I sat in a local tavern last week watching two men who recently lost their jobs help the owner put in a cooler, because as it usually happens, the old one died in the middle of July.
They were smiling and working themselves to the bone but happy for it. There was a lot of teasing and the mindset of those folks tearing out a cooler seemed to be positive. Let’s not forget, Hootsvillians like their beer very, very cold.
Later in the week, I went to a benefit that we’d been working on for awhile where two different locations worked together to raise a little cash for a family that needs it. Money was being raised and people were happy to do what they could. Men worked all night grilling, as I think that’s something they like to do, and cooked several dozen boston butts and pork tenderloins which sold quickly.I checked in with Miss Sherri and they were whupped from their night of manly bonding.
At the other location,Dirk Diggler and several of his friends were sitting under a large tent next to the railroad tracks where they cooked grilled chicken (100 of them) which sold out within a matter of a couple of hours. (Hell, I didn’t even get one because I was working my hiney off.) One of Diggler’s friends cooked bacon-wrapped jalapeno peppers filled with a mixture that was just spicy enough to be dangerously wonderful which left a slightly hot burn on my lips. When I asked for the recipe, DD’s buddy said he’d have to kill me if he gave it to me.
We laughed. I love men who guard their cooking secrets being all mysterious with their cooking prowess. Diggler does it as well. Grilling is an art form, I’ve discovered, and it is. A creative outlet where men bond, discover the secrets of the world and don’t tell anybody else. It tickles me.
And, as I look back two days later, I realized that the people that participated in Zack’s benefit needed the day’s events as much as the family needed the money.
Maxey the younger bromance met with his lovely girlfriend, who brought the puppy formerly known as Tootsie Roll to meet up with us. Our favorite republicans showed up. The Engineer was doing his train thing, so his wife The Grad Student visited.
We gave away door prizes of free T-shirts from Volunteer Distributing and other donated items. When we moved to the other location, I asked to pass my hat on the mic as we halted karaoke for a moment (I’m not afraid of a mic so I get to do this quite a bit.) Within two minutes, we had roughly $170 just from me walking around with my ancient black hat, that I wore purposefully to pass. I stood with Dirk’s sister as we sold donated draft beer and instead of paying just the low cost for the plastic cups, people would leave an extra dollar or two.
One woman put a hand full of quarters in my hand.
“It’s all I have,” she smiled. “But I wanted to give something.” I put it in the black, ancient hat with the other money and gave it to the people handling the donations. I’ll ask for dough, I just don’t like being the girl with the pot at the end of the day. Reason #333 that I will never work at a bank.
Zack had a bad day on Friday. We knew this and we realized that we have no control on many things, but by God we could send the family a cushion if we all worked together.
I find these things to be connected.
Times are tough here in Hoots. I know more unemployed people than I have in my whole life. I see a huge family that is closing in on their 70th day at Vandy’s Children Hospital. I know that life can be shaky, but I saw the utter goodness of a community that needed to do something. Both locations were packed. I saw people I haven’t seen before.
It was of the good.
I saw a man I respect hire two guys who needed a little extra cash to get through the day. I saw a community come together for one of their own. I saw the stuff filled with hope this week, my friends.
Hope isn’t a bad thing. Not in the least.