HAIL HAIL FORUM OF FORUMS BOOMERS GOT A TALE TO TELL!!!
This is a tale of guts, glory and food that will make this fat kid dream well til Christmas.
Just got back from a few days in the mid-west and had a glorious time with the country sage and his family and a host of other forum members. I took that drive I've come to love since living here in Virginia down Hwy 64 seeing all the different land scapes the good lord put on the earth. Shot matt a text that I was bout 10 miles away and he told me to meet them in Coffeen at a little sandwich shop. He calls me a little later telling me to hurry up cause they were waiting on me so I gun it that last little stretch of the way. I see matt's truck off to the side of the road and pull in back were I remember there is a back entrance. As I walk in I see Jim, matt's father-in-law and Hanna. Say hey to them and see matt out front looking for me to come down the road. I walk out behind him, give him a little jab in the ribs and say,
“man its hard to find good help these days.”
He turns around with a smile and says
“where'd you park?”
“have you been here before?”
“Yip, last time I was in town.”
This was the place were you had to flip to buy lunch. Last time I was here, Jim had lost and bought for everyone. matt had someone flip for me this time, but … Jim lost again. I got a meatball sub and we all jump in matts truck and headed over to a steel building to eat, joke around a bit and I watch Jim and this other young guy play a game of kick the bottle. Basically you fill an empty plastic bottle up about 1/3 of the way, put it cap side down and kick it into a white box that is up against the front wall. I was encouraged to grab a bottle and play, but sat that one out. I had to see the rules …. but next time …. ohh its on. Jim was paying up at the end .. it was like a dollar for three kicks I think … and matt smiles and talks to Jim,
“hey you know, I know another guy who bets … “
He didn't even have to finish. I had my wallet out and forked over some money I lost to him from a bet. I'm 0-6 with him I think. This next fight will be my redemption though.
From there matt takes me back to my car and I follow them to the new house. It is beautiful. Close to town and backs up to the farm … perfect. Shortly after we head over to the gym and meet Amy and her two kids and her boy friend Andy. I see Robbie there too and we talk some about his last fight, and some up coming things for him and try to get him to come to our cook out. Andy gets out there with matt and crew for the training while I watch from the sidelines. I have no misconceptions about myself. I'm not an athlete and a hughes training class is not something I could make it through on my feet. I'd drag myself through it and die trying … but I had a whole weekend of things planned that I wanted to be conscious for. Every time I'm there though, or even around matt I am inspired to test myself physically and mentally.
That night matt, Joey, Hanna and me all went to see that new movie “Grown Ups”. It was pretty funny but more entertaining was matt giving a gal some trouble with some guys at the movie. I love the theater in Hillsboro. Has a lot of charm and character and they have these couches in the back that make you feel like you are just at home watching the movie. These two guys had just met these girls and sat on one of the couches away from them. Matt stands up and just watches were everyone sits then starts speaking up ...
“Now wait a minute, whats wrong here.” matt says with that smirk of a grin.
The poor girl shoots a look at matt like she was going to rip is heart out. matt was joking around with these guys and this gal before the movie started in the lobby so this was just building off that. It was pretty funny and light hearted.
After the movie we headed back to the Hughes house and called it a night. Friday matt and Audra went into Springfield and I headed over to see my buddy Mac to see how I could help get ready for a big cook out at his house. We talk for a bit and I am wanting to go into Decatur to go to Sam's for the deserts. Mac, convinces me otherwise cause cities are evil. Satan lives in them and your soul is stolen through the streetlights and hookers on every corner. So I conceded to go to the local Wal-mart and got a bunch of deserts and drinks for the festivities the next day. I had been looking forward to this bash for months … so we stocked up to make sure everything was covered. I was still a little worried that I wouldn't have enough. Mac says shopping with me though is every 8 year olds dream.
I head back to Hillsboro to get ready for some local fights matt was making an appearance at. I took a shower and changed and walked up the stairs and a family was up there with Audra talking. It was another "Matt" and his family. Matt owns the Harley Davidson shop that sponsors matt and they had a booth at the fights. I rode over there with Harley Matt and his family and just had a really good time talking with them. Good folks. Once at the fights, matt gets us pit passes to walk around close to the cage and I take a few pictures. I started to get a pretty bad headache that was all too familiar to me. I was dehydrated. I get some water and sit off in the back for a bit and start to feel better. Once we first got there, Jim was wearing a democratic candidate shirt for some local elections coming up and the guy on the shirt was at the fights. Jim asked matt to go get a picture with him. matt walked over to say hi, but this isn't the guy matt is supporting politically. I love his expressions here …. doing this to be a good son-in-law:
Here are a few shots from that night:
I saw Mark and Emily there which is always nice. Had a good talk with Emily and Mark.
After the fights we all went to greasy's for some good old diner food and some more conversations and jokes. matt had let Jim take his truck to get his buddies home so to get us all home, matt and Audra rode in the passenger seat with Audra's two brothers in the back with the car seat. It was like high school all over again. I was apparently going to fast heading home, cause matt made a comment about me being “speedy” to which Audra added I wasn't use to Hybrid power … I admit I didn't know how to start the car ….. it was a button.
