The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Flashback Friday!

Some of you were feeling a little cheated since you didn’t get a Flashback Friday! last week. (Sadly, you'll probably still feel a little cheated after reading this one.) You’re all probably getting as tired of the "drama is interfering with my plans" excuse, as I am.

Whew. Every time they drag us through the sewer I have to get one of those SILKWOOD showers to wash off the karmic stench. Life would be so much easier if they would just be happy with their own lives, not mistreat my kids, and leave us alone. You'd think that wouldn't be so much to ask. But...

That behind me, I thought I’d lighten things up a little.

There are likely a few of you out there that know I have a relatively kind and generous nature. (I’ll ignore the dissenting snickerers, because I know better.) Most of you are similarly inclined. Over the years there have been a great many gifts and gestures extended towards family, friends and complete strangers with the hope that I could bring a smile to someone's face. If only a fleeting one. Like you guys, I don't do it with any expectation of repayment. I honestly never even think about that.

Many years ago, when I was a newlywed (the last time), my ex had several friends that we "hung around with". They were "The Guys".

Some of them he'd known for years. One since high school. ONE since grade school! Only one of the guys (besides my ex) had been married at the time (this was about 1988), but he divorced less than a year later. So, for all intents and purposes, they were a bunch of bachelors. At this story's point in history, I'd known them for about five years.

At 25, I found myself married to a man who worked on the road. He worked in the telecommunications business and travelled throughout the midwest to install equipment at various phone company buildings. The impact to my life, was that I had an at-home husband, at max, two days out of seven each week. To say I was lonely would be a vast understatement. I didn't dwell on that, though. I'm sure it was hard on him, too. We made the best of it.

I had friends and family and I worked full time and, most of the time, I was okay. Oh, and my phone bill was often pretty close the same as my rent payment. Which sucked, but I was in love, so it wasn't a big thing.

"The Guys" would check in with me every few days. To make sure I was okay and invite me along on various outings. They were very sweet and worried about me, I think. They had a sense of loyalty to Baron, but don't get me wrong, I know they liked me in my own right, too. When I was having a bad day, they were always there with a shoulder for me to cry on. If I had a problem, they were eager to help in his absence.

I won't name their names, except to say that there were three of them, usually, with an additional couple that would be more sporadic in their attachment to our little group. All of them were older than me (as is Baron), and I suppose I was something of a little sister to them. At least that's how it felt at first.

During that time, I did very little cooking. Not that I didn't know how or like to, just that living, for the most part, alone, I didn't see much sense in it. I'd eat carryout, or something quick, most nights. Then do my cooking when Baron was in town. (Don't touch it, Mr. Norton!)

At some point, I decided that an excellent way to pay "The Guys" back for being such good friends to me was to have them all over for a home-cooked meal. And so was born, the "bachelor dinner party".

The first time I did it, I wasn't fully aware what an impact it would have for me to offer home-cooking to single guys. I thought they'd appreciate it, sure, but I was to learn that single guys don't get much in the way of home-cooking. So, feet-kissing and rose-throwing should not be an entirely unanticipated response.

Try as I might, I can't remember what I fixed the first time. I remember the three of them sitting down and eating voraciously and praising me as if I'd painted the Sistine Chapel.

And it was wonderful. I'd done it for them, but I'd enjoyed having the opportunity to do something I love doing (cooking) and then to have been showered so richly with praise and appreciation, was simply icing on the cake. It was something very rare for me and I ate it up. And I wanted more. LOTS more.

"The Guys" were always receptive when I'd invite them over. Usually, it would be in the middle of the week (once or twice a month) and I'd send them home with leftovers. We'd talk for hours about anything and everything, and laugh, and I just had so much fun with them. And I never felt lonely.

Every single bachelor dinner I cooked was met with rave reviews and they were so very special to me. The times and "The Guys".

I remember on one occasion that they all showed up dressed up (instead of the more casual attire we usually opted for) and brought a bottle of wine and a bouquet of roses. It made me smile. They were all such sweethearts and treated me like a princess. All for such a tiny little (very selfish) gesture on my part.

One of the guys asked if he could bring a date to one of the dinners, telling me that he "really liked her, but wanted me to sign off on her before things went any farther between them". I don't think he was being completely serious, but I know he valued my opinions.

Over the period of a year, I think I hosted about fifteen or twenty bachelor dinner parties for "The Guys". Cooking anything from an Italian pasta casserole to chicken thighs sauteed in butter and chicken boullion. There was never much money, but I could be creative and always wanted to do something different and special for them.

When the babies started coming for us, it made it more difficult to work out a social schedule, and then Baron and I moved out of town for a while. We'd still see "The Guys" (none of whom have married to this day, btw) from time to time, but not often. Certainly, not like it was in the early days. When we moved back to town, Baron didn't enjoy their company as much anymore, and we always had something going on with the kids, and we didn't live very close to "The Guys" anymore. People growing apart, I suppose.

I've seen them less still since the divorce. In fact, I've only seen one of them in the last few years (on a couple of different occasions). He was as glad to see me as I was him.

I suppose inviting them all for dinner, now that I'm with someone else, would be a little weird for them. But I'd very much like to catch up with them and maybe share a little home-cooking with some guys I know would appreciate it. Though, I won't deny a little selfish motivation there...;)

Hope all of you have a most excellent weekend. My girls come home tomorrow and we have some plans with the older two to go see HANNIBAL RISING while the littlest one attends a birthday party. Other than that, Highlander is planning to take us all out to dinner at a restaurant that the kids have long wanted to patronize, but never have. I'm greatly looking forward to it. If I can squeeze in a couple wedding related projects, I'd very much like to, but we'll have to see how that goes.

Lastly, thanks to all of you for your support here (and elsewhere) as we attempt, once again, to move my baggage from center stage. I really appreciate the resounding voice of sanity in the chaos. I can't tell you how much!!



Blogger MJ Norton said...

"Bachelor dinner party" is an almost charming tradition.

So, do you recall what judgment you passed on the one guy's date?

Oh, I know when something's too hot to touch. Well, most of the time I do.

Good luck with Hannibal Rising if you do go out to see it. It briefly came under consideration but I read only negative things about it and in the end we decided to give it a pass this side of cable. The negatives included everything from the plot and direction to a perceived disconnect between the serial killer we met in the later movies and a focused, vengeance-directed vigilante in this origin tale. I'll be interested to see how it went down with you and yours.

I'm already trying to enjoy the weekend. Trying. Trying...

2/16/2007 10:50 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Heh. Well it felt pretty charming...;)

As for the young lady who accompanied the bachelor, I gave her an honest "thumbs up". She was sweet and really seemed into him. It didn't last very long, but I didn't see anything (or get any vibe) that I thought would make it wrong to try.

HANNIBAL RISING is one the kids chose. Highlander and I are going along mostly because we want to spend the time with them. We'll sit through it, but neither of us is expecting a good flick. The kids are THRILLED to be going, though. Go figure...

Good luck on enjoying the weekend. We've got car fun again...and the snow has started. Though that last is very welcome.

2/17/2007 9:10 AM  
Blogger AaA said...

BDP? Dammit, why do all the kick-ass traditions never involve me?!?

(Yes, it's all about me.)


(Really cool FF, SF.)

2/20/2007 6:01 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Thanks, Nate.

I'm sure you would have been included had you lived in 100 mile radius...and...well...had I known you then. You could certainly to a friend up there to do something like that. It was pretty cool. Or, you know, you could move down here and eat all my leftovers. It's all Highlander can do to keep up with them. I think he's eaten leftover lasagne like three times this week. Poor fella!

2/23/2007 9:08 AM  

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