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Foxy Dinner

  While lazily traveling around the country on holiday the summer of 1992, my wife, daughter and I at sunset, love to pull off the road into a national forest and make camp for the night. On this particular cool summer evening, we found ourselves in St. Francis National Forest situated in northeastern Arkansas. Covering only 22,600 acres, St. Francis is one of the smallest, most diverse forests in the country. As we set up camp, dusk began to settle while crickets softy sang a lullaby, putting the forest gently to sleep. However, anyone who has spent at least one night in the woods can attest to the fact that the forest never truly sleeps.
  After helping my daughter collect an ample amount of tinder, kindling, and fuel my 6-year-old carefully constructed a campfire that would make any scout leader proud. The smoke gently disappeared into the night air, reaching for the stars that were twinkling through the outstretched arms of oak, hickory, dogwood and maple.
  One of my favorite campfire meals, the foil dinner, was on the menu that night. We all pitched in helping to prepare sliced carrots, peeled onions, cut potatoes, whole mushrooms, and raw hamburger patties. I wrapped all of these ingredients in a double layer of foil along with fresh butter and carefully chosen seasonings, then placed them directly on the glowing coals of our campfire.
  Soon, the tightly wrapped silver micro ovens sizzled as the juices inside began to boil. The super-heated trapped steam fried, baked, and grilled each ingredient to a tender morsel. The delectable aroma infused the air around us.
  Except for the soft glow of flames flickering in the fire, the forest was pitch black. Off in the distance a horned owl hooted as the crickets and cicadas chirped in unison. My ears perked when I heard a soft sh, sh, sh, sh, in the darkness behind me. The sound grew louder and louder while my heart beat faster and faster. Suddenly a large red fox calmly and nonchalantly appeared in the firelight. Without skipping a beat, he gracefully circled around us, then paused for a moment to sniff the night air. His eyes glowed brightly in the firelight. Realizing no danger was apparent, my excited daughter squealed with glee. Un-disturbed, the sly, crafty critter peacefully disappeared into the swallowing darkness.