The Holidays somehow magically offer time to do things we don’t seem to find time for the rest of the year, like get together with old friends scattered by the winds of the world.
Granted, it took a pretty strong wind to scatter a small group of friends that affectionately (maybe that should be disinfectant-ly) call each other the Sumos. I can assure you that Sumo does NOT stand for Some Underweight Men Outdoors. It’s more like the Princeton dictionary definition of Sumos: “ones who participate in sumo wrestling; large heavy men”.
That fits us to a T, only we don’t wrestle on a mat. We wrestle each other verbally, through email and face to face. One can get slammed pretty hard. Nothing is off limits, except we never mention the W word (hint – it is four letters and most people take part Monday through Friday, say 9-5…).
The Sumos got together at the lake recently to test the weight limit of my big back porch. We were going to test the weight limit of the boat dock and pier, too, but it was just too cold. Not a cast was made. Not a fish was caught. That may be the first true fishing story I’ve ever told. We aren’t that old, but we are smart. So we sat on the warm porch and in the kitchen and told stories of old protected by the statute of limitations that only we understand anyway. I thought I caught a speck of truth in one of them, but it was probably just something from the Moon Griffon show playing in the background on the radio.
At one time, we were all in one place in our lives, working to make Bastrop a kinder, gentler city and we are all tied to making paper in one way or another. But potholes in the economy put a closed sign on our door and ran us down different roads. For example, Dr. C drove in from his job in Texas to deer hunt near home in Arkansas and found his way down to Louisiana again for the SumoFest. He did wear LSU colors although he’s a red piggie at heart. Maybe he knew something. Dub came from his home in Arkansas, after catching an early plane from some little town in Virginia where he still w… (oops, almost wrote THAT word….) that I don’t even remember the name of. He did bring us a fresh parched bag of Virginia peanuts, though. You get the picture. The rest of us (Big H, little h, KB, TC and p) all live a little bit closer, but we’re scattered. Everybody has a job. Dr. C keeps up with honors and awards. W keeps us safe. KB keeps up with the paperwork. TC grows food for coach Miles. And p keeps us regulated. As I said, h brings the nana puddin’ and the latest news. H just buys the groceries, the fish bait, cooks, cleans up the mess and handles public relations issues the group leaves in its wake. I must admit, TC did offer to help pay for the groceries, but withdrew the offer when he found out I didn’t have change for a quarter. We don’t use real names simply to protect the guilty. There is significance to the casing of letters as well, but I won’t go into that here. You may recognize some of them in the photo, but please don’t tell. The Witness Protection Program is already costing taxpayers enough. Besides, they are not here any more.
We enjoyed a pot of gumbo and fresh fried fish biscuits followed by a larrupin good double dose of Miss Patsy’s banana pudding. Frankly, its the only reason little h gets to come. I even made a pot of coffee, although the official beverage of the day was, as it always is here, Dr. Pepper 10, the manliest low-calorie soda known to man. Want a bite of bark?
I won’t bore you with too many details that even the Sumos don’t remember. But I was able to get h to use his hand to remove all the lose little loose pieces of wood from my back porch handrail. He’s so good at that. In fact, I got wind of the fact that he once tried to start his own “splinter” group, but failed when they tasted HIS gumbo.
Our group isn’t unlike hundreds of others that gather at the bench outside Wally World or at a table inside the neighborhood small-town pharmacy. And like them, we discovered that we have the solutions to all the world’s problems. But nobody seems to ask us to help. When we do offer our suggestions by email, we notice a lot of drone activity in the neighborhood skies. So we chill and look for something good to eat.
We took time this year to do something we have never done before — we posed for a picture during the weight test of the back porch steps. The steps survived, but I’m not sure how you will think the picture came out, so I published it here.
I hope you can survive that.