The 4th of July, 2016

This morning, I knocked out a few chores around the house.

Those chores involved washing blue Adidas polos that the boy wears to work at the golf course.  He has two, and he works nearly every single day.  In my life, this means that laundry has to be done every single day, when what I am used to is washing laundry once a season.  What kind of mother would I be, if I sent him to work wearing the shirt he labored in the day before, without the benefit of cold water and Tide?  Do you know what a fifteen year old boy’s shirt smells like at the end of the day, EVEN IF all he does is sit in an air conditioned room without moving?

PASS THE PERFUMED HANDKERCHIEF, PLEASE.

And yes.  We’ve had this discussion before.  I really COULD cut the boy loose in the laundry room and let him wash his own shirts, because college is a-comin’, but listen.  That big boy of mine is off selling golf memberships and booking tee times and washing golf carts and gathering range balls and scoring tournaments, while I’m sitting in the shade at the park with Thing 2 for the better part of the day.

I feel like his mama can have some mercy on him, to keep those shirts clean.

While I was washing clothes and drying clothes and folding clothes, Thing 2 was engrossed in a show on the iPad about specialized snowplows clearing snow off railroad tracks.  I feel that this is a testimony to the fact that even the preschool crowd, who can still strip down in public places to their Ninja Turtle undies in a pinch, is dying of the heat and trying to find ways to escape it.

And that’s pretty much the theme for our 4th of July weekend:  IT WAS HOT.

Hubs’ and I celebrated our twenty-first anniversary on Friday and Saturday, with a dinner out on Friday night and a coffee date on Saturday morning.  The truth is, I feel sorry for married folks who only have ONE anniversary date to celebrate, because I’m telling you:  back-to-back anniversaries has its perks.

The rest of our Saturday was spent running errands.  Our church was having its annual pig roast, and Hubs was in charge of seasoning one-fourth of the meat.  You should know that Hubs takes his meat-seasoning responsibilities every bit as seriously as a Navy SEAL takes his SAVE THE CIVILIANS AND PLUG THE BAD GUYS responsibilities.  We shopped for every manor of spices, until I started to sneeze.

And then, during the middle of the afternoon, the guys all headed to the church to season and rub and season and pat and season and grin at sixty-two thousand pounds of pork.  This year, they decided to buy pork shoulders, rather than an entire pig.  It has a whole lot to do with the small fact that many delicate, Jesus-loving, elderly women were a bit shocked last year when the guys roasted a HEAD-STILL-ON-IT pig, with an apple in its dead mouth.  I can’t complain about the complaints of the blue-haired crowd, because I, too, find it a bit unnerving to see a head on my food, bearing a baked apple.

So… pork PIECES it was.

Vegetarians, look away!  I doubt your hearts will be able to handle the carnage.

IMG_0265Hubs made a basting potion out of snake eyes and dragon teeth and old-fashioned vegetable oil.

IMG_0267 IMG_6947IMG_0270IMG_0271Then, all that meat was packed onto the giant smoker.  The charcoal fire was started.  The temperature was monitored like it was a mission to Mars.  Aluminum foil was adjusted, basting was performed, and then the men sat back to babysit the barbecue all night.

IMG_0260 IMG_0257 IMG_0313 IMG_0312 IMG_6952 IMG_6950Yes.  Darrell’s shirt really does say PETA.

People Eating Tasty Animals.

I thought I should clarify that, for the man who was rubbing his hands together with glee over the sight of all these slowly-smoking pork shoulders.

13568836_1078861955483671_3180587671690583246_oThe Cutest Cook of the Night Award went to our little friend, Vivian, as she gloved up and donned an apron to check the pork with her dad.

IMG_0317At 5:30 on Saturday night, all the wives of the Pig Cookers brought dinner out to the church, where the meat-smoking was taking place.  We brought pizzas and giant bowls of fruit… and all the kids.

The kids will tell you that this was one of the best nights of their lives, as we simply turned them loose.  They ran and biked and roller skated and ran and jumped and skipped and chased and ran some more outside, and then they brought that energy all indoors, where they continued with all the running wild.

IMG_0237 IMG_0231 IMG_0229 IMG_0232 IMG_0234 IMG_0236 IMG_0243 IMG_0245 IMG_0258 IMG_0250 IMG_0252 IMG_0255 IMG_0256 IMG_0324 IMG_0264Much to the horror of the Women’s Ministries Committee, the guys hauled a sofa from our church’s prayer room outside.

They put it right next to the enormous smoker, so that it would smell lovely for everyone who sits on it to pray in the future.

You’re welcome for that, our dear Congregation!

IMG_0261 IMG_0263The boy was a bit elusive, when it came to my camera.  It’s how the fifteen-year-old crowd rolls.  They don’t like to be photographed in their natural habitat.

IMG_0314 IMG_0319 Eventually, the fun rolled indoors.  While the kids grabbed up the laser guns and played laser tag, the moms sat in a classroom and talked and talked and talked.

And then we did hair with the teenage girls.

And then we talked and talked some more.

And then we marveled over everyone’s perfectly-styled messy buns.

And then we talked some more.

It was a great night for the moms, too!

I wish THESE GIRLS weren’t so DADGUM SHY in front of the camera!

IMG_0248 IMG_0249IMG_0273IMG_0274 IMG_0275 IMG_0276 IMG_0279 IMG_0280 IMG_0310Laser tag took off in full force in the church’s dark hallways.  The kids screamed with joy and shrieked with happiness and yelled things like, “SAY YOUR PRAYERS!”

