Being new to Atlanta and all, my wife and I decided to be social and not turn down too many offers. This led to some interesting outings. Mine were pretty standard like men’s poker, steak night or sports related gatherings. Alex’s got a little out there.
The ladies ornament and cookie exchange had her working in our kitchen all day to turn out cookies that Martha Stewart would have approved, only to get in return an assortment of child-made concoctions with sprinkles. There was even a redneck cookie of the likes she’d never seen—a saltine dipped in some sort of waxy chocolate (don’t get me wrong, I tried every cookie she brought home—we were trying new things after all).
The event was an all-women ordeal, and being a neighborhood with new construction, not everyone was acquainted. The hostess told the ladies to stand up and introduce themselves stating name, how many kids, and something interesting. Alex was already feeling the pressure just being with all these new people, but now she had to be on the spot in the spotlight. Since we don’t have kids, she mentioned our cats, and since she didn’t like to brag or name-drop she did not mention the time she met Michael Jackson at a private party in a Turkish penthouse, but said something about us just moving here from California.
The ornament exchange part of the evening turned into a somewhat nasty affair. Everyone brought a gift-wrapped ornament, and put it in a pile on the table. Numbers were drawn, and number one chose a gift off the table at random, then number two had to decide rather to steal the one just opened, or grab from the unopened pile on the table. This whole thing involved stealing and coveting and scheming to get the ornament you wanted to go home with, not to mention the shame if your ornament was one that nobody wanted.
The apex of interesting outings, however, had to be the book club/gun club combo. Most book clubs seem to turn into either a wine or gossip-fest. In Georgia they up the ante with firearms. Sometimes saying yes to everything makes you vet stuff a little less than you normally would, so Alex was more than surprised when her book club ride pulled into the local gun range. Yes, these were genteel, book-reading women, but they could also handle a gun: That’s one definition of a steel magnolia for ya’.