Some years back, one of you suggested that “Varmit Night” had more to do with the guest list than the menu. It would not be considerate of me to concur, but I can understand your argument. Whenever I hold such an event, it is nothing at all like high tea. Brenda would stay for high tea, but leaves the premises on varmit night hoping upon her return to find all fur and bone removed, and all remaining visitors sober. Such is the wish of the futilely naive.
The gimme hats and camouflage shirts gather out back around the grill with knuckles curled around bottles and cans containing various fermented cereal beverages. Onlookers watch in awe of the fine cuisine being rendered to the hickory and charcoal inspired fire gods. Brilliant poetry exudes like: “He who eats the most squirrel eats the most fur.” And, conversely: “He who eats the most fur eats the most squirrel.” If shotguns were used, you can substitute “shot” for “fur”.
I must give credit here to my pitchfork buddy (another story for another time) who is generous to a fault until the playing cards come out. Bending the cardboards in a poker game is like a sacramental ceremony to him. Other than being a card-player, he is somewhat of a poet by having collected about the richest pile of vocabulary that has ever graced a metaphor. He says such things as: “…rich as ten feet up a bull’s ass”, and “…got enough money to burn a wet mule.”
Then there’s ol’ Dale. Now, Dale hunted trees, best I can figure, the first couple of years we hunted together. I say that because that’s what he usually shot. But he had great stories about what was in the proximity of those trees every time. I’ve heard tale of monsters not indigenous to this neck of the woods, but we all exaggerate from time to time especially if you hunt or fish. Since then, with range practice and counseling (from yours truly), he has become quite a shot and a good provider for his family, and mine ( I take naps these days).
Dale gets excited (understatement) when he does get a deer. And he has harvested a few these past few years. My harvest is thinner as I get older. I get into the stand just fine, and I can still shoot. But I suspect the sound of the snoring and the smell of the Preparation-H keep the deer scared off.
My neighbor has been kind to share the meat in years when I kill nothing other than dreams and aspirations. My wife and I could make…well, we could make a lot of things if I were less reckless, but as it is, we make pastrami, sausage and stew when either Dale or I get a buck or a doe.
On scheduled varmit nights of the past, we’ve had venison, bison, rabbit, squirrel, quail, dove, and wild turkey (both feathered and bottled). Also on the menu has been shark, tuna, salmon, sea bass and bream: bream and squirrel being the most plentiful. It has always been kind of a “clean out your freezer” sort of party so we could all get ready for next year’s carnage.
Now, this year we move to new heights. Thanks to Dale, we’re gonna have…
Now, it so happens that recently, Dale gotta call at work. A friend of his was frantic:
“Man, you ain’t gonna believe what just happened! The guy drivin’ the car in front of me just hit two deer! You gotta come help me. That guy just left with his crippled car…said he didn’t want any part of those deer. His car was really messed up. Boy, was he ticked!”
“Got two? Wow! Where did this happen?”
“Downtown Riverdale on Georgia highway 85! Well, got one…an eight point buck! Neck broke, but not torn up too bad. The other deer ran off. Y’gotta help me! I can’t pick this bad boy up by myself!”
Dale arranged to get off work to help a friend at the “scene of an accident”. He took the carcass to another friend’s house to hang, skin and quarter. When he came across the street to my house, it was already in butcher paper!
Let’s see here: one guy killed it; another guy called it in, a third guy picked it up to take it to a fourth for skinning. Seems that my guests will be a few generations removed from the honest kill what with Dale and his butcher friend being 3rd & fourth. I’m 5th generation roadkill, and you’ll be sixth! Gobblessamerka!