So I’ve owed you guys a report of the small town doings of late. Let us start with Trooper being invited to what I have dubbed the local “Star Chamber”. All the old guys get together each morning and talk of things. Of course, these are all the old guys of local politics so one gets a fairly intimate view of the way things work. Mind you, it is not for the ladies. I don’t mind. I don’t miss the likely fart jokes and such.
Anyway, from there we received the invitation to the Star Chambers’ annual dinner event held for the ladies. I sort of enjoy that paternal aspect. All the gentlemen get together and grill about 100 ribeyes, assorted baked potato, rolls, cole slaw and other sides and host it way up on the hill – the best vantage point in town – at the home of the folks who donated the land for a school. We can see it from our front yard.
We’ve adored the home from afar as it sits like a modern castle on the hill. Up close, it is lovelier still. When you pull up the long drive you pass their cattle and their “tank” (think large pond). The house is fenced off from the cattle rather than the neighbors as there are none for a mile. When we arrived, I was immediately welcomed (as were my blueberry bars) by the women who had gathered in the kitchen. The owner offered a drink and I took a glass of wine quite willingly – you can imagine how my non-sociable self bristled when surrounded by at least a dozen of them. The conversation ran to what one did and most of them were volunteers for their respective churches. I knew that conversation would come soon enough – Trooper and I had discussed answers.
After my contribution to the dessert buffet was displayed we were summoned to the very large patio by one of the husbands – time to eat. Everyone gathered and the local shaman (I’ve no idea of his true affiliation but everyone looked to him for this task) gave the benediction. It was then we gathered to fetch our gigantic meal and I had a first look at all the men.
Mind you, these are almost all “gentlemen cattle barons” of a sort. They’ve worked for years and acquired the land and now just make hay (literally) and cows. Some were dressed in Texas Formalwear (creased Wranglers and starched western shirt or button down), some in their overalls and others still in whatever they’d worn all day. The women made a more colorful group, this being their chance to dress a bit for all the men.
Of course, we were by far the youngest there but it mattered not at all – I found their company so much more enjoyable. Great conversations ensued. We will never forget when Miss Kitty leaned over and said of her husband, “He hasn’t heard himself fart in 30 years”. A bit later, one man asked the other what he’d been doing earlier – kicking up so much dust. “Just discing”, he says. “You were kicking up some dust yourself over there…” Farmers…
As we finished dinner and set to dessert the sun set and a delicious warm wind came over the hill – a wind like that on a beach after a long day in the sun. The stars were bright and as we looked a shooting star of generous size streaked across the wide expanse. What a glorious portent, I thought.
Everyone began to take their leave but the hostess – whom we’d hardly had time with – asked us to wait a bit so we could chat. A gentleman asked that we consider attending the charity event in a few weeks. In time, we made our way home in the dark, the cattle quiet beside us as we walked down the drive.
Perhaps tomorrow I shall relate the story of that charity function. And of how I learned that one ought not to sit in the front row of the cattle sale.