Both mother and father liked to entertain. The A-frame cabin in the woods was the scene of a monumental roast which was days in the making. Digging a huge pit, they lit a grand fire and deposited stones, watching over this in shifts for twelve hours like vestal virgins of Rome, ensuring the fire would not be extinguished, on pain of death. Into the fire they deposited an entire cord of wood and a huge assortment of rocks which originated from the Hope slide, which dad had used in constructing the pathway along the river against Alpine from the bridge to the Inn.
The neighbour watch party was a colourful assortment of characters: to Dad’s British, military background was added a former German military policeman (a volatile combination); an Italian from Rome who’s log cabin was often the scene of merriment and feasting that would make Dante proud; and of course the Fire Chief who provided legitimacy and oversight. Needless to say, the Woman’s Auxiliary filled an exemplary role in preparations.
This vigil lasted twelve hours after which into the pit of red hot rocks they dropped pig and beef, wrapped in linen and burlap bags (the latter formerly used for machine parts which, try as they might to clean, retained a residue that would not come out). This, they covered with dirt in a burial mound and proceeded to watch for an additional twelve hours.
By the time of the feast, rumour of the grand party had spread far and wide. An estimated fifty hungry and thirsty pilgrims, practically the entire Sunshine Valley membership it would be fair to say, showed up for fear of missing out. Digging up the burlap wrapped prizes they proceeded to feast in a style that would put Agamemnon at Troy to shame. One of the guests, in impeccable German accent, evidently remarked admiringly to my father how the burlap bags had lent a “unique, je ne sais quoi” to the meat.
With copious wine and colourful stories they entertained each other into the wee hours under the stars and around a grand fire.