Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Deep Fried Country Fun

Monday, March 12, 2007

Deep Fried Country Fun

Before you say anything, I am fully aware it's nearly three in the morning. I have been fighting an unenthusiastic but persistent migraine curled up deep behind my left eye since yesterday, and it seems that a lot of the medications I have tried contain caffeine. I now have a headache and am completely awake. Between that and the snoring coming from my husband downstairs, I was forced to give up. I even tried to relax on the couch, but it just made me more frustrated.

The good news is that despite feeling like a steaming bowl of Gravy Train, I enjoyed yesterday immensely. I worked out in the morning, which was undoubtedly a mistake, and then spent a lot of the day on the couch watching crime shows while Erik slept. Erik and I did get a nice session of Play Doh time in at the kitchen table, and he spent a lot of time outside with his father. It was nearly 70 degrees yesterday. In the afternoon, I got up, did my hair and makeup, and painted my fingernails to prepare for a birthday barbecue for one of Brian's coworkers. The people at this party rarely see me, as their functions usually involve football games out of town or parties in the evening and I usually am home caring for Erik. I confess I am also slightly allergic to social functions, being on the pathologically shy side. I had to force myself to go to this event, but I imagine that Brian's friends are questioning if I exist at all at this point and I decided to make an appearance.

We have passed this particular house many times on our way over the mountains, as it is on the highway. It's a newer, modest home nestled in the sage and grass among a seemingly haphazardly placed mix of older manufactured homes and newer ranch-style homes with the mountains looming nearby. We definitely enjoy the view of the mountains from our back porch, but the view from this place was spectacular. I alleviated my jealousy by telling Brian we are due for a volcanic eruption any day now and that I could sleep more soundly knowing we are further away from any potentially deadly, suffocating blankets of scalding ash falling from the sky in such an event (there's a bulge in the earth nearby that is 100 square miles and grows 1.4 inches a year that is thought to be caused by a one-mile wide, 65-foot deep molten pool of magma). I'm still jealous. I'm usually too busy backseat driving on our way by to truly appreciate how gorgeous it is on that stretch of road. I noticed the mountains gleamed all day long like a row of giant incisors in the painfully bright sunshine.

At the house, I unloaded Erik and his paraphernalia from the truck, and he immediately started running towards two ATVs parked in the front yard. He ran his hands over the tires and expressed his amazement with his body language and comments (Tires! Wheels!). Once we detached him from the knobby tires, we entered the home, greeted people in the kitchen, and walked through the back door into a generous back yard, where there seemed like there were a thousand kids at play, crawling up into a playhouse equipped with a slide. I found a seat at a picnic table by a man I recognized from poker night at our house and chatted with him while Erik was content sitting in my lap watching the kids play. Several times I put him down to explore, but he came right back to me. As soon as he would get the courage to wander a few feet away, a child would screech, and he would attach himself to me again. Once my own shyness began to fade, I began to enjoy the group of friendly partygoers. My favorite, though, was Jamie, the wife of one of Brian's coworkers. She had met me once and only vaguely remembered me but sat down next to me like I was an old friend. I don't know heaps about her, but I do know she is some sort of engineer. She formerly worked on a nuclear submarine. She mentioned something about drawing up vectors and threatened to give a lecture on heat transfer as the boys lowered the massive rump of a turkey into a deep fat fryer much too close to the home's siding for my comfort. Her husband, also completely adorable and equally brilliant, invited Erik to sit on a porch-type swing in a log frame between him and another partygoer. Erik actually took his suggestion and wandered over, where the guys plucked him up and placed him between them. He sat there happy as could be for quite some time. I enjoy watching adults marvel at how friendly he is. He's great at parties!

Soon the heavy lid of the barbecue was opened, revealing a mountain of glistening ribs. We loaded our plates and began eating dinner. Erik would only eat potato chips and the granola bar I brought along. He spat everything else out into his hand. The turkey soon emerged from its hot Crisco bath. I admit that I was excited about that, as I had never tasted a deep fried turkey (delicious). Erik somehow knew there would be cake after dinner. He apparently heard someone mention that particular word with his incredible hearing. He sat on my lap, saying, "Cake, cake, cake, cake, cake, cake..." Sure enough, we were called in to sing happy birthday and watch sparklers anchored in chocolate frosting sputter to life and do their thing. Jamie carved out a generous piece of cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream for me and Erik, and we devoured it as sun sunk behind the mountains and the air began to chill. It wasn't long before we heard the rude, farty roar of the ATVs firing up, and Erik expressed extreme interest in them, noise and all. In fact, Brian and Erik both stood very close to one as it was repeatedly revved up for Erik. Instead of rocking back and forth like he usually does, he only trembled like an excited poodle and bounced up and down, saying, "Again!" and "Quads!" The expression on his face made me laugh out loud. He was excited, terrified, and euphoric all at the same time. We watched the adults take the kids on dusty rides before we called it an evening, loaded up into the truck, and began the drive home.

If I had felt more like myself, it would have been a perfect day. As it turns out, it was close enough for me.

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Anonymous Aspen said...

I just love your stories! It makes me relive the day and party with you all over again. Someday, we will both be at one of these amazing parties.

On another note, I too am a huge fan of the fried turkey! Yum...


7:32 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

This was like a wonderful short story that I'd gladly recommend to a friend.
I'm glad you had a good time, I know the migraine and I know the shyness too. Both are hard to deal with, buy you did great.

So glad Erik had a good time, he's growing by leaps and bounds. I know you've got to be so proud of him.

9:00 AM  
Blogger PASLAY'S FROM IDAHO said...




9:04 AM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Sounds like a day full of fun!

I never tried fried Turkey. Yum! However, I'm not sure if I could have enjoyed the day knowing a deep-fryer was on nearby.

I sure hope that migraine of yours is gone.

PS A great picture with beautiful views!

9:09 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

to bad about your headach, other then that it sounds like a really good time. I Wish it were 70 here, not yet but getting close.

I can not wait ot meet Erik he is just adorable, his mommy too :)

2:20 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

That's great that he will withstand the noise of something he thinks is cool... you don't want them to miss out on fun stuff.

70 degrees!!! Wow! I am so ready for spring.

Love you- K

4:10 PM  
Blogger Kim, Grandma to Ava,ws said...

Aaaahhhh. Your words are so folksy and comforting. I felt like I was at the party with you and your family. Glad you had a good time, Nancy. Tell Erik we are proud of him!

6:35 PM  

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