Yesterday we got out the guns and clay pigeons and had ourselves a birthday. This was no small shindig–this was a full-on, expertly crafted and perfectly executed surprise party for my brother-in-law, Jason, who will ring in 30 years in just a few days.
Now, I’m a city girl all the way in terms of my lifestyle and geographical location, but I do admit to living vicariously through my sister who lives a serene and idyllic life in the West-Michigan ‘countryside.’ She raises organic broiler chickens for…broiling…and has hens of all varieties which provide brown eggs enough for me, several of my neighbors and all who frequent her roadside stand. She hangs her clothes out on the line and cuts fresh flowers from the garden. They raise strawberries and asparagus and other vegetables that I should try to eat more often. I love going to her house and so do my kids; they play in the dirt, feed the chickens and admire the general country-ness of the country.
But obvious to all who know us, despite the pleasantries and afternoon visits, there are some differences between the country mouse and the city mouse. Namely guns and clay pigeons. Which bring us back to the birthday party.
We pulled off the surprise and it was fantastic. The night ensued with games, visiting and kids on a trampoline with a hole in its center. This trampoline posed an interesting challenge for any young child: to be able to successfully navigate the circumference of the jumping surface without being shot into the air by a rival and slipping through the hole of doom. My 7 year old thought this was just the cat’s pajamas, while my 3 year old fell, nearly to his death, and then begged for more [still crying!].
On my way over to the hillbilly golf area, I nearly lost my pork sandwich at the sound of a blast so loud I’m pretty sure the neighbors considered calling 911. Heck yes–it was time for SKEET SHOOTIN’! I hiked up my drawers and shuffled through the tall grass on the back side of the horse corral. There they were: men aplenty standing in a row like green plastic soldiers, guns cocked, orange thing flung through the air and hoots of glee unleashed when one was shot to smithereens. It was awesome [read with your best Chris Farley voice]. Men turned into Christmas-morning boys with the women folk cheering on this raw display of masculinity. Such excitement was bound to ignite some inhibitions, and before long, my sister stepped up to the dirt patch and unearthed her years-old sharp-shooter skills. Previously wasted on such elementary exploits as squirrel and rabbit hunting, this was the big time, and there was an audience.
She was in her glory: pregnant, in Wranglers and boots, toting a rifle with her long blond hair flapping in the breeze. The only thing that would have completed the scene would have been this same Cindy, but barefoot. She got her gun ready and obliterated the first pigeon. My eyes almost well up with pride now, just writing about it. She finished her exploits with a 2/3 record.
Not to be outdone, of course, the men returned to the range and decided that clay pigeons were mere child’s play. I don’t know if getting a woman in the game scared them or shamed them [since she was the reigning champ] but the pigeons were road kill. On to bigger and better things like sky-high escaped helium balloons which they quickly returned to latex particles. What could be next?
Shoot the moon!! Shoot the moon! my son yelled. I think the guy with the camo-wrapped sharp-shooter [complete with a scope] thought about it for a second. There certainly was enough testosterone to fuel such an attempt. But instead they chuckled and returned to the box of flying orange clay discs. How they acquired the name ‘clay pigeons,’ I don’t know, but they work a lot better than trying for the moon.
Happy Birthday, Jason. We had a blast 🙂