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Lake life

SUMOFest 2015

IMG_1591To keep confusion to a minimum, I feel like I have to offer an explanation of why there were an unusual number of government drones, NSA and FBI vehicles and other unusual law enforcement/spying activities in our area late last week. It had nothing to do with the election.

It was a typical government over-reaction to the fact that a rather large gathering of conservative, right-wing, Second Amendment quoting, Bible toting, taxpaying men of considerable age were all converging on the shores of Lake D’Arbonne for the annual SUMOFest. It’s not really that big of a deal, but you know how some folks overreact.

When I said “large” gathering, I did not mean to infer there were lots of people there. Just large people. We are not called SUMOS because we are Some Underweight Men Outdoors…

Despite wary sketicism from said government agencies, there were no real covert operations going on at the SUMOFest. We gather for two main reasons: Eating and eating. We did discuss government defrugalties at some length, but since we ate so much and felt the need to nap, no horrendous overthrows were planned.

Now, I can’t say that this event went entirely without it’s twists and turns. We eat some normal foods like fried fish and homemade hushpuppies, but even the catfish were steaks — something you rarely see served in the culinary restaurantial world anymore. The nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat. If you don’t know that, you probably had to look up the meaning of defrugalties, too.

But we always have an experimental item or two. This year was no exception. When a large gaspergou nabbed a shiner by mistake earlier this spring, I fileted him, froze him and saved him for this event. In a chef-like turn of masterful proportions, I took the meat and processed it to the point of the appearance of potted meat. I mixed in an equal amount of mashed baked potato, some onions and peppers and lots of salt and black pepper. Then it was rolled in little balls, covered in meal and fried.  Delectable, my friends, especially with a dab of Tabasco!

We also used some bite-size bites of opelousas catfish, wrapped in bacon and dipped in mustard before frying. Delectable Two. It was good paired with the catfish steaks, french fries, hushpuppies, hand-cut sweet onion, white bread, Hunt’s ketchup (no John Kerrychup at this gathering), homemade fish sauce, Slayden’s potato salad and my drink of choice, the manly Dr. Pepper 10.

Because this band of seven has well over 400 years of life experience, we feel it is our duty to discuss the problems of society and offer rational solutions to solving these problems. It usually does not take long to reach conclusions of what should be done. However, these solutions may not always be socially acceptable, which alas, is why there seems to be so much government interest in the radical right-wing gathering. But we quietly find peace in knowing possible solutions do exist, so we return to more relaxing conversations about fishing and hunting and what we used to be able to do.

One of the main questions we have every year involves Sumo C (We go by initials to protect the guilty). Sumo C lives in Texas, but comes home to Arkansas for a week of deer hunting. At least that is what he says. Once again, after six days in the woods, he travels to the Sumo gathering with no deer meat to offer. None. Never. So where is the deer meat, C?

IMG_1592Fortunately Sumo h has brought plenty of banana pudding. It is a little known fact that h’s spouse makes banana pudding so good that it gets h invited to all kinds of gatherings. Other than that, we don’t even really know who he is. But Sumo p, a traveling Methodist preacher, was on the circuit again and missed. Good manners say we should be nice to him. So we ate his pudding and keep inviting him back. We did fix him an honorary plate, pictured here, and set it aside in case he somehow showed up.

SUMO TC is the official scientist of the group. He is an expert in horticulture. That came in handy this year when I asked him to the survey the condition of my yard’s grass in the midst of this summer drought. “Yep, it’s dead,” he told me. He is a deep thinker. He’s no sumo cum lawdy, but he’s close. One time he was deep thinking on the end of the pew after lunch and he drifted off into some sort of coma for about 10 minutes. When he awoke, I mean stopped reflecting, he reached over and got the last goo ball. Nobody said anything. We have each other’s back.

Our old Bastrop connections are apparent at each SUMO gathering. Undercover SUMO, KB always brings Slayden’s potato salad. I don’t want to be mean to KB, but we call him undercover because he simply does not pull his weight as a SUMO. It’s embarrassing, but frankly, the dude is just plain skinny.

Sumo W got a pass from criticism in this writeup this year. He brought extra Dr. Pepper 10’s, the official drink of SUMOFest. He also just retired from his day job and is in the midst of learning one of the most important golden years lessons: Never write down the items on your honey do list. Once written, you are compelled to complete the list. “Oh, I forgot,” is no longer a viable excuse when it is there in black and white. He will learn.

Me? I just catch the fish, buy the fish bait, cook, clean up the mess and handle public relations issues the group leaves in its wake. And in some cases, burn some candles down to the nub to try and cover the tracks of the group and our special dishes before my boss gets home.


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