It's been over two weeks since my last ride. And contrary to what you may think, I don't sit on the bike in the garage inbetween rides dreaming of the next one. I actually do have a life, and that includes doing things that have absolutely nothing to do with Harleys. Hell, I feel like a new member at AA admitting to the group his deepest darkest secrets..."Yes, I sometimes wear shorts and T-Shirts that don't have Harley on it, and
I know - it doesn't make me happy about it either, but there it is... and now that you're one of the very few who know our little secret, maybe you can sympathize with my predicament the other night laying up in bed - knowing I got to get up the next morning and drive the camper to some friends relatives house for a cookout. The plan, my lovely bride has been telling me, is to drive the camper to the mountains of Virginia and park it in the driveway of our neighbor's brother's house, attend a Brunswick Stew cookout, sleep in the camper overnight and haul home the next morning.
Hell, maybe in such a short period of time no one will notice me off the Harley, hmmm? Then it struck me.... 1:20AM to be precise... can't hardly drive the camper when it, uhhh, hmmmm, oh yeah! When the Battery is dead, right? That's it! The battery is gonna die first thing in the morning, and being the trusting, non-mechanically inclined wife that she is, Kim'd never know the truth! hehehe
This may just work out! With the camper dead, we could send our 12 yr old daughter up with the neighbors and we'd be free to ride the Harley and, hell...I may as well call it a Muthuh's Ride....OK, so none of these people are likely to have been even close to a Harley in months or years or ever, but I'd at least be on mine. We could send up blankets and pillows and all that crap with the neighbors... this is perfect - I fell asleep with a huge smile on my face!
So, at 7:30 am, I get up...go out to get the paper, and, uhhhh, nonchalantly try to fire up the camper.... WHAT? The Battery's Dead? I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!.... Honey - guess what? The Battery's Dead! What rotten luck!
I fry up a couple eggs and sausages with the morning coffee brewing and suggest perhaps we should...(well, see above)... confident that I was about to go load up the Harley for a weekend ride in the Virginia Mountains in the peak Fall Colors Season....man this was gonna be great! (I'm smiling here, knowing I'm about to get my way!)
But NO!... in a supremely deft maneuver, she dashes all hopes of dodging the falling leaves on the scooter, when she says - well..... " Lets just go in the car so I can stop and shop for a bird house along the way - oh, and get a few pumpkins on the way home."
Whaadafuk? I suppose I COULD go out and rip out the battery cables from the cars too, but I think I saw a glimmer of a feint smile on her lips as she drank her coffee and read about the great weather we were about to have this weekend..... Damn! - Come on baby! Here's a perfect opportunity to ride the bike and go camping in the falling leaves! "No", she says, "we can't put a bird house on the back of the Harley with all our camping gear". Screwed by a friggin birdhouse...
(At this point I should interject the fact that after 27 yrs of being with this woman, I DO choose when and where to pick my battles, and even though I thought I was destined to go Birdhouse shopping - I swore I would stay in the damned car!)
And then a very nice thing happened.... the neighbor suggested the girls go shopping and the guys go in one car - you know - cigars, budweiser (except for the DD, of course), and unbridled lies about the women.... things were looking up! So before she had a chance to screw up ANOTHER brilliant plan, I unloaded my crap from the car and hopped in the car with the other guys for the 3 hour ride to the mountains of Virginia.
Pulling into the Brother-in-law's place in Virginia, it was clear the party had already started...well, the private party had begun anyway. Seems every year for the past 9 or so, several couples get together and throw this really great Brunswick Stew Party. What? You've never heard of a Stew Party? You're likely one of those Damned Yankees who've always wondered what a Pig Pickin' was, too, and just too embarrassed to ask. huh?
Between the water and the V8 juice and the potatoes and worchestershire sauce and chicken and beef and hog jowls (they come back out after a while, trust me! Even us southerners won't eat that shit!) and venison and pork and vegetables.... whew!... by late morning, the whole concoction is starting to take shape. At 11:00am, they toss in a couple whole chickens and whole potatoes and while the rest of the stew is cooking, their lunch cooks right along with it, chickens and potatoes being fished out about noon for lunch...all leftover scraps are returned except the bones of course.
From 11am until 10pm...somebody has to keep these two huge kettles stirring. They take shifts and god help the person who shows up late, or not at all! I managed to weasle my way in for a twenty minute shift (pic 18) while the host couples took care of other business, like garbage and. wood, and hmmmmm making the sure the Budweiser Keg didn't clog up...gotta keep them taps running ya know!
When they opened up the kettles, the level of the first one dropped significantly right away - I waited til it was almost empty (OK, I did some taste-testing throughout the afternoon, too!) - the thickening stew on the bottom of a nearly empty pot is always the best at a Brunswick Stew Party!
Eventually, the band quit at midnight, after a 20 minute rendition of "Strokin'"...the crowd thinned and those of us who came up from NC pulled the Hay Bales together up close to the fire pit and made pretty decent beds out of 'em (OK, so we had about 10 beers and 5 bowls of stew by now..we weren't thinking well!) laid out our blankets and pillows and were watching the stars in the dark by 1:30....
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