. He exclaimed over my treasure, then put it up and out of the way.
Grampy loved to cook, especially in the van - he had a small cook stove in there. His speciality was chili - loaded with bell peppers and onions, items too strange for my grade-school palate.
One late afternoon, I was by the creek. My father had just driven up, having been to a business conference in San Francisco. Dad was sitting by the tent, enjoying a beer and Grampy was cooking.
All of the sudden, I hear this loud and joyful, "YEE HAW!" from the van. I looked over and started laughing. My dad was smiling.
It is a good memory.