We have parties at our farm that involve lots of kids and lots of beer and lots of humidity. A large time is had by all. I hauled 120 pounds of chickens UP the steps into my parents house and DOWN the steps into the basement to the deep freeze yesterday. My dad sat in his chair and watched me and when my mother got home, asked what the chickens were for.

Well, duh.

We picked blackberries Tuesday morning even though I'd FORGOTTEN how...over the last 52 years...picking blackberries will kill you after it maims you. I need to shave my legs for the Fourth but damn, I keep looking at these scratches and contemplating a razor sliding over them and YES...I had on overalls. They're fucking BLACKBERRIES, for pete's sake. They fight back. We saw a snake...a pretty little brown and yellow snake (his stripes ran from head to tail, not in circles) hanging on a bush. My brother assured me poisonous snakes are coiled on the ground, better to strike you with. Those hanging in bushes are waiting on lunch to wander by.

Says he.

I've been making bread for the last week, so that we can have bread with our beer butt chickens. And beans. Then yesterday, I realized I LOST ELEVEN LOAVES OF BREAD. I turned this place upside down and threatened The Short List...the wine was one thing. The bread? You die. Turns out, one of the kids had Grandmother take them and put them in a freezer. NOT the freezer I was headlong in yesterday but another one. The country thing.

Myself and I have a deal...that I will not start celebrating this holiday until the first of the chickens are on the grill. I am not the griller; I am the preparation committee. I have been preparation-ing for a week now. Shit costs too much. And it's heavy.

Sobriety is severely overrated. Says me.