So, we were all celebrating Memorial Day, which in the USA is the day we pay homage to those brave men and women who risked their life for our country. I’ve got the big grill fired up and we have a goat, a full rack of beef ribs and a few dozen links of sausage smoking away. I use a blend of oak and hickory for most smoking but today I’m going to pop in a little bit of mesquite for the last half hour. It’s about noon and the day is heating up as I start this story.
All of the men got an early start- that would be Harry, from over to Sprouts, Streaker Jones, Woozie who would be Sheriff Wozniac, Gnat’s Special Agent in Charge who is her beau, chief Ruffled Feathers who is Streaker Jones’ uncle from New Mexico and an unnamed musician. We cracked the cold Carta Blanca beers at 7:15 am, Harry started pouring Hornitos shots maybe at 8:05 and Gram gave us a little pick-me-up at 9:00 sharp with a new BBQ potion she wanted us to test drive for her.
To her magic mushroom tea base she added liquid smoke, squid ink and some other stuff she wouldn’t name. When I asked her what else was in the little bottle she said, “Girl’s gotta have her a touch a mis-tree bout her, Mooner.” That’s how she put it.
When I asked her what she was going to name the new brew, she said to me, she says, “Cain’t decide. Gonna be Burn my meat an I’ll kill ya, or maybe it’ll be Smoke my meat not my grass.”
I suggested Burned meat will smoke your ass, and she whacked me with the big wooden spoon in her hand and said, “Mooner, who told you to stick yur pointy snoot inna my bidness?”
Anyway, like I said, it was noon and the men folk were gently buzzed and enjoying the day off. Since we also had a touch of the munchies, I fast-grilled a few sausage links and cut them into big chunks. Placed them on a long oval platter with a mound of the cold-pickled veggies I like to make. Wait, it was a pile of chilled cold-pickled veggies. I make the pickled veggies without cooking them in the brine.
Think rings of onion, jalapeños sliced in quarters, cucumbers, carrot, celery, eggplant (yes eggplant and from our garden), radishes, and some other stuff. This batch was heavily dilled with dill plucked from our garden. Ask and I’ll give you my formula.
Beside the platter was our fresh picked cherry tomatoes, all Sweet 100′s, which I halved and marinaded with coarse sea salt and black pepper, basil from the garden and chunks of Maytag blue cheese. The marinade was lemon juice and this Greek olive oil I like.
So, we’re standing around and eating from the platter and bowl of food using toothpicks to spear bites. I’ve got a work counter built by the grills and the platter sits in the middle with the men standing around it. We each have a frosty bottle of Carta Blanca and they make those nifty water rings on the tile surface of the counter when we set them down. I always sit my beers down in spots to where the water rings resemble butt cheeks.
Streaker Jones says that’s me doing some brand marketing.
I like to stab a chunk of onion, meat, tomato and cheese onto a toothpick with my right hand and hold a spear of jalapeño in my left. Two-fisted eating is a manly endeavor and common practice at these events.
Then what Streaker Jones said next is the reason for the moral of this blog posting. He said to the group, “Fellas, don’t cha rekkin tha Germans anna Japanese anna Iraquis an even tha Taliban has gotta right ta have a Memorial Day?”
“What the fuck, Streaker Jones!” This in unison from the rest of us.
“Think about it an git back wi me,” Streaker Jones said to halt further discussions.
I started to say, “But…”, when he cut me off with, “Mooner, I said ta think furse.”
Which reminded me that last Friday we went to the VIVOS Mexican place over to RR 620 near US 183. I took SAC Ellen there for happy hour so we could sit outside and enjoy one more afternoon before it gets hot. She wears a bullet-proof vest and professional suit to work and it just gets too hot for her to sit out after the first of June right after work.
Our server was Katlyn who closely resembled the SACster except younger and with nifty tattoos. I love tattoos. Katlyn made numerous suggestions and we had a nice chat with her. We got Eastside margarita’s because they don’t serve Carta Blanca beer, an oversight which must be corrected. We got a small cup of queso- especially good here at VIVOS, and something called California Nachos. The nachos had avocado and alfalfa sprouts on them.
“Alfalfa sprouts,” I barked. “I’m not eating my nachos with a fucking hay bale on top.” And with that I downed my drink in one gulp.
I motioned Katlyn over and ordered another with two shots of Hornitos and told the SACster, “OK, I’ll eat your damned rabbit food. But now you’re the designated driver. No more drinks for you!”
I’m thinking, “Take that!” to myself. I liked the thought so I said to her, “Take that!”
I might have said it a touch loud.
SAC Ellen said to me, she says, “Mooner, after you lower your voice you think about why you feel the sprouts are a bad idea. But shut up about them because you can always take them off if you please.”
God I love a woman with clarity of thought.
I really had no good reason to be sprout prejudiced and I ended up picking some sprouts from SAC Ellen’s nachos to bolster the roughage on mine. The added flavor made the nachos taste clean and rich. And I almost forgot to mention VIVO’s salsa. It is unique and I think it is flavored with onion juice.
Their salsa is rich and sharp flavored. Oh yea, and their chips are top three in town.
Anyway, having recently been required to think before sticking my feet in my mouth over the nacho dealie, I was able to apply that lesson to Streaker Jones’ comment.
I guess what he was saying is this. The virtue of heroes lies in the eyes of their beholders. Or said another way, can a man be a terrorist to me and a hero to you? Did you also win exclusive rights to honorarium when you win a war? Is it our might or our viewpoint that makes us right? If I ask you to honor my heroes should I honor yours? Can I honor your fallen heroes without showing support for your cause? Are brave acts less brave if you fight for a bad cause?
This discussion put me in a terrible place because I truly believe that every man has the right to have his own values and to think whatever he chooses. And as long as he doesn’t infringe on others he can practice his preachings in safe harbor from me. But I think you lose your right to breathe clean air if you want to force others to think and act as you do.
And I really don’t like you if your forcing is based upon religious beliefs. See, that’s when I can’t distinguish a Muslim extremist, who wants to shoot me dead, from a Baptist asswipe Republican who wants to poison my brain with his religious Kool-Aid or kill doctors for performing elective surgeries.
My grandfather fought in WWI and Daddy was in WWII, the Korean War and some other stuff. Sam I. Am’s father was a WWII pilot and her mom was a WASP- one of those amazing women service pilots in WWII. My appreciation for all of them is not lessened because they didn’t die in service and I honored them yesterday as well.
You don’t need to be killed in a war to suffer a death in your heart from the fighting. Every person I have known who fought in a war saw no glory there. But every one saw the necessity to fight.
Now that I think this through, I also realize that many of my American heroes were fighting for their religious beliefs and not just for Freedom. They fought for God and Country. So, if I was to prejudice my thoughts against one religious-based hero I would need to adjust my support for those I was honoring yesterday.
Which reminds me. I am sure that somebody else has already thought of this, but I want to rename the Religious Right and call them the Religious Wrong. It scorches my butt when they represent themselves to be all for personal freedoms while they kill our true rights at every turn.
I need a beer.