not all who wander are lost.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Kill Em and Eat Em in the Country

The Flying "P" Ranch was our home for the last 24 hours. It was exactly as I expected....100% TEXAS. Marilyn and Denny are the owners, and they live, breathe, and speak just as you'd imagine for middle-America country folk. Marilyn is 63 with 'big' hair, full make-up, and a super sweet southern accent. She loves baking and shoots a Berreta over-and-under shotgun. Her husband, Denny, is 77 and is a soft spoken, tall, ex-alcoholic, big-game-hunter who lives simple, drives a big truck, and prides himself on his (many) mounts. The food they served up was just as I expected as well: steak, potatoes and buttered rolls. There was a salad too that was in a bath of Italian dressing and to wash it all down was some homemade Sweet Tea. For dessert was fresh baked blueberry cobbler, sugar cookies and some snicker doodle brownies. Yum, middle America! After supper we sat by the fire, enjoyed some hunting tales and then tucked ourselves into bed a little after 9pm.

We woke up to a winter wonderland. I wasn't even aware that weather like this happened around these parts- but to see it is to believe it. We were in the middle of an ice storm, with below freezing temperatures and steady falling sleet. Hunting didn't look like it was going to be much fun, and I felt grateful that I wasn't a part of the birding adventure...feeling perfectly content to sit by the fire with my book. As everyone sipped their coffee and ate breakfast (which was a spread of Bob Evans microwaveable burritos, sausage and biscuits, sweet buns, and instant cinnamon apple oatmeal) the sleet stopped and the weather stilled a bit. Hunting was on! Mom, Andy and Bobby (the hunting guide) bundled up and headed out into the fields with the dogs, a Brittany and a German short hair. I got to sit in the warm truck with the old man Denny for a bit and witness the excitement and managed to snap a few photos. I'm not much for hunting, but I have a huge respect for hunting and gathering your own food- an appreciation that I learned from my Dad who was the ultimate Renaissance man- always providing for our family. Also, to watch a dog move on their pure instinct, doing as nature intended, is beautiful. After snapping a few shots we headed back to the warm house and waited for the hunt to finish up. They got back with a full bounty, windburned cheeks, and smiles from ear to ear. They relived the hunt over cookies and ice cold beer, and the shit-talking continued until we packed up the car to head home.

Southern hospitality is as real and inviting as the hot buttered biscuits they serve up down here. Marilyn and Denny never treated us as customers, but instead as family. When we left, hugs were given out and I swear to you that the hug I got from Marilyn was warmer and more sincere than those I've gotten from my own family members. I look forward to the next time we come out to the ranch...I'll just be sure to pack some vegetables for myself....

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