Monday, October 7, 2013

Port-a-potties, family and the goat cook off

I have never, ever in my entire life spent as much time talking about port-a-potties as I did last weekend. I didn’t think there could be that much to say on the subject, but as often happens; I learned how wrong I could be.
You see, last weekend was the twenty-somethingth annual Colorado City Volunteer Fire Department World Championship Boer Goat Cook Off. (If you’re wondering what exactly a boer goat cook off is, well…’s a lot like a chili cook off, just with more rednecks and fewer frat boys…and the presence of many members of my family.) And when 55 teams of beer- and/or sweet tea- drinking rednecks camp out and cook goats, there is a major need for port-a-potties.
Anyway, I took off work early on Friday so that I could get to the goat cook off and my Dad’s camp/cook site in time for supper because he and my cousin Ty were cooking burgers and hot dogs, and I don’t ever miss a meal when my Dad is grilling if I can’t help it. And because my Aunt Bobbie was bringing her most excellent chocolate cake (Screw the LOW SUGAR VEGETARIAN DIET for a weekend). But, before I got to the park, I stopped at the nearby Gas ‘N Grub for an iced tea and to use their wonderfully clean and indoor-plumbed bathroom.  
I got to the park and greeted my parents and all the aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and third cousins (we had four generations of the family represented) and all the friends that were there. (FYI, the final count of family and friends to stop by was 36!) By the time I’d said hello and hugged everyone (yep, I’m a hugger) it was just about Johnson Standard Time (JST aka “time to eat”). While we were in line for food, one friend mentioned this blog and I told her I’d be blogging about the goat cook off for sure. She asked if I “would change the names to protect the innocent.” I just recommended that she not do anything I could poke fun at and she wouldn’t really have to worry, would she? I figured everyone there must have overheard that advice because then they all seemed to be on their best non-embarrassing behavior after that. And I was totally kicking myself……
Until the toilet talk started. My cousin's boys (aged four and a half and two and a half) seemed to need to go to the bathroom a lot. Like constantly. I was kinda starting to worry about them, like “what on Earth have those boys been eating” when one of my aunts or maybe my Mom explained that the boys liked to use the port-a-potty because they “thought it was neat.” Boys are so weird.
And THAT started the port-a-potty discussion.  I confessed I had stopped at the gas station so I wouldn’t have to use the port-a-potty because I most definitely don’t think they’re neat. In fact, I think they’re just big boxes of germs that make me gag if I think too hard about what’s inside them.  Mom pointed out that they “weren’t bad yet. Actually, when the breeze brought the scent on the air, they were quite fragrant.” Yes, you read that right. We were not only talking about port-o-lets, we were now rating their smell. So I asked Clayton, the-four-year old, “what did the port-a-potty smell like”, since he liked to use it so much and was therefore the expert. “Did it smell like flowers?” He looked at me like I was asking the craziest question ever (which in his defense, I kinda was) and told me it smelled clean. Okay. If a four-year-old didn’t take the opportunity to say that something smelled like poop, then it must have smelled pretty good.
At this point, I realized we were seriously discussing the port-a-pots and I ridiculed all of us into changing the subject. My Mom and aunts moved on to recipes. As a girl who doesn’t cook, I really didn’t have much to add to the conversation and kinda wished I hadn’t been so hasty to find a new topic.
But a little later, Clayton brought us back to the outhouse, figuratively speaking. It was getting late and a few folks were starting to leave. His Great Granny came to say bye. I guess she mentioned something about bathrooms, I didn’t hear her part of the conversation, but I sure heard Clayton’s. He belted out for everyone to hear “Granny, that toilet over there (pointing to the port-o-let), that toilet DOESN’T FLUSH!” Even people at the next camp could be heard chuckling over that one.
The evening ended and then we were all back at the park again early the next morning. Some earlier than others….I made it there by 10am, which is a new record for me. I don’t do mornings. But I digress….
 A little before lunchtime, I took the little boys for a walk around to check out some of the other cook sites. Being little boys, they pointed out the pickup trucks they saw, the fire trucks (“wow, that ladder’s almost TEN FEET TALL”) and EVERY port-a-potty. Clayton even remarked on the volume of toilets available to goat cook off participants. “There sure are a lot of toilets out here for the goat cookers, Shelley .” And he was right.

In case you’re wondering about the actual goat cook off, it was a great weekend. We got to visit with family we don’t always get to see as often as we’d like.  We fed the ducks and tossed washers. We cooked and ate and laughed. We made memories. And we used the stupid port-a-potties.

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