Monday, July 15, 2013

THE SPORTSMEN'S BANQUET



I had never been to a Pottery Barn before yesterday. I had read about them, seen pictures, and heard stories, even heard a story one time about how someone left the Pottery Barn door open, and all the pottery was getting out. But it was in that estrogen soaked environment that my mind began to wander, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts, and describe to you what happened at the Pottery Barn yesterday.

I should say straight away that I prefer the company of women to men. You can make of this what you like. I know that at dinner parties and various functions, invariably the guests will split up into two groups. Usually the women will congregate to the kitchen, or perhaps a sewing room if one is available, and the men will wind up in the garage, or perhaps repair to a new type of room I keep hearing about…the “Man-Cave”.

I’m not sure I like the sound of that one at all.

Once there, the men, perhaps smoking cigars and drinking cognac as they did on the Titanic, will begin to discuss various manly enterprises (enterprises that I really don’t seem to have much interest in),such as muzzle velocities, gear ratio’s of the ’68 Olds Positrac rear end, and how much they made on E-Trade last week. Of course the conversation eventually degenerates into some discussion over “pussy”, with huge clouds of smoke and many loud guffaws. This may sound hypocritical from a guy with Facebook albums such as “Fully Clothed Women” and “Its Not Safe Here”, but I just don’t care for it.

There is a moment in most relationships with guys I have, I call the “Screeching Record” moment, where you are chewing the fat with your good buddy you have known for years, and out of the blue, he points to some nice looking soft woman and whispers huskily, “Man, I’d like to have me some of that”. And in my mind, its like a record just skipped across 3 songs, including “Color My World” on my Chicago III album. I’ve known him for years, but didn’t know he needed to talk like that. I’m stopped in my tracks,and wondering if I’ll ever be able to look him in the eye again.

Anyway, like I said, the women go to the kitchen, and sip chamomile tea, and talk about education for children, world peace, how to get a coffee stain out of a white shirt, dust ruffles, and recipes for Blackberry Shortcake. I find all this, and the way they say it, endlessly more fascinating than the men in the garage discussing .22 cal varmint loads and where Goodyear gets its rubber.

But finally to the Pottery Barn, where I learned yesterday the difference between a pillow case and a “Sham”, which is, not much. I bought some way overpriced dishes, and got to talk with the lady as she wrapped them for me. She found out that I had been a chef, and wanted to know what my “specialty” was. I told her that my specialty had been cleaning out the walk in.

“What is that?” she said, having expected for me to give her a recipe for Blackberry Shortcake, or Balsamic Vinaigrette maybe.
“That’s where I go through the refrigerator, and determine what needs to be thrown away right now, and what we need to use up before it goes bad.” I tell her.
“Oh” she says “Like I have to do at home sometimes. I’d hate you to see my refrigerator right now”
“Oh, I know” I said “It reminds me of the Sportsmans Banquet they had every year at a country club I used to be chef at.”

‘”What’s a Sportsmen’s Banquet?” she asked, and that’s all it took to send me flying.

“The Sportsmen’s Banquet is an event held every year, where all the manly men have their wives pull from the freezer all the meats and fishes they have killed and frozen over the years, all in various stages of decay and neglect,and they bring them proudly for the chef, being me, to cook for them at a big manly banquet, where they smoke cigars and drink cognac and talk of their safari they will be taking to the Trophy Game Ranch down by Kerrville. They bring you fish wrapped in newspaper, the headlines which read “JFK ASSASSINATED”, or frozen in a milk carton cut in half; they bring unknown meats in Walmart bags that are disintegrating in front of your eyes. They bring you an elk shank or bear tenderloin, freezer burned so badly you just want to cry. It is a "wound to the heart", as the great chief Sitting Bull would say, watching his beloved buffalo disappear slowly from the plains. There are big zip-lock bags of dove and quail that seem to be all liquid,except for the feathers. As they bring it to you, its pretty easy to imagine it sat in an ice chest for five days as they sat around a fire and told fart jokes at night, then on the counter for a day once home, then finally into the freezer 4 years ago where it settled to the bottom next to Uncle Jacks beef tongue from 1965. And now you have it, the duck that was shot in Nova Scotia all those years ago, and the beef tongue that the proud huntsman would like you to make into some kind of garnish for a smoked salmon tray, the same salmon that was caught on the duck expedition in 1972. It’s a deadly mess, it really is”

Now during this little speech a group of women has gathered, because , well, I dont really have an inside voice, and it just tends to draw a crowd sometimes

“So what do you do with all this bad meat?” one asked.

“Put it on a cart and take it straight to the dumpster, get on the phone and order some elk, bison, Smoked Salmon, duck, quail and beef tongue from a local purveyor, pretend that you are serving these guys exactly what they brought in. But these guys are smart. They run oil companies and stuff . They know what you are doing, and they just pretend what they are eating is what they brought in. Everybody is happy and no one dies the next day.”


I turn back to the clerk, who has finished wrapping my dishes.
“My husband has some elk in the freezer. I’ve been asking him to get rid of it for years” she says.
“They have Elk at Central Market” I tell her.
We exchange knowing looks.
“Thank you so much” she says “Have you seen these Egyptian Bamboo place mats? “They would look very nice with your new dishes.”

6 comments:

AnitaNH said...

I really enjoyed this one, Steve!

bulletholes said...

Thanks Nita! it the only thing worth a damn I've written in months!

flask said...

i totally love you right now.

totally.

bulletholes said...

Haha! Thank you so much Flask!
This one just fell out really nice. It woke me up at 5am to write it. I have to tell you though, I'm not innocent of or immune from falling into ungentlemanly speech. But I do try, I really do.

goatman said...

We attend a free church dinner once a month and the same division of sexes occurs at the tables.

I prefer to sit with the women, though and discuss history of the area rather than sitting with the farmers discussing how to pull a calf with a comealong in the wintertime! UGH

red dirt girl said...

Ahhhh..... you should have stopped in at my store, we're just around the corner :)

loved it!
xxx