Great Texas brisket can be a life-altering experience, right up there with shaving one’s head or birthing a child.
All three of those life-altering experiences played into our Memorial Day weekend.
Before you get all excited, my personal pitmaster-for-life XFE and I are responsible for the brisket, but not the baby.
We started the weekend by shaving XFE’s head bald. He’s been, shall we say, follicly challenged for ages, bless his little sparse head. After a not-so-gentle nudge from his gruff barber Dan a few months ago, XFE asked me if it was time for him to let go of his comb-o-hawk.
Now, this is an incredibly delicate domestic situation to be put in. For one thing, I didn’t really care two figs about the state of his hair. It’s never been a big deal for me. Secondly, I couldn’t really tell how he felt. Obviously, he’d been keeping it the entire time I’d known him, buying hair gel for an increasingly thinning constituency. Why spend money on hair products if you aren’t really attached?
I had to proceed very carefully, gently nodding whenever the subject came up, offering suggestions on how to ease into this new state of hair.
But XFE is not a man to ease into anything and immediately decided to skip the wussy Matt Lauer buzz step and go full on baldylocks.
The results have been pretty shocking for many, myself included. We were at Target on Saturday and a co-worker walked past him without recognizing him at all. Even though he didn’t have a lot going on up there, the total absence has taken some getting used to. XFE just looks quite different. More dangerous. Sexier, even. And his green eyes are even more sparkly, like Rick from Pawn Stars.
XFE got to debut his new lack-o-hair-cut at a BBQ we had at our house on Sunday. It wasn’t a big to-do: just 15 pounds of smoked brisket, three racks of pork ribs, and around 20 of our friends on our new patio.
The afternoon was hot and sunny, the beers and wine were chilling and folks were getting to know each other with the smell of smoking meat and Calvin Harris tunes wafting through the air. After about an hour of chit-chatting, XFE sliced up the brisket and people started going to town, including our 8-months-pregnant friend Amy.
Now, Amy has been having contractions fairly regularly the last week or so and was on strict bed rest. But, I’m not really in a position to tell a woman with a big, pointy belly that she can’t come over and have some food. She did not, however, need to make a big, awesome tray of homemade chocolate chip and pecan cookies, but that’s another thing about Amy: she likes to bake and she’s going to bring something to a party, even if you tell her not to.
So, she did. And then she went into labor. And, as those things tend to go, she had a baby at around 5:09 a.m. (Our party ended a bit earlier than that at around 12:30 a.m.)
We tried to get the parents-in-pending to name the wee one Brisket, even texting the father-to-be on the way to the hospital, but they went with a different, only-slightly-more-traditional Irish/Scottish name. Bummer.
It’s ok – we’re used to people rejecting our name suggestions. A couple of years ago, we launched a very aggressive campaign aimed at some other friends of ours to name their unborn daughter Slayer. We made very convincing arguments on how nobody would mess with a girl named Slayer, including, when the time comes, teenage boys. When the parents-to-be balked at Slayer, we offered up the more feminine Sequin as a middle name. Neither name made even the preliminary naming list, I’m afraid.
Whatever. We’re calling the kid Brisket, and we can’t wait for Brisket to come to Porktober.