Sunday, August 16, 2009

the great ox roast

Last night was the great Sandgate Ox Roast. A big community event held every summer at the same farm. A few hundred folks come to the annual potluck and eat, dance, and catch up with old friends. This was my second time attending so I knew exactly what I could expect–the homemade outdoor lighting, the dance floor with the ladder-hoisted lamps, and the roasting spit. I asked someone where this year's cow came from and I was asked this question:

"You remember the steer that kept breaking out of pen and standing in the road?"

"Yes" I replied. And I did remember since I almost hit him on the way to a sheepdog trial.

"Well, we're eating him."

Justice, quite literally, had been served.

This year I went with my two friends Phil and Mike. The boys showed up in Mike's truck an hour before the event because we had a music lesson planned. Mike just bought his first fiddle and wanted to learn to play. He showed me his new toy. It was a beautiful higher-end Cremona he bought from a local music store. It sounded wonderful, with a great tone and (as crazy as this sounds) a built in fade? For a brand new fiddler he had some serious talent. He bought it on Tuesday, learned Twinkle Twinkle by himself online, and then last night we learned the entire D scale, Ida Red, and began shuffling. I hope he sticks with it.

We all headed to the Ox Roast in Mike's truck, rolling down the notch and through the green roads. We passed a wedding at the Green Mountain Inn, and many horses and chickens along the roadside. Phil rode in the bed and I was a little jealous. I hadn't done that since Tennessee.

We arrived and set our contributions on the table. Phil and Mike made baked beans an corn bread. I made an apple pie with 1761 written on it in dough (the year Sandgate was chartered). We grabbed a table, got some food, cracked open a few beers and listened to the string band play. The guitarist had a 1930's black Gibson archtop that he showed me when I inquired about it. It was so beautiful—all busted up and scratched and still sounded heavenly. I have such a soft spot for old Gibson guitars. It made me want that dream J-45 even more. Some day. Right now my life goals go like this: truck, farm, tractor.

We didn't stay long, no one really does. We capped the meal with maple Wilcox icecream and pie and then jumped back into the truck. We were heading back to Cold Antler for a more intimate campfire and some more music. And let's all be grateful for small granted wished because this time I got to ride home in the back. This made my evening. The Roast was nice, my stomach was full, the Long Trail beer was perfect... but as we drove trough the Vermont dusk I played my fiddle from the back bed of the pickup truck and soaked up that small moment like it belonged in a snowglobe. Wind blew my hair all over my face and across my strings. I didn't care. I just sawed along, past the wedding a the Inn. Past the horses who looked up quickly then dove back into their salads. Past the whole world. A girl in a truck, a fiddle tune, and late summer.

As far as Saturday nights go. This one ended perfectly. Leaving behind the hoof prints of a memory I do not think I'll be able to shake anytime soon.


Blogger Sarah said...

How funny about that steer - a meal with a story. Justice is sweet! That ox roast sounded like a grand old time. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself!

Riding in the back of the pickup reminds me of one trip I took in the back of a pickup, sitting on a couch wedged into the bed, the tailgate missing and driving up these curvy mountain roads with the vistas yawning at our feet. It was the scariest, most thrilling ride of my life! Good times, but I'd never do that again! :-)

August 16, 2009 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

So, I live out in cattle country, and I'm literally surrounded by grazing beef cows. AND YET...whenever there is a community event, someone brings barbecue made from meat that they bought at the grocery store. I don't get it.

That sounds like a marvelous evening!

August 16, 2009 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Harvest Home said...

Sorry to post this here but AOL says your addy from blogger doesn't work.. :(

Hello from TN!

Like the subject line says I just finished up your book.. I wanted to email you and let you know it was wonderful!!!!!!!!!!
I'm just starting out and your book gave me a boost I needed right now.. kind of wanting to throw in the towel..

We both have the same interest too! Love the sheep.. but the hubby says no lol the landlord wouldn't like it lol.. I just say "we'll tell them the sheep are realllllyy funny looking dogs lol"
he says I need to find a sheep farm that takes interns lol

Love Mountain music.. can't play.. but wonderful wonderful music to live by ..

Just wanted to pass this note to ya.. to say how much I liked your book..
Are you going to write anymore? You are a great writer.. love you style :)

Thanks again!
Denise Tordoff
Nashville TN

August 16, 2009 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Denise: you can email me at and I can let you know about community farms, CSA, folk school and stuff in Tennessee (Used to live there, what side are you on?) and such. Thanks for reading my book!

August 16, 2009 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

My Dad and two brothers all have sweet sounding Martin D-28's.

August 16, 2009 at 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Lynnanne said...

"...soaked up that small moment like it belonged in a snowglobe."


August 16, 2009 at 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Lynnanne said...

"...soaked up that small moment like it belonged in a snowglobe."


August 16, 2009 at 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Lynnanne said...

Sorry... blogspot hic-cupped, came up an error and then twin posts...

August 16, 2009 at 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

Sounds like an amazing night. I spent my night around a campfire with my family having dutch oven pizza, fantastic local beer, and at the end of it all....the calling of coyotes in the neighborhood!!! It was really beautiful to listen to sitting next to the fire... It was so neat to hear them, since I know they are in our area, but we've never actually heard them.

August 16, 2009 at 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looked like lots of fun! Did you catch your pic on the Sandgate, VT website?


August 16, 2009 at 10:43 PM  

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