Monday, July 14, 2008

The 4th Report

No goats roasted. Some folks toasted.

Host Ben is a river boat Captain and a master of Southern Hospitality who lives in the hills of Mississippi. In the shaded pasture near his house, Boston butts, barbecued ribs and chicken parts were grilled on a special-made king-sized double grill. Big families require big accommodations. The come-hither scent traveled throughout the acreage and into the house. About 100 people came with food in hand and healthy appetites.

Ed shucked pecans from their yard and made two delicious pecan pies. A neighbor made a two-layer chocolate cake presented on a pink Depression glass plate. Tina brought deviled eggs and beans. Ben's wife, Jimmy Nell, passed in '07. To include and honor her we dug out her '06 bread and butter pickles and pickled tomatoes.

Patty and I made potato salad, deviled eggs, doctored pork 'n beans, purple-hulled peas and cornbread. Brandi made coleslaw and her famous corn salad with all kinds of fresh veggies. Patty squeezed lemons and made two refrigerated lemon cream cheese pies. Bubbles brought an ice cream dessert. There were chocolate cupcakes frosted by a child who licked the edges before I noticed. Laughter could be heard in all quarters. Jimmy Nell would have been proud. Life is going on.

Meat goats, turkeys, a variety of small black and red chickens and a pair of Barbados black-belly, no wool sheep watched from a safe distance. I suspect the tropics affected their coats. They definitely weren't dressed for a Midwest winter. Feeling bold and safe with the grill cool, the goats came around at cleanup time expecting change-of-menu trash, but willing to eat the beer cans, if not. We made sure we didn't turn our backs on them. They can't resist a sneaky butt over the fence. What are they thinking? I know, a goat rodeo. They win.

Sunday we took Ben's pontoon boat out on man-made Enid Lake. In the distance I saw what looked like a forked campfire stick with a burnt marshmallow on top. A closer look revealed a dead tree sticking out of the water topped by an eagle's nest. The mother and two young did not want to be bothered. We didn't.

And I had my picture taken. Nobody will believe it. Sharon Osborn tells all before the media finds out. I'm not famous, but I'm telling before you hear it. Imagine this: I was sitting in the middle of the pontoon, the go between for cigarettes and beer. When I had one in each hand, I heard a click. For the record, neither touched my lips.

I hope you had an enjoyable 4th.

2008 Red Convertible Travel Series

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