Monday, August 13, 2018

The Hampton Hellcats

I hang out with mostly retired folks where I live now. Since I’m underemployed, I’ve embraced a lot of their lifestyle and activities… The Hampton Hellcats Sunday morning breakfast at 7 A.M. The Monday morning meeting at 10 A.M. And the Thirsty Thursday afternoon meet up at Lowes Foods in Clemmons. All but one of those activities involves some kind of alcohol consumption. The core of the group has always been my father-in-law Jim and his best friend Bait. I’ve been lucky enough to tag along and now I’m a presence that can usually be counted upon. Ya know, like a rash on a baby’s bottom.

My stepsons and I were made members of the Hampton Hellcats in order to keep the tradition alive and well. The Hellcats were created in the 1950s and used to hangout near the home of Richard Childress. It seems that they terrorized the mean street of Hampton Road in Clemmons and where it winds its way through Davidson County.

But these days it’s usually Bait and Jim terrorizing each other. At times, you’d think that they absolutely hate each other. But they just like to contradict and argue with each other. Once, they got into an argument about which end of a mattress cover belonged at the top of the bed. My stepson Sam got to witness the whole incident and felt bad that he didn’t document it with video. It got heated with all kinds of expletives being thrown around before they called the customer service number to find out directly from the manufacturers. I don’t even remember who came out on the right end of that deal unless you count Sam being in the right place at the right time to observe it all. You will never know boredom around those two men, I assure you. And seriously, you could make a reality series with those two.

The Sunday breakfast is usually a chill and hang with a core of characters… Jim, Bait, Andy, Randy, Brent (not so much anymore), and myself. Chad has made appearances on the last 2 Sundays. We usually gather around 7, talk about what we’ve done during the week, gripe about the Winston-Salem Journal being late, and eat. Bait fries the bacon and sausage. Randy brews the decaf and he used to make the sausage gravy, but one little criticism didn’t sit quite right.

I have no opinion since I don’t eat that stuff. I just don’t care for its ultra-blandness. It’s like eating paper Mache paste to me.

Brent would take care of the biscuits, but that has fallen into Randy’s hands now. Jim fries up the eggs or scrambles them for a large turnout and I usually try to wash the dishes. Bait can be hard-headed about letting me do something or maybe he feels that I don’t do a good job. We usually break up between 8:30 or 9.

Monday morning meetings are different. I’ve made it to core group status. Sometimes Richard (Bait’s neighbor) will meet with us. Randy has shown up on several occasions. We’ve also had D-Wayne and Mike. And if it’s raining, Brannon will show up.

Brannon shared his lunch of sardines once. I haven’t eaten sardines in over 30 or 40 years. Just never felt the desire, but we devoured those two cans and they’ve become an almost regular food at the Monday meetings. Sardines or kippered snacks. I’ve even started eating them at home. I’m quite fond of the sardines packaged with Louisiana Hot Sauce (AJ Allmendinger sponsor).

Every meeting starts with the ceremonial opening of a growler. The beer starts flowing and then we talk about current events and what projects that we have coming up for the week. We also set out to solve world problems, but we haven’t taken notes to make our reports to the United Nations.

But here lately, we’ve gotten into watching Bob Ross videos on YouTube. It can be quite relaxing.

I found his show on Netflix and put it on once as we sat around the table drinking beer and eating pork rinds with Bait’s wife Bobbie. But for some reason, they like watching on YouTube. And I say that only because I have an OCD about watching things in order even though every show completes a painting. It’s not like ‘The Joy of Painting’ had two parters or season ending cliffhangers. I’m just wired weirdly.

But I am making THIS blog post a two parter. I hope to have the second part up tomorrow or Wednesday. And here’s a hint… I’ll be talking about Bob Ross.

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