This wasn’t a call to prayer inside the church, so much as it was a warning that someone was about to be gunned down with a red laser beam, which would eject them from the game.

IMG_0287 IMG_0298 IMG_0290 IMG_0294IMG_0277Wheelchair rides happened, too.

You can’t expect them NOT to happen, when you have a church full of children and a wheelchair sitting quietly in one corner.

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IMG_0327Janie and Vivi solved some serious math equations on the white board in one of the classrooms, while the other preschoolers were doing COMMONER things, like blasting laser guns and squealing.

I smell Harvard scholarships for these two little darlings.

IMG_0283stock-vector-physical-equations-on-whiteboard-education-vector-background-419491135Darrell secretly borrowed the  youth pastor’s guitar, for some praise music.

He didn’t want our youth pastor to actually KNOW that he’d used it, so I thought I’d toss the picture onto the World Wide Web.

IMG_0322And then, ’round about 9:30, the moms gathered up our happy and exhausted children, to take them home to bed.  The guys hunkered down to spend the night babysitting the smoker.

Now, don’t think that they HATED doing this.  Babysitting a smoker filled with pig parts all night for a guy is the equivalent of a woman’s spa day.  These men LIVE for this stuff.

The teenage boys brought out their Swagways and their PlayStations and their XBoxes.  They committed to staying up all night, too, having a ball together, while their dads sat in lawn chairs outside all through the night.

IMG_6955And that’s why it was just Thing 2 and me at our house Saturday night.

I got a refreshing three hours of sleep, because I never sleep well when Hubs isn’t home.

Hubs got a refreshing twenty-two minutes of sleep, when he dozed off in his lawn chair for a bit.

The boy didn’t actually GO to sleep on Saturday night.

On Sunday morning, there was pork to be shredded.  These guys smelled of smoke and sweat and possibly skunk, after the wild animals walked through the nearby fields overnight.

13559083_1078862105483656_7789534358996465112_o copyOur church’s annual pig roast turned out to be a smashing success, but I didn’t bring my big camera out.

In fact, I only snapped a couple pictures of Thing 2 and Cousin H as they bounced in one of the bounce houses.

IMG_6956 IMG_6958We had three hundred different desserts to sample in the buffet line, so you know why I wasn’t busy taking pictures.

Plus?

Well, there were more friends to sit outside in the sweltering heat with, while we talked.

On Sunday afternoon, the boy and Hubs came home to shower, and then they both passed out cold on their beds.

Perhaps I should clarify that.  They passed out cold, and it was very similar to an  ANESTHETIC-IN-AN-IV-DRIP sort of nap.  They were incapable of being woken up.

So, Thing 2 and I joined our friends, Heather and Vivian.  We went to the theater to sit IN ALL THE AIR CONDITIONING, while we watched Finding Dory.  Thing 2 was far more interested in his popcorn, Sprite and candy than he was to learn if Dory ever got found or not.

Now…

… is anyone even still with me?  I’m just putting our entire weekend into one giant post.  I apologize.  I should have told you to pack a snack before you started reading.

On the 4th of July, we celebrated by going to a barbecue.

IMG_7020I forgot my big camera.

It’s sort of similar to me forgetting a kid, because my camera GOES WHERE I GO… usually.  Thank goodness for iPhone cameras.

Thing 2 joined the big boys for a game of basketball.  He has no idea what it means to be intimidated by older children.

IMG_6968Here’s the boy and Gage.  They’ve known each other since the day Gage was born, when the boy was an itty bitty shrimp of a baby himself.

IMG_6969At Melanie’s barbecue, we ate and ate and ate some more.

It’s because our friend Carrie made Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Lasagna.

It’s insane, y’all.  Just picture a bowl of goop that tastes like it was made by baby angels and consists of 3.3 million calories.  Everyone ate it so quickly, there was no chance for a second helping.

So, we held onto our pink drinks, sat at picnic tables, and talked and talked and talked.  I was kind of hoarse after all the talking this weekend, but man alive!  Girlfriends are a precious thing to have and enjoy!

The kids twirled on the tire swing, until little Cousin H got sick on it and had to spend some quality time bent over the garbage can, losing all of her Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Lasagna.

IMG_6977 IMG_6975They jumped on the trampoline…

IMG_6971… and broke all of OSHA’s recommendations for the number of children who can safely jump on a trampoline at one time.

After that, the kids basically ran 42,000 miles around the house, playing tag and touch football and basketball.  Boys ran from girls; girls ran from boys.  Boys dog-piled one another; girls screeched and practiced their cartwheels.

It was wonderful.

When the sun sank below the horizon, we hiked out to the field to watch the town’s enormous fireworks display.

IMG_6989 IMG_6990 IMG_6987Thing 2 actually BIT a glow stick in half.

It was lovely, people.

Glowing green goop spilled all over my jeans, so I couldn’t hide from anyone in the dark.  I glowed green for the rest of the night.  I’m sure that I was fourteen different kinds of toxic.

IMG_7002 IMG_7007And then we came home at 11:00, and slept like rocks.

We all slept and slept and slept some more.

I feel like we earned it, so I had no shame when I rolled over on Monday morning and told Hubs, “The kids are still asleep, and it’s 7:36!”  It might as well have been noon, because Thing 2 never sleeps that late!

Y’all have a good evening.

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