Well, this is my report to the membership on the visit of Kenn White to my home.
First off, I want to take this time to thank you again, Kenn, for coming out and spending your time with me. I know it was a hardship for you to leave your family and take care of my needs, and you have left an indelible mark behind you in our hearts and minds.
It all started on Thrusday at about 11:30 or so. Nervous does not begin to describe it. I was shaking like an aspen leaf in a high wind. I looked at my had at one point and wondered if I was hypoglocemic because of the shaking. Turns out it was nerves.
I was standing in the baggage claim area, waiting. The time for his plane to arrive came and went. They even announced his arrival over the PA system, and still Kenn failed to show. I started wondering if I even knew how to recognize him. So I waited some more. Then I did something smart, and I looked around. Turns out the part of the claim area I was in was only half of the claim area. So I picked up my big-ole glass of water (64 oz size, only ONE cup of coffee Doctor….) and grabbed the bag with my laptop in it (which I had been using to pass the time) and hightailed it down to the other end of the claim area.
I see Kenn just putting his bag down and starting to look around for me. I yell his name, nothing. No reaction from him. I move closer, I yell again. He looks up, sighs and comes over. We hug and I hit him in the back with my glass. He’s dressed formally, and now I’m worried since I didn’t know it was a formal occasion.
We grab his bags and off to the car we go.
It’s a 30 minute drive from my home to the Airport, and from the other direction too. So, I’m thinking that I can take him home and we can laze around my house where my wife is waiting for him to show up.
We had made many preparations well in advance of his anticipated arrival trying to show good hospitality. After all, guesting and guest custom was one of THE most revered laws in Celtic society, and here I am hosting the High Druid (in effect), so the sky’s the limit. Feasts, games, challenges, song and story, conferences and hunts were the order of the day and should be.
Well, right there, Kenn threw a wrench into my carefully laid plans. Halfway home, he asks if there is someplace to eat. I throw out some options and he chooses to go to Krystal. For those of you who don’t know what this place is, it’s the child of White Castle. For those of you who STILL don’t know what I’m talking about, think of a square burger, about 2 inches on a side, grilled and steamed with onions, on a soft bread dough. If they use a whole ounce of meat in this burger, I would be surprised. Then add the pickle and mustard on the square bun. Let them sit for a couple hours, so the greese soaks into the bread and the bread returns to that state prior to cooking called “dough”. Then take it out and swallow one in about 2 bites, and then days later give yourself the worst case of acid and diarrhea in the world. THAT’S Krystal/White Castle. Now add to that you can’t stop eating them, no matter how horrid they are, they are that good. (It’s been theorized for years that they lace the food with cocaine or some other addictive drug to force intelligent people to keep eating them. Not true, just stupidity.)
Kenn says that that’s fine. Then he mentions that he would actually like something he can’t get at home, something good. So I take him to Fat Mo’s instead, since Krystal can’t be described as “good” and I like Kenn. Take a pound and a half of chopped sirloin, fry it with cheese, put it on a fresh-baked roll and add two fistfulls of spicy steak fries. Add a drink. Charge about $6.50. SOOOOOO worth it. Kenn said he could eat two. I couldn’t finish mine. I was scared now wondering if I would have to lay in more food to feed him.
Get him home to our one bedroom palace, and introduce him to my wife, who IMMEDIATELY starts berating me for not coming home and helping her clean the house. My wife practices Itallian Grandma hospitality. “You hungry? Eat! You sad? Eat! You cold? Eat! You happy? Eat! Cleancleancleancleanclean(sogermscometomyhousetodie) Eat! You too skinny…. How you catch a spouse? Eat! You won’t eat? You no like it, I throw it all out and make you something you like….” You know the type.
So we settle down and start getting a feel for each other. I figure this first day is going to be “let’s feel each other out and see if we can stand to be in close proximity to eacho other for a long period of time.” That’s pretty much how it worked out, except I have this leech on my side whenever I go out called Kenn. Seems he was just as nervous as I was, and since I was the only person he actually knew, he was sticking with me HARD.
