October 9, 2018

Batteries Recharged

Man, what a week... 

Wednesday morning found me dropping off the dogs at the kennel, then making a beeline to Denver International Airport to catch a flight to Detroit.  My cousin's funeral services were last week, and I needed to get home to pay my respects. 

Landed DTW and picked up the rental car, then drove the 2.5 hours to my parent's place.  We had dinner, talked and caught up a bit over a couple beers, and turned in.  Services were Thursday, and while the reason for the gathering was obviously less than optimal, it was nice to see some family again.  Cousins Jay and Connie came in from Omaha, as did Uncle Kenny, his wife Aunt Marie, and Aunt Deb.  Cousin Angie stopped on her way from D.C. to Chicago as well, and Cousin Joe had flown up from North Carolina.

I had tried to book a flight in/out of Fort Wayne, as it is closer than Detroit, but airfare for FTW was pushing $1200, which is out of my budget, so Friday morning found me up at 0330 to shower and hit the road back to Detroit for an 0830 return flight.  Landed DEN, drove home to unload the funeral bags and load up the Blogorado stuff.  

After a short 4.5 hour drive, I arrived in Super Secret Location and began the best weekend of the year.  I made a batch of chili (with beans, because otherwise it's just sloppy joe mix), and even the Texan contingent gave their seal of approval.  We also had tacos, enchiladas, and side dishes assorted and sundry.  Sitting around the hobo fire in the shop at the farm, consuming a few beverages of the adult variety, and soaking in the warm embrace of fellowship and family is about as good as life gets. 

Saturday found the crew at "Obligatory Cow Reference", our name for one of the local diners in town.  They take good care of us: Setting up a side room with a large urn of coffee and pitchers of water and juice, busting their butts to take orders and deliver plates to a group of 25+ folks, and making us feel most welcome.  In return, we take good care of them.  Traditionally, one of our crew will buy the entire bill for the room -- usually around $250 or so -- and thus the rest of us just leave what we *would* have spent on breakfast as a tip.  So, 25 people all leaving $10-12 tips makes for a fine payday for the waitress who gets assigned to that room.

After chow, we headed out to the range and proceeded to turn hard earned money into smoke and noise.  I ran something on the order of 200 rounds through my Remington 1100 shotgun, and was quite satisfied with my results.  I missed perhaps 7 or 8 clays the entire time. 

One of our group brought along a rather nice selection of pistols.  Not your typical "This is my Glock 19... it's just like your Glock 19", but instead she had a Beretta 92 Elite that had some custom trigger work done, a truly amazing Wilson Combat 1911, and a half dozen other heaters.  I really liked that 92 Elite, and I suspect I'll have to start saving my pennies to pick one up for my collection.

Dinner Saturday was steak on the grill, courtesy of Sir Loin, the cow we purchase every year to feed the group.  Whatever is left after the weekend stays in Farm Mom's freezer, for them to eat over the next 51 weeks.   These steaks were roughly 1.5 inches thick at least, and with the new grill that we bought the Farm Fam last year, Tom was able to put the perfect sear and temp on them.  Man, there's not much out there that can beat a medium-rare T-Bone. 

Sunday weather was kinda lousy... A decent wind, some light rain/mist, and it was just cold enough that I really wanted another layer, which I did not have.  I ran a few rounds through my 1100 as well as the Sig P250, but it quickly got to the point where it wasn't much fun at all, so I packed it up and went back to the farm, hung out in the shop, and just enjoyed an afternoon of conversation and companionship with my tribe. 

After a final breakfast on Monday, I made one last trip to the farm, because Farm Mom wanted my help: She's got a couple chest freezers that are quite full, and she knows she'll be getting some venison this fall, so she needed help making space.  "Take all the short ribs, roasts, and ground beef you want.  Here's some venison from last year, and take that pheasant, too!" 

I absolutely FILLED the two coolers I had, and now I've got a freezer full of beef, venison, salmon, halibut (the fish from my Alaska trip, of course) and pheasant.  I'm going to be eating good for a long while.  

Said my farewells, got my hugs, gave some hugs, and hit the road.  Got home, unloaded, picked up the dogs from the kennel, had a beer, watched some TV, and was out like a light by 2130 or so.

It was an emotional roller coaster of a week: The sadness of a death in the family, the peace of knowing he no longer suffers, the contentedness of spending time with my parents, the joy of being with my tribe...

Man, what a week.


Old NFO said...

It was great to see you, as always!

Jeff B said...

Likewise, my friend!

Aaron said...

Next time you're coming to DTW (hopefully for a more happy occasion), let me know.

Jeff B said...

I most certainly will. This was a FAST turn... I was home for almost 36 hours (got there Wed, 5p, left Friday, 4a.)