Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Covered in Beeeeeeeees!

So the Fourth of July loomed, as it usually does, as a noisy time when we drive a couple of miles to the Publix parking lot where we can see the local fireworks without having to deal with the crowds at ground zero...say oooh and aahhh at the appropriate times, then go home and listen to the local redneckery try to explosively remove their eyes and fingers until we finally bury our heads under our pillows and try to not have Nam flashbacks. But then a miraculous thing happened. My phone rang. And not only did my phone ring, but it rang with someone on the other end with whom I didn't mind speaking.(how's that for some tortured grammar?) 'Twas Duke on the blower, and the conversation went something like this:

Duke: You doing anything on the Fourth?

Me: Uhhhhhh, no.

Duke: You are now.

Ok, so that's a distillation, but you get the drift. So on Friday evening I loaded myself and a few changes of clothes into the Hyperion and headed south. The drive was uneventful and I arrived only about an hour later than I had planned. It was a grand gathering of the old gang as Targon and his SO were already there with their twins, and Turtle and Sheeps were en route. The night was rife with beer, billiards, and laughing, and we all stayed up too late.

The Fourth itself was a hot, sunny, wonderful day. Duke took us out to lunch, then to the shooting range where we did manly things in a manly way, and many a paper and steel target were taught high caliber lessons in the proper way to eat a bullet. (the .308 sniper rifle was totally fucking awesome!) The we repaired back to the ducal compound to begin the festivities in earnest. My lovely lady had arrived by this time, as had Odo and his lady and young'ns. More beer, and grilled beasts, and salads, and beer, and chips and dips, and beer, and many children(I think the number peaked at 400, though I could be wrong about that)splashing and laughing in the pool, and more beer, and then the time came when words I had spoken earlier that day came back to bite me in the ass: "Hey, Duke. While we have all these big strong guys here how's about we help you move that fallen palm tree?"

We gathered around the supine trunk and decided it was too big to carry. So Odo brought his pickup truck around and we heaved it into the bed. Driving it to the other side of the yard, we were warned by Mrs. Duke many times to avoid the well marked bee hive nearby. The plan was to drop the tree near the hive to further help to keep folks from getting too close. I think you might be able to guess what's coming next. The irony gods were in rare form that day to be sure. Dropping the tree from the truck we lifted it and moved it close to, but not on the hive. Apparently the bees didn't get the memo delineating their territory. As I dropped the end of the tree I was carrying I felt something on my lower back that felt like a really big mosquito bite. Suddenly Duke was yelling run and the mosquito bite began to hurt like hell, as did my chest and arm. I would imagine that the scene was pretty amusing to watch from the outside as these manly men quickly became a bunch of squealing girls running, swatting, and for me anyway, ultimately jumping into the pool fully clothed to avoid the undoubtedly arrow-shaped cloud of stinging fury following us. The kids found this highly amusing, and once the bees were gone so did I. But, of course, a regimen of more beer was needed to assuage the stings.

Later, after the sun wisely went to bed, Duke and Targon played pyrotechnicians and set off the collection of not unimpressive fireworks that were on hand, and then a bonfire of palm fronds finished out the night's festivities. Mrs. Marius departed as she had to work the next morning, as did Odo and his clan. Food was cleaned up, and the kids were tucked in, and then we put on the movie Fanboys, which is a silly story of a group of Star Wars nerds who hatch a plan to break in to Skywalker Ranch to steal an early print of The Phantom Menace. If you understand that synopsis, then you will love this movie. I shan't spoil anything, but the cameos alone in this film make it worth the price of rental, and there is a poignant sweetness to the story that makes for a very fun time. After the movie we all crashed.

Sunday was quiet, and not too hungover. Mostly we just drank coffee, and packed up our stuff, although I did get the gang to sit down and record a bit of podcast material that will show up on our Apollo 11 anniversary show, then we all went our separate ways. All in all it was the best Fourth of July celebration I've had in years, even with the bees. :-)

Marius the Blessed


Turtle said...

The worst part was that the bees left Duke completely alone. Not bad for Duke, but gave me pause when he started yelling "Run!", but was standing still. I was fairly certain he was messing with us, until the the lances of fire began...

Actually, the splinters from the palm tree was worse than then stings, but they didn't leave savage red welts behind...

Still, it was a very good time.

Monkey said...

What is it about men that they need to get all man v. nature when in packs?

flurrious said...

It sounds like an enormously good time. Except for the part where you were almost killed by nature.

celebhith said...

I only wish I could have been there to see the festivities and . . . uh. . . the rest. It sounds like a great time was had by all!