Arkansas' a trip.
You know how your church will hold an outreach event... something that will reach out to the community - meeting people at the point of their need? A VBS in the summer (helps with wandering school kids), a bible camp, Parent's night out, the usual.
Our church, this last Sunday afternoon, held a Big Game Night. No... not games as in Monopoly, RISK or Clue. Big game as in Deer, Hog, and smaller game as in wild turkey, duck, fish and squirrel. We had a potluck.
Each of the hunters in the church brought in their finest game dishes and the ladies brought side dishes and dessert. The place was decked out in camoflouge, mounted deer heads, a hog head, deer hide, beaver, fox, bobcat... No, I'm not joking! The centerpiece was a boat tied to a tree, with a Bambi standing on "water's" edge.
The food included: battered and fried Crappie (no, it's pronounced "Croppie"), Deer Stew, Wild Turkey Casserole, Duck with Dressing, Smoked Deer with BBQ sauce, and Squirrel Dumpling Stew. I brought a fresh salad. When asked what I killed - I told them "Lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. I was brutal. Took no prisoners."
We ate dinner with our hunters and their "unchurched" friends. What a mix of people! First of all, I've never seen so much camo in my life! Each carefully planned outfit was topped with a farmer's cap. As we finished eating, they started a duck calling contest. People used all kinds of sticks and mouthpieces and flute-looking things.
There was a fella there who topped the experience for us. He was a red-head, about 6'2", and looked like a white Mike Tyson. He got up and started making his duck call, but needed no such instrument. He used his mouth to make a slurping duck sound. He was having some trouble, as he was missing a tooth right in the front and center of his mouth. (His "spittin' hole" as he called it.) After a few nervous chuckles, and a downright belly laugh, he got it. And the crowd was amazed. (I had to take his word for it - I had falsely believed since preschool that ducks said "quack".)
I came as an observer. I was kicking myself for not bringing my video camera. This stuff is real, folks! When they were all done with dinner, the fellas all went out back to smoke. And truly - every once in a while someone would loudly exclaim "Git 'er dooonnnne!"
After the cleanup was done, we all went in for evening church services. Many still dressed in camo. Our preacher (my brother in law) apparently owned no such camo, and wore a flannel shirt and torn jeans. He preached his heart out about being the "hunter" and not the "hunted". Fantastic lesson. He used fishing analogies, old hunting stories, called the devil's tricks "hooks". Really connected with our hunter's friends.
All in all, it was a good thing. Not a Martha Stewart "good thing", mind you. However, it really did reach out to the community. A different, often ignored part of our Little Rock community. As strange as it was to me, I can see that the folks in the room were on cloud nine. And, I was truly happy for them.
And as for me? I got to write about it.