Wednesday, July 30, 2008
July 25-26 Stevensville MD Chesapeake Bay Cook-off
A new team is forming and there is nothing I can do to stop it………
When picking days off during the summer months I was told that I could not have the date of July 25th as I requested. No big deal, I had been given most of the other days I had asked for and the contest was only 1 ½ hours away. Erich was taking the entire day off and volunteered to haul the trailer down to Stevensville and begin to set up. My wife Jo, who would cook the seafood contest Friday night, went along on the trip from Street to the eastern shore. Al picked up our chicken and would meet them there.
Everything came together as Bobby worked a ½ day then drove right to the site. The teammates set up the site and began to prep the meat before I was even off work. I finished work at 5:00 and took off for the contest. I had the radio on during the afternoon and was listening to the traffic reports for the Bay Bridge which is usually jamming on a Friday evening. All reports were saying no back ups so I decided to take a chance and take that route.
The trip went off without a hitch and I arrived at the contest site around 6:30 to find a complete set up, most of the meat was trimmed and resting in the cooler as it should be at this time, we weren’t behind at all, and I hadn’t even been there. Hmmmm, what did they need me for, I thought to myself. They did leave the brisket for me to trim, I suppose to make me feel at least a little useful.
They were going to let me help Jo get her entry boxed, although I noticed when I started grilling the shrimp, Al came over and took the tongs from my hands. Oh well, I took a walk around the grounds and greeted some of the other teams. After the seafood turn-in I returned to the site and trimmed the brisket. After which, we enjoyed a great meal complete with farm fresh tomatoes and sweet corn, man, was it good.
After dark, we were treated to a great 20 minute fireworks display, Erich broke out the stogies and all was well, or was it, things had run a little too smooth in my absence. I sensed something was afoot. I’d have to get to the bottom of this one.
My plan was to ply them with alcohol, then ask a few general questions to see what I could find out. The plan was moving along nicely, with plenty of beers being knocked off during dinner and the fireworks. Then I broke out the Crown Royal and Patron. Things get a little foggy from here on out, I think I forgot what to ask. Come to think of it, I think I even forgot the focus of the investigation. Oh well, we got the big meats in on time and took a leisurely stroll around the site visiting with the other teams, to hell with the inquisition, I’d work on that in the morning.
The weather was great and I think even got a few hours sleep, with the exception of a rather loud laughing girl a few sites down. I don’t think they knocked off until after 3 AM. These organizers really need to enforce quiet times. Most teams agree, but there are always a few…..
The next morning I was up early prepping the ribs for the fire. I was joined by the usual suspects, Bobby and Al, with a special guest appearance by Erich. He will claim he always rises early, to which we all disagree. We were all in stitches when Christy from the VA Pirates wondered into our site at around 9:00 AM and exclaimed upon seeing a vertical Erich, “what are you doing up?” Nuff said.
The cook went surprisingly well. Timing was on, no rushing; things went into the box without too much trouble. I think we only ventured into the last five minutes of one window. I ranked our boxes from best to worse, brisket, chicken, ribs, pork. The judges agreed for the most part, as you can see by the results. The best part was Jo’s seafood dish took 2nd place. We were all very happy for her and she was beaming when she walked up to collect her ribbon.
Our goal here was to try and break into the top ten overall, and we were successful for the first time this year with our sixth place finish. We are moving in the right direction, 16th Salisbury, 14th Chesapeake, 11th Landover and now 6th. I would like to keep it up, time will tell.
After we packed up the gear and were waiting for the awards, the fellows finally spilled the beans. They are considering starting their own team, now that they realize they don’t need me around barking out orders, they can get along just fine without me. Some are planning on passing out resumes at the Bel Air contest. I think they are serious, they have even come up for a name for the new team, “We were those guys!” Then, they say, I have to change the name of my team to “Where are those guys?”
I wonder what this is going to cost me. I wonder if it’s not too late, if I can reform and be a better person, a better, more understanding, more compassionate and flexible leader. Maybe I will experience a revelation of sorts, similar to old Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning.
Wait a minute, hold the phone, me, more compassionate, more understanding, and dare I say flexible,……..nahhhh...... I don’t see THAT happenin!