Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Town and Country
I heard some disturbing news yesterday. It came to me second hand but that made it no less troubling. Leave it to an all men hunting trip to find out all the stuff you never knew and maybe didn’t want to know. Once a year for the last four (five?) years, my Dad and brother have driven from Soperton, Georgia to Noodle, Texas (18 hours- with 5 dogs AND a Kawasaki "mule") in order to hunt quail. On their way, they spend the night at our house and Jeff joins the last leg of the trip the next morning. It is one of those things Jeff looks forward to every year.
Hardly anything brings my Dad or my brother larger laughs than to tease Jeff, and I mean, tease him good. Blake probably enjoys it a tad more and only he can get away with the things he comes up with for Jeff! Thankfully, my husband is no novice at dishing out a little smack either, so they make a pretty entertaining pair, or annoying, however you want to look at it.
Of course, Dad and Blake’s favorite thing to rib Jeff about is being a “city boy” having grown up in Atlanta, “ITP” --inside the perimeter. If it is bass fishing in one of our ponds, putting him in a deer stand, deep sea fishing 25 miles out from St. George, or quail hunting in Noodle, they will figure out how to highlight his “urban-ness”. It may be regarding his choice of shoes, his pants, what he needs to plug in, his lack of camouflage or his lack of accessories that are headache orange. As my Dad MIGHT say, "to Jeff's parent’s credit", his family spent a lot of time in the country because both of Jeff’s parents grew up in a small town in south Georgia and moved to the city after marrying more than fifty years ago. So for a city boy, Jeff has some country boy “know-how” and joined my family with some good ol’ boy experience tucked under his fancy leather belt.
I called my Dad after their first day in Noodle to find out how the hunting was going. The only thing I can come up with that might communicate his excitement to you is if you were out shopping at each one of your favorite stores and every door you walked through, the manager met you at the entrance and informed you that you were chosen for a thousand dollar shopping spree. At EVERY store. No strings attached. Start shopping. No kidding. Daddy was that excited. The best thing he said was, “Even your husband (he probably couldn’t remember his name for the moment) was a good shot today!” So he was really saying, “Even with his city-fied handicap, he did pretty well.”
Okay, I need to get to the real disturbing news. Last night, as Jeff was bagging quail for the freezer, he was reminded that I really didn’t like the taste of quail. This always surprises him. I just think I watched Daddy clean too many of them at our kitchen sink. I can recall the smell in an instant before each naked bird was dropped into a Pringles can headed for the deep freeze. Sadly, I remember always being fascinated by seeing what the birds had been eating that day before being shot out of the sky, picked up in a slobbery bird dog mouth, stuffed into the “bird bag”, then dissected in our kitchen. It makes complete sense to me that I don’t really enjoy eating them. All of this reminded Jeff that Daddy, once again, had called him a "city slicker"—for some reason not too hard to figure out, I am sure. In his own defense, Jeff said to my Dad, “Don’t you think it’s funny that I grew up in the city and spent lots of time in the country and Krista grew up in the country, but spent a ton of time in the city?” Daddy’s heart piercing response???? “Oh, she’s a city slicker too.” Ouch.
There is probably a country song somewhere about taking (or not) the country out of a girl. In fact, I am almost sure there is and I have no idea to what conclusion they came. Well, for me, you can’t. A girl may love her laptop, be frustrated that her cell phone has no signal “in the country”, have a long, long order at Starbucks, prefer to shop at a grocery store that sells artisan breads, like semi-trendy clothes, have a postage stamp for a yard, and love being 2 minutes away from a retail fix but it doesn’t mean she’s a “city girl”. There are some things a true city girl just can’t understand-- like a Soperton accent, how NOT to hold a catfish, why you must wave and smile at everyone you pass, why to never grab hold of a metal fence before checking it for “heat”, the difference between a lima bean and a butter bean-- or a field pea and a zipper pea for that matter, what it's like to have every grown up watch you like a parent, how once tasted fresh from the garden, grocery store veggies will just NEVER do, why being called "Little Miss Pine Seedling" or the "Forestry Queen" is a good thing, why when walking through the woods you HOLD the branches you pass so the next person doesn’t get whacked, how pine straw could save a city dweller money, how discussing cooking is as controversial as religion and politics, why you never lack for food when sick, have a baby, lose a loved one or if your wife is out of town, what a fishin' rodeo is, why you don’t send “local” wedding invitations, why some things are just better fried, what sweet tea really is, why knowing how to climb a fence can come in very handy (even in the big city), why a girl would want her wedding reception at home, what frog gigging is, how anyone could possibly make a 14 layer chocolate cake and how growing up in a county of maybe 5000 people could be one of the best things that ever happened to you.
So Daddy, I beg to differ with you. You did it. You and Mom raised a country girl- a country girl who happens to like a few city girl things and who happens to love coming to the country every chance she gets.
And how many city girls would ever look at a mess of fish like that??