Nightfall can be an eerie time on the wide open prairie. A silvery moon quickly casts ghostly shadows brought to life by coyotes howling in the distance. Stillness creeps over you with not even the faintest breeze to calm you.
There in my bed the silence is overwhelming. I strain to hear even a faint chirping cricket, but find none. Tonight even Buffy is restless. The heaviness of the day's burdens carries over into a restless night. Slipping from my covers I creep to the door and listen for signs of movement in the house. Ever so quietly my tip-toes take me down the dark hall.
In the kitchen I find my grandfather sitting quietly at the table. The faint light of the oven reveals his face drawn and tired. Burdens of the day weight heavy on him tonight. With a ragged breath he spies me and gives his soft smile inviting me to join him.
Her in the night we sit alone there in the big farm kitchen. Here on this sleepless night we share a late night treat; a favorite snack. Crunchy, salty crackers stacked with slices of hard cheese are topped with the best part of all- tangy summer sausage. Together here in the night there are no words, just him and me and our late night treat putting to rest the heaviness of the day and the restlessness of the night.
Grandpa's Summer Sausage
2 lbs. lean ground beef, uncooked
2 tablespoons canning salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Knead all ingredients well and shape into three small logs. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for twenty-four hours.
Unwrap and bake one hour at 300 degrees. After baking, cool and drain the sausage on a wire rack.
Enjoy with salty crackers and sliced cheese!