The older I get, the more I like my parents. I've always loved them. But I really like them, too. In my 20s, a visit home meant a chance to catch up with friends from school. These days, my friends rarely know when I'm in town because I'm just hangin' with my family.
My dad has been retired for a few years now, but he still keeps in touch with his old work buddies. Not so much by phone; he's not the chatty type. Definitely not by e-mail; he'd kick your ass just for suggesting that he sit in front of a computer and peck out a note to someone. No, my dad and his friends keep in touch in a reasonably formal way. It's called the Wednesday Night Board Meeting.
I have to admit that the first time I happened to be at my parents' house on a Wednesday night, I prepared myself for a Wednesday Night Bored Meeting. But let me assure you, these are anything but.
First of all, I'm privileged beyond words that I even get to attend the occasional WNBM when I'm in town. Typically they are attended by men only.
Secondly, I get to learn things about my dad and his buddies that I wasn't privvy to as a child. The guys love to tell stories on each other. And let me just say right now that the guys already know about this blog, so it should be understood that anything they say within earshot of me is fair game in here. Nonetheless, I will change some names to protect the guilty where necessary.
Also, I must mention that southern accents make these stories soooooo much better, so audio would be great here. However, I'll try to spell phonetically so my Yankee friends will get the point.
On a recent visit to the WNBM, Daddy called out a friend- let's call him Arty- for his recent social faux pas while at a NASCAR event (you didn't think I'd share a story about rednecks that didn't include a NASCAR angle, did you?!).
Daddy asked what might have been an innocent question by anyone else: "Arty, do you need some Depends?" Or words to that effect.
Immediately, Arty gets a sheepish look on his face.
"Alright, I'll admit it. I sharted," he said.
I'm wondering what the heck a "shart" is, but in this group, it doesn't take long to figure things out.
Arty and a group of friends went to see a race at the Daytona Speedway. Shortly after nearly getting into an altercation with a drunk man, Arty sat back down by his girlfriend, gazed lovingly into her eyes, hiked up one butt cheek and attempted to fart, "just to be cute," he said.
I say attempted, because that's not quite what happened. He crapped in his pants. Classy.
So Arty quickly earned himself a new nickname: Arty Sharty.
A couple of weeks later, I found myself at my parents' once again- on a Wednesday night. I'll admit I was excited. I wondered who might top the Arty Sharty story this week.
On this night, a legendary story about my dad beating the crap out of an uncle-by-marriage came up. I've heard the story before, but it's so much funnier when Daddy's redneck friend- who witnessed said butt-kicking-tells it. I suspect he embellishes, but hey, I never let the facts get in the way of a good story, either.
We'll call his redneck friend "Mike."
Mike says he was in the truck with my dad the afternoon they drove up to my aunt and uncle's house so Daddy could have a calm conversation with his brother-in-law on how his sister should be cared for and treated properly.
Let's set the scene: Daddy and Mike are in a 1974 Dodge Power Wagon 4x4. They enter the trailer park (Yeah, I know. No redneck story is complete without a trailer park scene) and drive over the aunt's/uncle's hedge and stop in the front yard, just outside the front door.
This is how Mike describes what happened next: Uncle comes barreling out the front door, shouting, "Hey, you can't drive over my hedge and up in my yard like-"
That's the sound of Daddy doing an open-handed slap across the Uncle's face. And the Uncle doing a cartwheel as he hits the ground.
"I thought he was doin' sum gymnastics," Mike says of the Uncle. "Yer daddy beat the hell outta 'im."
Then Daddy pipes in with, "No I didn't, I slapped 'im one time."
"What about when you kicked 'im in the hangy downs as he tried to crawl under the trailer?" Mike asks.
Daddy denies that happened. Meanwhile, I'm still doubled over with laughter at the term "hangy downs."
I promise, one day I am going to write a book. You just can't make this stuff up.