Work has kept me from getting this written sooner. I know most of you can relate.
Last weekend my home was invaded by kev, Uncle Jimbo and Great Reader, Jihad Gene. When we planned this soirée a year ago it never occurred to me it would be on Jimbo's birthday weekend. Alas, we all muddled through that part. Let me assure you he MADE IT his birthday WEEKEND.
The morning of the day they were all set to arrive i joined the Patriot Guard Riders and Rolling Thunder to honor and welcome home Fallen Hero PFC Brandon Dawson made his final journey home.
Early in the afternoon kev rolled in. It was wonderful to get to spend a few quiet hours with kev before hurricane Jimbo blasted through the front door in the late afternoon. As the grill was burning down to the perfect temperature for the steaks Jimbo insisted on for his birthday dinner the three of us sat down for a Birthday BBQ Freefly. kev and Jimbo hadn't done a freefly together in over 2 years so it took a few starts to get it rolling. After we finished that freefly the "boyz" sat down to film one of their own. Classic kev and Jimbo. The Hillary 2012 is a must view freefly if you are a freefly fan.
Once the steaks were done Jimbo insisted on making our plates as if kev and I were in pre-school. Easier to let him than to fight it. I know, scary picture, huh?
After Jimbo completed the "plating" of his birthday dinner he, kev and I went out to the deck and ate in the moonlight. I'd love to say it was romantic but then I'd be lying. It was, without a doubt, entertaining.
After dinner the three of us dashed off to the airport to fetch Jihad Gene. As we rolled onto airport property JG called to ask where we were. His flight landed early. I gave him instructions on where to meet us. As I parked the car I saw JG and pointed to him as kev and Jimbo exited the car. kev went straight to JG. Jimbo veered off in the opposite direction. Sadly he came back before we could drive away.
Next stop - Beale Street. I am happy to report that no humans or animals were injured during our time on Beale Street.
Back to the Hacienda. I decided it was nap time and told the boys to wake me up when it was time for Jihad Gene to go to his hotel. Yeah, I think I scared the bejeesus our of JG when I told him he could stay at my house but he might have to cuddle with Jimbo. Or, as JG calls him, Jimblow. Around 01:20 kev came to wake me up to take JG "home". Jimbo's car was blocking in all of the others and we couldn't find the friggin' keys. Finally around 01:45 I found them in Jimbo's hat - don't ask - and delivered JG to his motel.
Saturday 06:30 - alarm goes off. Time to get everyone up and going to the Arkansas Heritage and Blues Festival BBQ Competition. All three of the boys are judges. Up the stairs to wake kev - from the doorway of his bedroom. Yep, like many of you I learned that lesson the hard way. NEVER walk up to the bed of a sleeping formerly deployed Veteran and reach down to shake him awake. NO! NEVER! Back downstairs to hurricane Jimbo. That's when I discovered my living room in shambles. Waking Jimbo up is like attempting to crack open a coconut with a Q-tip. Finally got him up, showered and dressed (kev and I were ready) then out the door for JG. Stopped for gas. Stopped for Burger King. Late to pick up JG. Off to Arkansas.
Jimbo and kev listening to instructions on judging the BBQ per Memphis in May rules and NOT Kansas City rules.
Those bloody marys you see in front of them? Well, they both got selected as judges in the bloody mary competition, too. Not a bad way to start the day? Of course at this point they haven't seen the HUGE container of beer iced down for the judges. They did, however, find that soon.
So the way this works is that judges for the preliminary round are selected to go on site to each team and other judges are selected to "blind" taste test each team's entry. No team names are listed. All entries have a number. At the end of the preliminary round the top three in each category go through on site and blind judging again to determine the winner of each category. The team with the highest total points wins Grand Champion and is eligible for entry in Memphis in May's International BBQ Contest.
kev was selected to judge whole hog on site. Gotta say, he got screwed. The team he was assigned to judge was new and didn't know they were supposed to have things all fancied up, etc. Bummer. The team members were VERY nice. Just didn't put on the show kev should have gotten to experience. Jimbo has video footage of kev judging the whole hog but there are no photos.
Next Jihad Gene was selected to judge pork shoulders on site. He was assigned to judge team "Voodoo Que"
Who says we are heathen in the south? Cloth table clothes, napkins and water glasses. Now that's what I'm talkin' about.
JG was on a judging team with the lady in the photo as well as one of the premier Memphis in May judges. Great experience for him he reports! I think he's a professional now.
Jimbo was a blind taste test judge for the pork shoulders.
Yep...someone had found the palet cleansing massive cooler of free beer for the judges and it wasn't even noon yet.
And doesn't he look so dainty?
The rib competition was next. kev was selected as a judge in the blind portion and Jimbo was selected as an on site judge.
Bless kev. He told me that none of the ribs were as good as mine. I love kev! OK, even Uncle Jimbo said my pork butt and ribs were better than any he tasted on Saturday. Awww. Now they both want to have a team in next year's competition. Oh, I don't think so but thanks for the vote of confidence guys!
I don't have photos of Jim at the on site judging but he has the video.
kev was then selected to judge the BBQ sauce competition. I couldn't find one photo where he looked too pleased with any of the sauces. Ha ha ha
The guys weren't slated for any of the finals judging teams so we loaded up and headed back across the river. I had one more stop on the schedule that none of the guys knew about. Uncle Jimbo and kev racked out in the back and snored their way home while Jihad Gene and I enjoyed a lovely UNINTERRUPTED conversation. About half way back we passed by the funeral of PFC Brandon Dawson. Gene and I both fell silent for a few minutes. I feel the need to do that even now. Rest in Peace Brave Warrior.
I've never been to Jihad Gene's house but had heard he had an Elvis bathroom. I didn't ask questions. Too afraid. But here the boys are at the famous gates of Graceland!
Finally to the house. I had invited a Vietnam Veteran, Frank, and his more than lovely wife, Nancy, over. So we sat on the deck and drank beer, scotch, whisky and, of course, Irish Car Bombs into the night. Jimbo and Frank more than entertained us with stories from their active duty days. It was a fantastic time! We packed a lot into a little bit of time.
Next day I dropped Jihad Gene at the airport way too early. Returned home and Bert and Ernie were still sawing logs. Eventually we all loaded up our cars and hit the road.
Looking forward to next year. Rumor has it that Mr. Blackfive himself will join in the fun. YAY!