I wake up and it’s hard to breathe. My entire body is sore. My legs hurt the worst and my hip is screaming at me to roll over and relieve the pressure. As I do, pressure of a different sort forces me to continue the movement, roll out of bed and stumble to the bathroom. As I fall back into bed and pull the down comforter over me my wife appears like an angel with a cup of coffee. I groan and sit up a bit more so that I can drink my coffee without spilling it and reach for the iPhone. I check my email and then Facebook before posting the following:
Pretty sure that the way I feel about the coffee that my wife just brought me is a sin. Need to read up on that.
One of my aunts quickly assures me that it’s not a sin or, if it is, it’s not a big one. Grateful, I continue scrolling through the posts from this morning.
Last night was the first gumbo of the year at @jinksto’s. Took me this long to process. Just plain great.
Which prompts me to add:
My "bad decisions" have been reduced to having an extra bowl of gumbo and two too many strawberry cream puff pastries… I still feel guilty the next morning but there are fewer broken laws involved in making me feel that way. Net result: good.
I grin a bit and re-read all of yesterdays posts. It’s a timeline for a beautiful day so I’ll share some of it with you.
I was supposed to join folks for a pancake breakfast at Will@home’s church. In yesterdays first scroll through Facebook I saw Rob’s first post of the day regarding that breakfast and threw out this response:
Grrr… Just woke up. Meet after. Apologies to Will.
After which I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep. An hour later I drug myself out of bed and, after getting dressed, I posted this notice:
Gumbo in the yard today. You coming? We’re kicking off spring today.
That’s a common thing to do. Announce food on Facebook. If you can see my Facebook you’re welcome to come to my house when we cook. Most people know that but a few friends still require personal invitations. They’ll learn.
I checked the weather for the day and it looked wonderful. Bluebird clear skies and warm. It’s a nice break from cold that we’ve had the last few weeks. I did a few tasks around the house and promised Mrs. Jinksto that I would take the trash to the dump as soon as I got back from helping a friend move. Promised.
I had agreed to meet Rob at his house after the pancake breakfast with the thought that we’d head over for a morning of U-Haul loading. As I was en-route he called and said that the Lady Hines needed to borrow my truck to help yet another friend. I agreed immediately and later posted this bit of wisdom:
Loaned someone my truck this morning. As I watched it roll away I thought, "Hmmm… wonder where she’s going and when she’ll bring it back." Reckon that’s the difference between friends and true friends. For friends you find out that answer first, for true friends you don’t really care.
When I arrived I stepped out of my truck and picked up a lawn chair to load onto a nearby trailer. We’ve done this enough to know what has to happen so long introductions aren’t really needed. You just fall in and go to work. I nodded to people I had never met before as we carried things out of the house to load on the truck. Later as we were unloading at the new house we found time to stand around getting to know one another. That’s when I met Jack and his son Steve. After a few minutes of chatting it was clear that they really needed to spend some time in the woods so an offer to join us later was extended and accepted.
After that we took an hour to unload the U-Haul and since my truck wasn’t back yet Rob gave me a ride home. About halfway home I remembered my promise to Mrs. Jinksto and cringed a bit but when I walked in she gave me a welcome home hug and didn’t say a thing about my missing truck. I love her.
I started in on the cooking and got together my “second store run” list which basically consists of everything that you forgot the first time. Once I had a good handle on that list I jumped on the bike for a run to the grocery. I could have taken the car but I only needed a couple of things and figured that I’d better take advantage of the weather.. While I was at the store, Rob posted the following:
Crew is packed up and headed to @Jinksto , we are rolling four deep in redneck mobiles! Whooot … Lookout, here we come!
Since my house is out in the woods it’s almost always easier to explain to folks how to get to his house and then caravan over.
As I rode up, there was a line of cars waiting to turn into my drive. I fell into line and followed the redneck caravan up to the house. As soon as we arrived I went to the shop to get the gumbo pot and propane burner ready. I had 15 people at the house and more on the way when I discovered that BOTH the gumbo pot and burner were still at Rob’s house where we used them to fry the thanksgiving turkey’s. That’ll stop your heart. A few minutes later I posted this picture with the comment:
No propane. Lost gumbo pot. No problem. I love being redneck.
This pot is one that Miss Tracey gave me for Christmas last year. It’s huge and has been pressed into service a couple of times when we need to feed a lot of people. You can easily feed 40 people out of it (I know because after feeding 20 people last night it was still half full).
Steve brought his guitar along and the boy knows his stuff. It’s a good thing because when I plugged the sound system in I found that a winter of being stored under the outdoor bar didn’t do a lot for the internal electronics. I felt a little bad about forcing him into service but like most musicians he didn’t seem to mind and played until his fingers got too cold to continue. That worked out to be just about the time that Gumbo was ready so things worked out nicely.
The Gumbo cooked for about three hours while we talked and sang and watched the kids play in the woods. We shared stories and more than a few pictures were posted to Facebook.
As the sky darkened we kicked up the fire, I lit the torches along the walk and while one component took the kids in for a big screen showing of Nemo the rest of us engaged in a tradition as long as human history. Sitting around a fire on a cold night telling stories. As the moon hung in the night sky listening we told stories of weddings and hunting trips and friends that are no longer near. We each listened intently tossing in comments and using the previous story to launch our own. Laughter rang out through the night on several occasions and jests about the keeper of the flame not doing his work as the cold snuck under loose clothes were many. The night turned colder to the point that some of us were shivering even with the fire but still we hung on. No one wanted to be the first to call it a night. At one point I posted this picture and commented:
You know the food was good if you have to throw wood on the fire three times after dinner.
Eventually though, we had to give it up and folks were quick to help with cleanup. Goodbye’s were said and hugs passed around as parting gifts. I later posted this update and a link to my post “The trinity”:
I started to write a post about tonights gumbo but it would have been a copy of this one anyway so I’m going to bed instead 🙂 Fantastic night with friends.
I sit here sated, tired, happy. I reek of the trinity. Tonight we had what I tried very hard to keep from becoming a party. A party is a collection of people “having a good time” with a purpose. A party is also tense. There are social rules that have to be met. There is stress…
After the feast compliments and thanks were shared. But two stood out for me in particular. I’ve said before that we mostly do these things for “the kids”. We remember nights like last night from our own childhood and want to share those things with them.
I remember what it was like to play in the trees until dark drove you into the nice, warm house. I remember what it was like as a teen to sit around a fire listening to adults tell stories. Observing, laughing along at jokes that I didn’t quite understand and learning… sometimes learning things that I shouldn’t but learning still.
As we were closing out the night, we were talking about weddings and bachelors parties. I said that my bachelor party was a get together just like the one that we had last night. A night of sitting around the fire, talking with dear friends and just enjoying the gifts that God has given us. No strippers required. One of the teens, a young man of 17 or so, piped up for the first time in the night and said, “Yeah, That sounds great! I want you guys to throw my bachelor party!” As far as I know there’s no wedding currently in the works but he’s definitely got a deal.
Later that night his sixteen year old girlfriend (and one of Rob’s daughters) posted this update to Facebook.
Just got home from [jinksto] and [Mrs. jinksto]’s I love their house. It is sooo much fun. Bout to go to bed. Night facebookers.
Thanks for that darlin. That was the whole point of the day.