Monday, August 24, 2009

Country picnic

At city potluck picnics, children play, men show their muscles and women dress in summer clothes and gossip about the neighbors and friends who didn’t attend.

Summer clothes: Apparel that is totally unsuitable for outdoor activities, namely short dresses, beaded jewelry and sandals with heels. If you don’t believe me, check out these stiletto-savers, designed to protect your sandals from the sand. Seriously.

In the country, both women and men where t-shirts and jeans shorts.

Jean shorts: Apparel no city girl EVER wears because the clothing is too short, too long or too unflattering. Unless she’s 7, denim in that pattern does not occur naturally on city-folk. Jean skirts maybe. Or capri shorts. I don’t even know a store sells jean shorts for women. But really, they aren't unflattering and jeans shorts may even be practical. But that still doesn't mean I'll wear them...

The country girl in my told me to wear capris. They’re more sensible. They’re more conservative. And they’ll hide your pale skin, she said. But the city girl in me wanted some sun (tan). And she knows how to bust some cap.

So a dress it was. With polka dots. And a necklace so long it caressed my belly button. And white, chucky-heeled sandals accessorized my "Pistol Packin' Pink nail polish.

No one stared at me when I arrived, but maybe that’s because they were wearing sunglasses. And tennis shoes.

You can’t be playing softball in that, they said.

(Not "you can't play softball," rather, "you can't be playing softball" in that)

But my question was: Softball?

Where I come from, the boys play softball and the ladies drink lemonade and talk about where they got their hair highlighted.

What do you mean softball?

That’s OK, they said. We’re playing egg toss first, anyways. Husbands and wives are on the same team.

(awkward pause)

And, er... boyfriend and girlfriends too.

So there we were. Me in my dress and Cowboy is his cut-off sleeves, throwing raw eggs at each other.

Don’t mess up, Kate, I whispered to myself. DO NOT mess up.

The first tosses were fine. Toss. Catch. Baby step back. Toss. Catch. Baby step back.

One couple down.

Phew, we didn’t get last, I thought.

Then another. And another.

Pressure’s on, I thought.

Standing 12 feet apart, Cowboy lofts one to me, 5 feet short.

Oh four-letter-word, I said, recalling my days as a tomboy and diving for that egg like it was a Hail Mary Pass and I was in the end zone.

WHOOO HOOO, they cried.

She caught it! heels! one said.

Now put that picture in the paper, said another.

After a victory dance mimicking that of Chad Johnson, Cowboy and I had two other teams to beat. If we made it this far, we might as well aim for total egg shell domination.

At least until it was my turn to throw.

Suddenly, I didn't care about the mud in my toes or the wind flying up my skirt. It didn't matter that the breeze had blown the curls out of my hair or that mosquitoes were biting at my legs. I didn't even notice the pink rings on my shoulders left from a cocktail of perspiration and red spaghetti straps.

My arms, by the way, are made of steel, just ask those 40 pound sandbags. But tossing an egg 15 feet is well, quite a feat.

So instead of tossing the egg and letting it land short, I side-armed the egg like a baseball, chucking it from Point A to Point B.

It broke.

Egg yolk all over Cowboy and his cut-off sleeves, staining his t-shit and soiling his redneck dreams.

He’ll need new clothes, I thought. ...So if this is country, I dreamed, hand me another egg.

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