Originally posted in the Miami News-Record, May 31, 2015
This past year a new family joined our homeschool co-op and while I had their oldest son in my class, we hadn’t really gotten to know each other that well. Eventually I asked the husband to speak to my inventions class and they asked my son to play on their basketball team. Slowly, slowly (because turns out, we’re all just a bunch of dadgum introverts), we started testing the waters of becoming “family friends” and thankfully, it worked. Our son and their oldest are good friends (and involve the middle brother in moments of brotherly kindness), their little guy is still enchanted by my youngest, and all of us adults get along insanely well. For a bunch of introverts, that is.
Toward the end of winter we decided to have a camp-out here at our house. We had to start planning it fairly early because she’s a nurse, he’s a firefighter, and their schedules call for creativity and very little spur-of-the-moment stuff. The plan was for the boys to camp out at our pond and we girls to stay in the house in the air conditioning. I’m not opposed to tent camping; I would just rather, given the option, hang out in a house if one is nearby. (I am far more diva than redneck, no doubt.) The plan was to fish, shoot guns, watch fireworks, and my husband even got us permission to ride four-wheelers on the trails over at D-Day, the paintball place just behind our property.
After months of anticipation, the camp-out day finally arrived. They pulled in our driveway in their minivan full of a giant tent, food, fireworks, and boys. We had to re-configure the camping a bit because back in March we had no way of knowing that Oklahoma would have a monsoon season and our pond would exceed its banks, thus running every snake for higher ground. That made camping down there a seriously bad idea no matter how much emergency training anyone had. We ate lunch, visited, did some front porch sittin’, drank some sweet tea, shot a few guns, and just generally enjoyed relaxing. Finally we could put the kids off no longer and loaded up on the four-wheelers and my brother-in-law’s UTV for a very muddy, hot, and sweaty adventure. I forget how rough four-wheeler riding is on a hind-end until I ride for an hour – and then walk like my Granny Glenn for awhile after I dismount.
After our ride, about 2/3 of us stunk to high heaven thanks to some stinky, stagnant puddles and the males’ attraction to splashing their cohorts with said disgustingness. We made the boys hose off so we could stand to be around them, then sent them off to set up the fireworks display. Abby’s dog had been bitten by a snake while we were gone, so we women tried our best to get some Benadryl down her. Then we needed hosing down because we were covered in dog slobber and pond water funk. That dog hasn’t quite figured out that snakes are not fun toys.
After more gun shootin’, tea drinkin’, and porch sittin’, we roasted hot dogs on the fire pit, shot off fireworks, ate watermelon, and then when all threat of bad weather was past, the boys set up the tent close to the house, away from snakes (we hoped). Eventually, the boys settled down in their tent and we grownups kicked back in the recliners, turned on a movie (that we didn’t really watch) and visited some more. The next morning after breakfast, the men went out to build gates for our new front porch, the boys shot more guns, we moms talked curriculum, birth stories, parenting woes, and other mom-ish things. When the rain moved in, all nine of us piled onto our couches and watched “Jurassic Park”.
So….how many rednecks does it take to get dirty, drink a lot of sweet tea, and make some memories?
Apparently, for us, nine is the perfect number.