Saturday rolls around and matt and joey and audra are all out in the yard doing some work before its time for us to go to the cook out. At 200 matt, Joey, Hanna and me load up into matt's truck and take off for Mac's to start this country cook out. On the way over Hanna says,
“daddy are you wearing a muscle shirt.”
“Sure am Hanna.”
“Is that a girls muscle shirt?”
matt laughing “no honey, it not"
small side comment .. "just trying to even out my tan”.
There was so much food there that I just couldn't hold the smile off my face. Besides a host of Mac's kin (his folks hosted the event .. some people I just love like they were my own) we also had some forum folks there like OddTodd, SugerShane, Jessi, Silverback, Nater, Amy and clan, Mark and his tribe … just a great time. Amy and Andy beat Mac and I in a game of washers …. but something else tragic did happen besides that. Something I would give my last ounce of blood to prevent if I could. I broke a friends heart. Now, I 've written in the past about matt and Marks grilling. They know how to do it … the Golden Grill challenge I was with them once two years back and the year before that they made nate and I beer can chicken and pork chops at the farm … well these twins can cook. But Mac can hold his own as well. So, Mark and Mac had a bet on who could make the best hot wings …. the day before we called nater and well .. nate had already cast his vote for Mark. This raised some eyebrows at the legitimacy of the voting pool and what Mark was up to. SO, at my protest Mark and Mac agree to make me the sole judge of the competition. I would be honest .. and I must say that I enjoyed the flavor of Mark's over Mac's. When I was eating them … I couldn't enjoy them because both were great, but one was a bit better. I saw Mac look over at me, Mark was sitting right in front of me …. I bowed my head. How can I tell Mac this? He had worked for three hours to get these wings just right. Finally I broke it to him. Mac look at me like I shot his dog ….. dear GOD why did I judge this. Granted they were both GREAT wings …. and really two separate wings ….. but Marks just had more flavor … Mac's meat though was so soft it fell right off the bone. matt made some great Shrimp Louisiana style ...
After the cook out Joey and I were going to go swimming. Once we get there some folks were over already in the pool so Joey, matt and myself all hop in the pool. matt and joey wrestle around and play some water basketball while I swim a bit and talk to the people there. I met the kids God Mother who was a fun person to talk to. Very full of life you could tell. Hanna went home with her that night but before they left … she put on a little show for us. For those of you who have seen the movie “The Proposal” one of the funniest scenes is when Sandra Bullock and Betty White are dancing around the camp fire getting in touch with nature. Well, Hanna breaks down and does that dance like she was on the film … and to top it off, matt standing right next to her starts doing “a” dance .. not really sure what .. but it was just as funny. matt says, “thats right hanna we shake it cause we have to,” as they both gyrate round the garage … I'm laughing just writing this.
Sunday we go to church and then that afternoon I go shooting with matt and Joey and their Uncle Bobs farm in Coffeen. Jim and crew were there and just sitting and listen to them talk is very relaxing to me. Great group of guys. After that we get home and I say my goodbyes to the hughes family. Wasn't sure if I would see them again. Honestly they just feel like they are family now. Wither its being with matt in Vegas, London, Abu Dhabi or right there in Hillsboro I just always am really appreciative of the time and never feel like I do enough in return. They probably get really tired of me thanking them, but I just don't know what else to do.
That night I head into St Louis to meet some friends of mine that were coming up to train at the HIT Squad. I had dinner with them and Danny and his two sons, then head over to Danny's apartment to watch “The Book of Eli”. Danny had become a good buddy over our recent Vegas trip so I enjoy some good time with him and his sons.
Monday matt came to the gym for training and my guys from Virginia got to jump in there. They loved it and training with matt. matt also had lunch with us all before he had to head to the airport to pick up some folks that were going to spend a few days with them. After that I took some time to go see some relatives that lived close by and catch up a bit which was nice and stayed the night with them. Tuesday I really wanted to make it over to see Mac one more time before coming back to Virginia and we messed around with a truck he is restoring for matt before I headed back to hillsboro to say some goodbyes to Mark and Danny at the farm. I was going to head home that night, but before I did I did get to have one last supper with the hughes family and their two friends from Arizona. One was their accountant who was an orthodox jew. Long beard and everything, so of course I ate up talking with him and listening to all the convos. He asked me how long I had known matt and Audra and I had to really think back .. it was before my first trip to Iraq .. Hanna was about to be born …. almost four years I guess. So one more round of good-byes .. and I hit the road.
Great vacation all-in-all to the mid-west. Saw fights .. ate good food … but best of all hung out with some great friends. Mac, Danny, Nate, Amy, Mark and family and the other Hughes clan love you guys. Make it harder for me to leave each time.
Til Augest my forum friends …. WHEN THE DRUMS OF WAR WILL RESOUND FROM ON HIGH AND THE COUNTRY SAGE WILL BRING JUDGEMENT ON ALL WHO OPPOSE ONCE MORE!!