It was a Deming dinner through and through. The spread was laid and conversation made—Moho pork and Cuban rice and shared with the spice of life, flavors of two generations. Good eats. Mama D and Papa D, Yvonne and Dave, live in Odessa, FL. That’s near Tampa.
We’re going to switch it up tonight. It’s easy to get caught up with our time on and around our bikes. But this night, it is the dinner I want to talk about.
In the past week we’ve enjoyed some wonderful family meals—as just a team, and also with our hosts. Our nights with Jessie, and Athena, and Colin, and Amber … delicious. Yet in our last two locations—Saint Petersburg and Odessa—we’ve stayed with first Rachel’s family and then Tyler’s family, and that brought our Family dinners, these team dinners, our most meaningful experiences thus far.
The meal with the Deming’s began innocently enough before taking a turn for the raunchier. Someone began talking about jam. Yvonne asked us if we ‘knew the difference between jam and jelly?’
There’s an old joke.
“Hey! Do you know what the difference between jam and jelly is?” ….
“I can’t jelly my dick down your throat!”
Gross. Vile. Horribly insensitive. Tyler and I almost fall out of our chairs laughing. Yvonne had just wanted to explain to the table that jam has fruit preserves and jelly doesn’t. Oh well.
Rachel changes the subject. “What’s a story about Tyler you want to share with the table?” Story time.
Yvonne and Dave look at each other. Their brains rack. There’re so many Tyler stories, where to begin?
Tyler is an easy guy to love. He’s unflabbly optimistic, a true outdoorsman, and can fall asleep anywhere, anytime, wearing anything. Quite the man. Probably came out the womb smiling.
I told a story about Tyler, some recent night where he held court out in a garage playing the strumstick and explaining to a captivated audience how to set up a touring bicycle with muscles as big as his.
Then Tyler told a story about me—my eating fifty hardboiled eggs in fifty miles challenge. Then I told a story about George—our adventure getting lost and then found. George told a story about some Christmas gift subterfuge of Megan’s. Yvonne and Dave then both told more stories about Tyler. Rachel told a story about Brady … their first and almost last date after a disastrous—comical—bicycle ride together.
All told, we sat at the table for three hours, eating and talking and laughing and making more dick jokes. Kidding. There was only the one fortuitous jelly vs jam joke.
Our time on the road so far has been defined by our interactions with each other and our hosts. To experience the Deming’s hospitality and have the opportunity to experience each other’s histories was an experience worth recording here.
So thank you, Demings, and everyone else who has given pieces of themselves (fingers, toes, etc) to host us these past ten days. We hit our 500 mile marker tomorrow, en route to Gainesville, where we shall dance around George with great, relentless gusto.