In this post, I will share with you what we consider to be our "boys nights out" and "girls nights out." These social nights are essential to re-connecting the family relationships we had not had for years, if ever in some cases.
The older women - Brenda, Jennifer, Annie, Hambone, and Brandy -
all come together twice a week in quilting bees. There, they are carrying on a tradition that is uniquely American: making something special out of just a little cloth. After all, what's being made is not just quilts, blankets, and pillowcases - it's an expression of their lives, good and bad. Another thing they're good at: gossip. Plenty of it. There's so much of it, they often forget their bedtimes.:) (Pictured is a re-creation of a colonial-era quilting bee in Michigan.)
As for us, the older men, it's more like days out. Several times a week,
we go on hunting and fishing trips. More than just gathering food, it's our time to tell our family stories past and present. Oh, and since we're men, we often compete to get the biggest trophy animal, catch the biggest fish, or have the most accurate shot. During the night, we eat, drink, and are merry, though of course tomorrow we don't die. (Not all clichés are correct, thankfully.) (Pictured is one of my Facebook friends, Adam Brister, with a trophy buck.)
But the big social occasions for us are on Mondays and Thursdays, when we socialize in the common room:
- Talent shows show our diverse passions, some of which I have already discussed. As for me, I give full-length guitar concerts with all my favorite songs, like the worldwide hits "Bluebird" and "Southern Rhapsody," as well as "The Ballad of Beulah Mae," "Poor Ol' Mule," and dozens of other songs I've written over the years. My relatives are still amazed that these are the same songs that I used to perform all over the world in front of much-larger crowds (and which sold millions of copies and won me major awards).
- Games are of all kinds, including card, dice, and board. My personal favorite is bunco, since all you do is throw dice all day. Popeye is the best at these games, and all of us would love to know the secret to his success. He insists that there isn't any.
- Most of all, what we do is just "shoot the breeze," or talk to each other. It could be about anything one can think of: our daily lives, what our kids learned in school, the catch of the day, the mail we received with the latest news, even reminiscences of our past (which we can now be completely honest about, now that the White Throne Judgment has happened, ridding us of all the "bad" people and thoughts).
Granted, it's harder for us to have to entertain ourselves, instead of relying on TV, the Internet, and other modern methods. But we have found it more satisfying, and now we would have it no other way.