I was in Toronto last week for three days. Long hard days of work in a big city. A very big, very progressive city.
We had been talking about doing a Gumbo on Saturday but coming home late Friday night I was almost ready to cancel. I was tired, scattered and beat. We decided that we’d keep the Gumbo but pare the guest list to just the Pastor at a church that we’ve been visiting and like a lot and people “who know”.
In all we had 10 adults and about that many kids. It sounds like a lot but these are folks that “know” so there’s just not that much for us to do.
They know not to ask if they can get a drink out of the cooler or the refrigerator and they know where the oven is if they need it.
They know to correct hooligan children before they hurt someone…whether they own that particular child or not.
They know where the liquor cabinet is… and the gun cabinet.
They know where the ferrets live and that kids aren’t allowed in there.
They know that the dog might knock you over with loving and that the cats will probably scratch you. Especially if you’re under 4 feet tall.
They know not to let the pets out the door… even the kids.
They know our religion and they know that there will be a prayer before we eat.
Most of all, they know where the bathroom is.
These are the folks we love. The ones that hang out rather than party. They are the ones that we call when we need help and they’re the ones that we call when we just want to be with friends without all of the extra work.
The result, is a comfortable afternoon sitting around a fire chatting about the various and sundry topics that the group is familiar with. Online games, food, hunting, fishing, religion, politics, computers, work… whatever.
We got out the “big pot”, a massive cast iron thing, and put it over an open fire. Ingredients for gumbo were dumped in through the evening and we ended with a feast.
I wasn’t particularly happy (I’m the worst about criticizing my own cooking) with the result but others seemed to enjoy it enough.
As the day progressed a mason jar of “apple pie” moonshine was produced and passed around. No one bothered to look for a glass opting instead to just sip from the jar in true southern tradition. No one took more than a sip or two… well, almost no one; but we still love her greedy little self anyway… and everyone enjoyed the community of the shared jar.
As darkness crept in I lit the torches around the patio and the conversation continued. Slowly folks wandered away to their homes and left me sitting on the patio alone.
Mrs. Jinksto joined me after a while and we sat on the patio in the dark counting stars together in the cool evening air as the fire died down to a soft glow. Perfect.