So, we run a few errands and pick up my daughter, who has been carefully instructed to call him “Mr. White” unless he says otherwise, and to wear clothing at all times, unless in the shower.
Friday dawns, and I have to work. So, I leave, spend the whole day and finally get my check, cash it, buy more supplies and come home, almost an hour late. I’m wondering if my wife and leader are still alive or did they kill each other? Groundless fear, they hit it off famously. We spent Friday late into the night talking about everything, quizzing me about what I had learned, and what I needed to know about the upcoming initiation. I’m a lot more calm now. So we discuss and have a good old time.
Enchiladas the first night, I think he approved. The second night was a Southern delacy, ham beans and cornbread (with a side of Bean-O). Yum, yum. Beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot…. I expressed some nervousness about passing my Birch 3 (Foclac) test, and Kenn kindly started quizzing me (alright… at my request). I apparently passed. We talked into the night again, threshing out ideas and coming to a consensus on many thoughts.
Saturday, he wants to see sights. So, Mary had been encouraging him to go to the Farmer’s Market, where we could see one of the local tourist attractions, the Parthenon (replica of the same in Greece). While there, we stopped at a metaphysical store to see if I could find myself a triskel, which they didn’t have. It was interesting to me, from a study standpoint, to see what I had progressed past. Ninety nine percent of what was in there, I didn’t need anymore, and the other 1% I only needed to use up supplies I already had. Guess the tools really DON’T make the Druid.
That night was my initiation. You will understand if that’s all I say as it’s a secret. Suffice to say, I swore oaths, continued presidents, heard stories and learned things that I hadn’t thought of before. I was supposed to feel like a different person, but ultimately, I had been doing everything I just promised to do for a long time since, this was simply official recognition of it. The meal of the evening was Chicken Tempura (our own batter recipe). It was so good, Kenn asked for the recipe for it, to take home.
Time was also spent wrapping presents and sending those to his wife and family. My “thank you” to them for sharing him with me.
More talk after everything was over. Dragged into bed sometime at 3 AM and slept like the dead. So much so, we missed resetting the clocks.
More sightseeing the next day, this time at Opry Mills Mall. Ooooohhhhhhh…. Shopping for his gifts for his family, looking around for us. Thought it was 5 PM, turned out that it was 4. Dinner was homemade pizza. Think of a Chef boy-ar-dee pizza kit, and then make it about 1000 times better. Four separate individual pizzas, so everyone could have exactly what they wanted on it. Then it was time for home chores, and that wound up taking up the rest of the night. No talk, just some minor things to deal with, like posting in a few places and checking email.
Finally, Monday comes. Except I don’t want it to come, as I have to go to work again. Bu
t I leave anyhow, and deal with it. It looked to be another talkless night, but we wound up talking to about 3 AM again, on various things, mostly the Order and he and I. I was surprised to find out that I’m the only non-Salt Lake City ODU initiate so far. There were more, but they left and resigned. Spaghetti was the meal of the night, and it was GOOOOOODDDD. Kolach just rounded everything out (Hungarian coffee cake. Take a pastry and roll it out thin several times, make a sheet about 1 foot wide, and about 6 feet long. Smear red plumb preserves and walnuts on the sheet, and roll it up. Bake. Slice and eat.)
That brings me to this morning. Took Kenn to the Airport, waited with him, talked and sucked on some milk. People watched. Made comments on the pretty girls. Watched people again. Finally he went to his gate, I spent about another hour wandering around the airport public area (I had taken the morning off and didn’t have anyplace I had to be.) Finally went to Waffle House and sat and wrote. Went to work.
That’s about it.
A whole lot was accomplished, and some of it I can’t discuss except with others who have been initiated.
Which reminds me, Kenn will probably look at this, and I still need those copies of the rituals you did sent to me.
And I was honored to have you as a guest in my house. You are welcomed back anytime you wish to grace us with your presence and can spare the money. 😉