Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bikers and Ginger Ale Punch with a Raspberry Ice Ring

Take II

My original attempt to write this up failed as despondency overcame me. I truly believe that today, most US citizens are afraid of freedom. If they do not fear the responsibility that comes with freedom, then they fear their neighbors too much to allow freedom for others. It seemed an exercise in futility. However, this posting by La Shawn Barber at least gives me some hope. Apparently there are some 'liberal,' 'progressive' groups that haven't let their hatred completely overwhelm every last smidgen of decency. If they won't stand shoulder to shoulder with pro-life groups, at least they aren't standing against them out of sheer orneriness. & so the butterfly in Pandora's box still flickers her tired wings . . .

Also, in violation of all known blog etiquette, I have no links, no references, nothing to go by but my own faulty memory. Sorry 'bout that. There's not much to be done about it, unless someone wants to go to Villa Park, Illinois and manually search the dusty archives of the Villa Park Argus.

Once upon a time, probably around '84 or '86, I was young and full of joie de vivre. Also, alcohol. 'Twas a sunny Saturday afternoon in the springtime when I wandered half-schnockered out of my local watering hole at the same time as a drinking buddy, Carbide. Carbide strolled over to his bike and his biker friends; my eye was caught by a table set up across the street, outside the feed store, manned by two well-dressed, respectable looking ladies and covered in pamphlets. "Gee, what's that all about?" sez I to myself - and shortly repeated the question to the gentlewomen, as a light spring breeze wafted my whiskey breath merrily down the lane.

A well-manicured eyebrow was raised, but the question was answered politely enough. The ladies were (I think) with the Presbyterian Ladies' Auxiliary or some such group; apparently someone somewhere recently had had a potluck supper and salmonella was an unfortunate result. Nobody died, but I expect it was unpleasant and probably embarrassing for whoever brought the offending dish. The sad quirk of an incident had prompted the Villa Park government to propose a law outlawing potlucks, church suppers, bake sales and the like for 'the good of the people'.

Well. You can't tell something like that to a young, intoxicated female without getting some sort of reaction. The tears sprang to my eyes. "But . . . church suppers and potlucks are where everybody gets together and enjoys themselves. It's one of the few things that everybody likes. Can they do that?"

Responds a grim matron: "They're certainly trying to. We need those fellowships to reach out to each other, and the government wants to do away with them because of one isolated incident."

"Carbide!" I bawled. "They're going to make potlucks illegal!"

"What?!" Carbide looked at me as if I had three heads, but strode across the street. He looked at the ladies "What's this all about?"

The poor ladies thought I was scary; at the sight of 6'+ Carbide, in his leather vest, chains and obligatory tattoos, the women turned pale. But the lady in lavender took a deep breath, handed him a pamphlet, and explained.

I never hope to see such a display of righteous anger again.

"God fucking damn it!! That's not right!"

Is it just my imagination over time, or did Lady A really start to rise up in indignation? Did Lady B really pat her arm and bring her down, saying "Different people have different ways of expressing themselves. His heart's in the right place."?

In any case, Carbide really did yell across the street to his biker buddies - about 5 or 6 as I recall - and they all came traipsing over.

"Politicians are trying to tell old ladies they can't have any more get-togethers!"

"Shit, food is the only thing that could ever get me into church!"

"No way!"

"Are they insane? Tellin' me I can't have potato salad?"

& then the magic words . . . "What can we do to help?"

"Well . . . there's a town council meeting coming up . . . "

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Naturally, I was out of town for most of the excitement. Upon my return, I swear to you I saw Cadillacs sporting bumper stickers saying "When potlucks are outlawed, only outlaws will have potlucks."

Rumor has it that, in addition to various church ladies' groups, the Outlaws and the Sons of Satan also attended the town meetings. In any case, before Memorial Day with its traditional gatherings of food, friends, family and fun, the Lombardian (or possibly the Lombard Spectator) printed an article stating that the Villa Park government decided to drop its proposal. "When groups so diverse oppose a law, maybe it really is a bad law."

& the moral of the story is:

Celebrate Diversity;

Different people have different ways of expressing themselves, but that doesn't mean that their hearts aren't in the right place; and of course

When potlucks are outlawed, only outlaws will have potlucks.

True story.

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