Ray was a reasonably handsome bachelor in his mid-twenties, and Bea was a proper young bachelorette in her early twenties. They were not a romantic "item," they were next door neighbors. They were both a bit on the bashful side, especially around the opposite sex. This was back in the days when it was fashionable to be shy.
We give you this information to introduce the tension which pervaded at the unsavory feast we are about to describe.
Bea's dad, Fred, was a farm hand on the farm owned by Ray's dad. Ray liked to hunt but his dad didn't. Fred, was an experienced and avid hunter. Ray persuaded Fred to join him on a javelina hunt in the nearby desert mountains. He dreamed of successfully stalking and killing a "wild pig" as the javelina are commonly if perhaps mistakenly called. He would then feast on the fruits of his hunt, as the hunter/gatherers of old. This would be the first javelina hunt for both men.
Fred was a crack shot and a cool head when it came to hunting. This would come in handy on this particular hunt.
They were high up on a mountain side when they jumped a group of javelinas. These quick and agile animals darted and dodged in and out among boulders and bushes down a steep canyon. Fred quickly drew a bead on a half grown shoat, and downed it quickly, but Ray was wanting a large trophy, and wasn't quick enough. The animals got out of sight before he was able to zero in on one.
Ray found a seat on top of a large boulder where he could observe where the canyon opened up onto the flatter land about three or four hundred yards below. When the javelinas would exit the cover of the canyon, he would have a clear shot although at a great distance of almost a quarter of a mile.
Using an antiqued but powerful rifle, Ray waited until the animals broke cover and began firing. After several shots he excitedly announced, "I hit a big one!" The javelina disappeared beneath a Palo Verde bush with low hanging branches, but Ray was certain he had made a solid hit.
Fred told him to mark the spot where the javelina had gone, by locating a cactus or a tree or some other identifiable object nearby so they could find the place where it was last seen when they got near the spot. They took time to field dress the animal Fred had killed and then proceeded to find the one Ray had hit.
When they located the bush under which the wounded boar had gone, they could see the animal's bulk through the branches and he didn't appear to be moving. They assumed he was dead. Fred pulled the branches back and advised Ray to use the barrel of his rifle to poke the animal to be sure it was dead.
When he attempted to do this, the big boar reared up and lunged at him with his mouth open wide and his big tusks, in both the upper and lower jaws, glaring. It made a snarling noise like a tame hog does when angered. Ray jumped backwards in panic and started working shells through his rifle without firing a shot. Quickly reacting to the situation Fred shot and killed the beast before it could get in reach of Ray.
Just in case you didn't know, javelinas have a musk gland on their back. It smells much like a skunk if not even more repulsive. They are sometimes called skunk pigs.
They say if you don't rupture the musk gland the meat is delicious, but this animal had been wounded. Either the bullet had struck the scent gland or he had thrown his musk, or the men had damaged the gland while skinning and field dressing this big animal. In any event, the scent had spread and saturated his bristly hair and penetrated the meat, and therein lay the problem.
Ray was insistent on eating the meat of his first javelina kill. It was a sort-of a rite of passage for him, or perhaps the code of the hunter which says you eat what you kill.
After they had skinned and dressed the boar it still reeked with a strong and sickening odor. Ray's mom would have nothing to do with it. After smelling it Bea's mom said "No," in no uncertain terms, to cooking it. Ray turned to Bea, the only person left who knew how to cook, and begged her to cook it for him.
He knew nothing about cooking, but badly wanted this meat cooked. Bea was reluctant, but under the strain of being pressed by this handsome young man to help fulfil his dream of dining on his victory meal, she finally agreed. But Bea wasn't going to be deceived. She made Ray solemnly promise he would eat it if she cooked it. He vowed he would.
Bea's mom agreed to help in an advisory capacity, and calling on her years of experience at cooking wild game, she told Bea how to prepare a solution to marinate the meat in and hopefully cancel out the odor.
They used buttermilk and vinegar and some other ingredients and soaked it for a few hours before cooking it. This was partially but not completely successful, the meat had been saturated in the musk, and even after being marinated it still stunk up the place.
When the feast was cooked, and the table set it looked like a fine ham entree, but smelled like a skunk. As the slices were being cut, the guests (family members) excused themselves and left the house one by one. Some of them took a small bite, and then tried to slip the rest to the dog but he wouldn't accept it. They then hurried to find some way to wash the odor from their mouth.
Poor Ray was trapped. He tried to beg off of his promise but Bea wouldn't let him. "You promised to eat it if I cooked it." She insisted. Well, I cooked it, now you are going to eat it!"
Ray stood good to his promise. Bite by repulsive bite, between gags and coughs, he finished his whole slice under the watchful eye of Bea. But he didn't ask for seconds! No one did.
It was a unsavory feast!