After several wrong turns revealing a variety of ways to end up at Forest Park, I arrived at my destination (which was NOT Forest Park). In keeping with the traditions of this column, I had no idea what to expect from a pig roast at what appeared to be some sort of ranch across the street from a gated community.

I parked on the grass between an oversized pickup truck and a gravel driveway. Two motorcycles were parked on the grass in front of us. Following the people noises, I made my way to a large, sliding gate, where a small pack of dogs rushed to greet me, followed by a smaller group of people. Before me glistened a motorized spit holding a whole caramelized pig. For some readers, that may sound disturbing, but I promise the sight would have made a vegan’s mouth water.

There were a healthy number of attendees who I would later learn were related, and this party was a family tradition. The property had once been a farm, as was the school resting on the property line behind us. Though not a relative, I felt like I fit right in among a family of white truckers. In all seriousness, though my femme Blackness stuck out like a caramelized pig carcass spinning in the sun, I was welcomed with open, burly arms. I guess once you’ve traveled the country several times over, I don’t seem as odd as Portland so often makes me feel.

The home had been in the family for generations, renovated, and lovingly maintained. The current owner had even taken the time to convert the basement into a delightfully kitschy bar, complete with a vintage bronze mineral oil rain lamp. Outside, the manliest of men brainstormed how to fix nonexistent mechanical problems, while a small group of aunts and grandmas discussed weed and psychedelics, because Portland.

Being as popular as I am, I left briefly for a coffee date, which is none of your concern. Upon my return, even more relatives had arrived with even more large, black dogs and pickup trucks. Food was homemade and bountiful—a perfect compliment to the pig. I had been invited to the party by a former coworker of Mexican descent, the convenience of which I note only because it gave me someone with whom to mourn the wasting of pig entrails, from which a whole other meal could have been made. My eyes were on the perfectly cooked tongue meat.

Oh yeah. Did I mention when the motorized spit overheated and caught fire, it set a small patch of mulch ablaze? Well, that happened. And, as one should expect, all those manly men resolving nonexistent mechanical problems sat by as the old women put out the flames. I suppose the lesson to take from it is that putting out fires started by men is women’s work.

The food, the scenery, the company, and the unintended entertainment earned this pig roast 10 points out of 10.

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