Two hours later, Paw's rusty red pickup was bouncing along the dirt road, and I was crammed into the cab between Paw and Mike, one of his fishing buddies. Country music blared out of the windows as Mike took a swig out of his beer can, sloshing the bitter liquid onto his lap and a little onto mine, while Paw took a long drought from his cigarette and stuck it out the window to air.
"Who knows," Mike laughed, his beer belly jigging in time to the bouncing truck. "This girl of yours might prove to have quite a hand at the boat, eh, Neddie-boy?"
"She can cook too," my paw answered nochalantly, "And wash dishes. By golly, we'll have the cleanest camp at Marvel Lake! And when we come staggering into the tent at night too drunk to care, she'll put us to bed! What a week this'll be! It'll be like having Molly around."
I grinned, knowing exactly what my maw would think if she could hear this talk, though I was enjoying it. The open lake air drew sweat down my back and the stench of Mike's laughing belly was making my stomach turn, but I didn't care. In all the years I'd begged to be a part of the annual fishing trip, Paw had said I was too young. Well, not anymore.
The truck swerved into a grassy parking lot beside a bashed RV, directly in front of the dilapidated wooden sign that read:
Wilson Berkely Campgrounds
Fishing gear avaliable for rent
"Well, sweetcheeks," Paw's jolly voice reached my ears, "How d'ya like this place? There ain't no women 'round here to be tellin' us what to do, and besides that, the Berkely Pub is the best in town! You know your great-great-grandfather's house...."
He trailed off, but I knew the story. A long time ago, the campground had been a plantation owned by my Maw's great-grandfather, but after his death it had been sold and converted into a pubhouse, and Maw's grandfather had moved his family into town and opened the feed store, the oldest remaining store in town, that Paw now ran. Despite the family history, I had never been to the campgrounds before.
As we stepped out of the truck I stopped to gaze around at the scenery. A little ways away, I could see part of Marvel Lake glimming in the sunlight, but the rest of the water was obscured by a thick grove of trees. "Ah, Wilson's woods," Paw said, chuckling a little. "Those trees weren't planted until after the plantation was sold. You know, if the land had been kept in the family, we'd be rich now."
I wondered why the plantation had been sold, but I didn't say anything just then. Instead I turned to Mike, who was struggling to lift the heavy tack box, and helped him heave it from the back of the pickup and set in onto the ground. "Well!" He said cheerfully, "Let's go claim our campsite!"