We have a friend (we’ll call him Buck) who hates parties. He doesn’t go to them. He doesn’t throw them.
Then, as it often does, life throws him a curve ball and he absolutely HAS to throw a party. But you can bet your big boy boots, he's not going to call it that. With amusement, those who know him best watch closely to see how he’ll handle this.
Now you need to picture him. He’s big. He has a mustache. He has a Harley Davidson. He rides with the tough guys. Even his voice is this deep baritone that carries a mile when he whispers.
So, in the planning stages, it goes something like this:
Buck: We need to, uh, get together and eat man food.
Friend 1: Man food? Like what, beef jerkey?
Buck: You know, MAN food. Meat. With sauce – barbeque sauce. None of that woman food.
Friend 2 (a woman): What is woman food?
Buck: Salads, desserts
Friend 2 (a woman): So you want to ‘get together’ and eat stuff like caveman-sized drumsticks? Will I have to eat it with my bare hands?
Buck (with an evil grin): I’ll make one just for you.
A few days later, we get a flier taped manly-style to our mailbox. It reads:
Man Food Fest
Come for a manly night of food
Bring your own woman food (salads and cookies)
Place: the Backyard of my youth
Okay, so we aren’t going to pass this up, mostly for curiosity’s sake. The wicked side of me tries to think of the most womanly kind of salad possible. I know. Aren’t mothers always harping to ‘eat ALL your peas’? So I make a huge pea salad.
My husband and I show up and it looks like EVERYONE is there – probably curious like we are. The house is small with a perfectly trimmed lawn. Buck’s Harley leans against the front door. This is his parents’ home. Four burnt sausages on the sidewalk point the way around to the back yard.
I halfway expected to find Buck in leather pants, beating his chest. But he’s not. He’s dressed nice, standing next to a large barbeque, basting racks of ribs.
Rows of people sit in rows of tables, looking an awful lot like a normal party. But this is where the normal look ends, because this is no ordinary back yard. It’s decorated with antlers. Lots of antlers. Four sheepherder’s wagons (think gypsy wagons) line one end. Old rail cars, old sheds, old everythings are placed strategically, giving you the feeling of going back in time. It’s not crowded, but very tastefully done – like an antique collector’s paradise. I’m tempted to take photographs, but I do have a little tact, so I refrain.
Buck says to all of us: Now, maybe you understand why I am the way I am.
I’m starting to get the picture.
Buck begins the night by pulling out an impressive deep fried turkey and ripping off a huge drumstick. With ligaments dangling, he presents it to Friend 2, while everyone roars with laughter. Now you need to picture Friend 2. She’s a tiny little lady with lots of class.
But she grabs the drumstick and takes a caveman-sized bite. Then she wipes her mouth with her sleeve.
And the night is off.
We eat ribs. We eat brisket. We eat deep fried turkey. We even eat beanie weenies. Yes, all of us eat woman food too, and – although I didn't see -- I even think Buck did, but I’m sure it’s in a very manly way. (Have I said 'manly' enough yet?)
And I’m thinking I really like Man Fests. So after a great evening, my husband and I leave. I forget to grab my salad bowl.
The next day, we drive over to Buck’s house and his wife brings it out. Darn. There’s a bit left. They didn’t eat ALL their peas.
So I guess we’ll have to.