Test fest '08 | A Chick Called Mick

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Test fest '08

Posted By on Sat, Jun 7, 2008 at 6:31 PM

About this time a year ago, I was living in a small town surrounded by a lot of other small towns in southwest Arkansas.  One day I was coming back from lunch with my coworker, Tina, when out of the blue, she said,   “Girl, I thought about you this weekend.  We were all at Mike’s Country Store for the Testicle Festival, and I almost called to see if you wanted to come down and join us.”

I froze in the middle of the parking lot and stared at her.  I had never heard of such a thing.  Did you know about this?  My first thought was that this was something for men kind of like breast cancer awareness for women.  I was very, very wrong.  For several minutes I just kept asking, “What?” and then, as she explained it to me, I followed up with, “I don’t understand.  Are you kidding?”

In case you are equally unfamiliar with this charming tradition, let me try to explain.  Apparently, in the spring, farmers castrate (or according to Tina, “de-ball”) bulls.  I’m sure there’s a reason for it, but I don’t know what it is.  At the end of the day, farmers have all these leftover cow parts.  As she talked, my spidey-senses started tingling.

“Do they fry them?” I asked. 

Yep.  Apparently, they taste like gizzards.  The whole event is celebrated by drinking (quite a bit, I’m guessing) and eating an assortment of fried snacks, including Rocky Mountain Oysters. 

Mike’s Country Store in Foreman is not the only place that does this, either.  I emailed some friends to see if they had heard of such a thing and found out it’s very big in ranching country.  My friend Bill wrote back to say: “I ate my first testicles back in 1985,” which I hope is the beginning to one of his short stories someday.  Later, my aunt told me that she and her husband had looked into buying a place in Montana, and they were offered the rights to the testicle festival that was held on the land.  My aunt could have owned her own testicle festival, and I’m a little disappointed that she doesn't. 

 At the time Tina brought it up, however, I didn’t know any of this.  I was so astonished by the whole thing that she promised to invite me this year.  And I truly wanted to go.  I planned to stay away from the snack tables, but this seemed like something I should see firsthand.

Two months before the festival, I moved, and I figured that would be the end of it.  Tina was true to her word, though, and gave me a heads up when the Test Fest (as they decorously referred to it on the radio) rolled around.  It happened to coincide with a weekend I was coming back to the area to see my parents and grandparents. 

My father was surprised when I told him that I planned to go.  It didn’t seem like my kind of thing, he said tactfully.  I admit that there’s some truth to that.  I saw this more as an anthrological experiment than an ideal Saturday night.  It might give me a few good stories to tell, and I’d have a chance to visit with Tina.  Plus, I've always been curious about unusual things.

My mother didn’t mind me going on one condition: “If your grandparents ask, say that you’re going to visit a friend.”  My mom is much classier than I am.

As the weekend got closer, I tried to contact Tina to work out the details.  I believe in having a plan.  To be honest, I prefer for other people to do the planning, but Tina likes to improvise.  If I wanted an itinerary, I needed to take the initiative. 

The problem was, I couldn’t get in touch with Tina.  I found out later that she spontaneously decided to get out of town that weekend.  Without knowing Tina’s plans, I had a decision to make.  I knew when and where the festivities would be getting underway.  What I didn’t know was whether or not I was up for Test Fest 2008 by myself.  Suddenly, the idea didn’t seem like as much fun.  Going alone would make me feel conspicuous.  Without Tina to hang out with, it might seem like I had driven about half an hour down Highway 70 to gawk at drunk folks eating fried bull testicles and peruse some tacky Test Fest souvenirs.  I mean, that was pretty much the point of going, but it didn’t seem like a good idea to be obvious about it.  Plus, it seemed like an experience that should be shared.  Whether it is a good time or a terrible one and especially if something bizarre happens, it’s nice to be able to turn and share a meaningful glance as if to say, “Can you believe this?”

I opted for a little extra time at home with my family, which was nice if less exotic.

I called Tina this week, and she apologized for being out of touch.  She assured me that word around town was that it wasn’t as good as last year’s.  She also got me a t-shirt.  Something with a bull crossing its legs….I look forward to wearing it.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Ashley McKelvy

  • Can I have a Definition please?

    I meant to write this post days ago, but it's been one of those weeks where I just couldn't convince myself to do the things I should.  But I wanted to talk for just a minute about the Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee that was on TV this week.  The first thing I want to say is that I am an abysmal speller (and don't think I didn't get a little help on the spelling of 'abysmal.')*  When I lived in Austin, I applied for some jobs with UT, and they required a spelling test.  I took the test twice and never scored high enough to apply for a secretarial position with the school.  So, I was never a viable spelling bee candidate.  But there's a documentary about students participating in the National Spelling Bee called Spellbound that I am in love with.  I'm actually watching it as I type this.
    • May 31, 2009
  • Grillin' time

    My parents called this morning and wanted to come up for a few hours to spend Memorial Day with me.  It was a nice surprise--although if I'd had a little more notice I would have vacuumed, but dirty carpet is what they get for giving me little advanced warning--because my parents are kind of awesome.Mom mentioned that they'd thought we might cook out, but since it was rainy and I don't own a grill, I didn't give much credence to that idea.  I was surprised, then, when my parents came up to my place carrying bags of groceries and a grill in a box.  A tiny grill.  One might even go so far as to call it cute, but the punishment for undermining the grill might mean one doesn't get to partake in the delicious charbroiled food cooked upon it.  So, I didn't call it cute.I let them in, and since it was close to lunchtime, Dad started prepping the food while Mom and I sat on the couch and got caught up on the latest news.  It took me a while to realize we weren't having hamburgers.  Or hot dogs.  We were having kabobs.Generally speaking, there's nothing wrong with kabobs, it's just that it wasn't what I was expecting.  He got this idea and wanted to try it out, and that's the sometimes weird but often wonderful thing about my dad.  He and my mother live in the small town where I grew up, and I sometimes used to joke that it was a town that almost forcibly resists culture.  But sometimes major trends and fads make it all the way to our little corner of the state, and people like my dad find out about them.  Five years after I tried my first mojito, he heard about the drink and decided he'd like to try one.  He grew his own mint for the mojitos, and the thing you should know is that my father is a much better gardener than he is a bartender.  We had an abundance of mint, and the result was that he became very generous with it in order to prevent waste.  The first time he handed me a glass, I stared at the veritable forest floating amidst the liquid ingredients."Next, time, I don't want a salad at the bottom of my drink," I teased him.When the mint started to overrun the place, he put it in the iced tea as well, and insisted on calling it "mohi-tea."  Because while he is often a really, truly funny man, my father sometimes cannot resist the siren call of a cheesy joke.I like the fact that my father is curious and willing to try new things.  Sure, I wasn't thrilled when he commandeered a bottle of my wine to try his hand at French cooking, and we have actually had an argument about what truly makes a sandwich a panini, but generally I think it's an admirable quality.  It's one that I think I've inherited in small ways--I prefer to sample pop culture more than food, but I can be persuaded to try a new drink now and again.  The kabobs were good, even the slices of grilled pineapple that I pooh-poohed early on turned out to be delicious, and I was glad Dad decided to try something different.  I did have hot dogs for dinner, though.  You know, just to be patriotic and all.
    • May 25, 2009
  • Out With The Old? Not So Fast

    I am off today, and I am sitting at home in what, sadly, might be my favorite pair of jeans.  I say "sadly" because after close to five years of denim-y good times, they need to be retired.  They were a gift from someone who couldn't wear them for some reason, but they fit me perfectly.
    • May 22, 2009
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation