Minutes of a Road Trip
After rushing home from work, I had just fed and ran the dog, did a quick security check on exits and entrances, picked out a coat (not too heavy, not too light), grabbed a few Halloween Bash invitations for the boys and went upstairs to grab some of my cash. I left the front door open in case John arrived – looking up the drive – there was no sign of John.
I ran upstairs for like 30 seconds grabbed a portion of my hard earned sheckles and then headed back down the stairs. I no sooner got to the bottom, where my stairway and front door intersects, to see John’s head suddenly pop through the doorway – like inches from my own face.
“Oh CRAP” I gasped in an adrenaline-soaked tone desperately trying to contain my fight or flight reflex.
It was like the guy with heart issues was trying to make the point that we’re all potentially inches from death. In retrospect this seems totally appropriate since it’s Halloween; I can dig it.
So next thing you know there are 5 Canter Lane guys packed into a car that seats comfortably 4 and a half careening down the road to St Paul. We’re off to see 8 man football in a rodeo stadium. Let me say that again because it sounds epoch… 8 man football in a rodeo stadium. There is no further explanation that can be offered; as the only old guy still working out of the bunch who am I to judge? But, as a point of clarification, even though we had a quorum we did not bother to appoint a safety coordinator for the trip. How’s that for reliving our youth? That’s how we roll on Canter Lane…
We pulled into St Paul to find the one traffic light in perfect working order. Parking oddly was not an issue. The line for admission was long for an event like this (probably because they weren’t expecting 5 old guys from Newberg showing up at random). They sold each of us a ticket to the game for $5 and we proceeded to walk 5 feet and exchange that ticket for a big red stamp on our hands. There were a couple of things I noticed about this process; the first thing is why give us a ticket when they could stamp our hand from the get-go?; the second thing was that the ink was just barely red enough to stand out from our liver spots (just sayin’).
We found a safe location in the stands for the Canter Lane Peanut Gallery just out of earshot from the locals (even though we had no safety coordinator we’re not old because we’re stupid… lucky maybe, but not stupid). The football field was beautiful considering only months before it was nothing but hoof scared dirt and livestock fecal deposits. This evening’s match was between the St Paul Buckaroos and the Siletz Warriors. The PA system designed for a crowd of thousands at one of the most notable rodeos in the state cranked out ear-splitting tunes from the 70’s. It was nice to know that somebody our age was living out his retirement dream as a Sound God; we love rock ‘n roll, getting our motors running because we are the champions baby (There was a brief nod to today’s country music rap music but after 30 seconds it faded into a rousing Inagodadavida… Ok, that’s not entirely true but go with it.) We all stood for the national anthem and nearly hurt our necks trying to decide if we should be looking reverently at the humongous American flag in the distance or the little American flag held by pretty young ladies on horseback trotting a lap around the field. There we were, our heads were bobbing in perfect unison to the horse’s gate. People shouldn’t judge, we live on Canter lane.
Before long, Steve was going through all the player stats in the program; because that’s what he does; he’s our numbers guy. Within seconds we were up to speed on the sophisticated aspects of 8 man football including the win/loss record of each team, the multi-role individuals who play offense and defense, the weight of the paper used for the program and… did you know, because I didn’t know, that a tattoo can add 20 lbs to a player’s weight? – What the hell.
So the game started off with the Warriors kicking an on-sides kick in an effort to get early control of the ball; the 8 man football gods were not with the Warriors this night; a play later the Bucks scored a touchdown. Even though there were almost 30 players on the Bucks it seemed like the same 4 players were racking up touchdowns, intercepting passes, racking up touchdowns, picking up fumbles, racking up touchdowns, and just zipping around and racking up touchdowns. The Warriors kept trying to run up the middle. By halftime, the score was 57 to zip and we were wondering if the Tack Room was open. I had never heard of the St Paul Tack Room… Apparently, it’s a bar and I am going to have to continue to hear about it because on this night it was not open. Apparently, alcohol and high school football require a distance… it was a senior moment.
Discovering that the Tack Room was closed I pointed across the street to a place that was lit up like a holiday festival. “That’s got to be a pub!” I said. After walking in zig-zag fashion, like flies drawn to a zapper for several hundred feet, we realized it was the only house in St Paul that celebrates Halloween in proper fashion. It was impressive but it was NOT a pub. We were forced to drive the entire town of St Paul to find the Rodeo Inn; It took like a minute; it was not lit up at all. But I guess you don’t need lights if you’re the only pub in town, next to the only gas station in town, and you have beer. We sauntered into the bar, past the pool table, trying to look cool and not draw attention. “What’s the score?” came a loud yell from the back. Bill shouted the score “57 to nothing”…. “Who’s winning?” came another shout. “Guess!” shouts Bill. I looked toward the back wondering if Bill’s reply registered on somebody’s “smartass monitor”. Let me be clear, as much as I like Bill and the other guys, I am not afraid of running if the need arises. It was only after my nerves calmed that John asked: “How did he know we were at the game?” Apparently, even from a distance, in a dimly lit room, this guy’s alcohol-impaired eyes could tell red stamps from liver spots on our hands. Not someone we should mess with.
Next thing you know the nice lady from the bar walks up and kneels down at the table. There was apparently no risk of the national anthem being played at any second. We ask her if she has a list of the long row of beer taps behind the bar. She pressed into the table, smiled and said “I am your list darlin'” To which we said “Go”
“To the far left we have Ciders, Angry Orchard and the like, then we have some IPA’s, Worthy if you are worthy, and then some pilsners, a porter and then Bud Lite and cheap ass PBR.”… We liked her right away.
So we order some various beers… with fries of course.
The discussion was semi-lively. Bill kept trying to find the score of the Bucks, Warriors game on his phone. Pete explained that his wife was gone on a trip for like a week and the night she comes home he is at an 8 man football game in a rodeo stadium; Pete’s our hero. Steve started telling a story about tasting scotch in Scotland, which to be honest is one of my favorite topics, but Steve was at the other end of the table from me, and just as he was getting into to it, the Internet Jukebox behind me started playing “Cover of the Rolling Stone” by Dr Hook.
So this is what I heard… “…so you go into any little bar in Scotland with… big rock singers… and you order… big gold fingers… and each has a story and they’re not a lot of money… at ten thousand dollars a show. They are very peaty, and they serve them neaty by… a freaky ole lady named a cocaine Katy… that would fit in a glass… ON THE COVER OF THE ROLLING STONE.”
You just can’t buy entertainment like that.
Right on cue the nice beer list lady walked up and asked… “Well boys, are you up for another?” A deer in the headlights look was traded back and forth as devils and angels appeared on our shoulders. Then suddenly John knocked his angel right off his left shoulder and proceeded to repeat after the devil on his right shoulder. “Hell, let’s have another, right Blanch?” Bill got a big ol’ smile and piped right up… “Yea Shay, I could do another round”. With that, all the boys jumped on the opportunity to order another beer while our poor shoulder angels were smacking against the internet jukebox in drowned out thuds.
After arguing that the tip was too large we finally realized we were too lazy to wait for change to break our $10 into $9 each. Sometimes math is a heartless bitch but we overcame it with an honest to goodness apathy… besides, we liked her.
John dropped each of us at our perspective dwellings on Canter Lane… “Here we are Pete, safe and sound. Would you like a coconut water?” Around the corner, we zipped and down Bills long drive… “Here we are Blanch. Wow, you got a lot of cars… Coconut water?. A quick zip over to Steve’s… “Good night Steve. How much did that quarterback weigh? … never mind… have a coconut water?” And then down the drive to my house… “Good night db – don’t be writing anything clever about us… Coconut water?”
It was a short crooked walk home.
Blanch emailed the final score: 71 Bucks, 6 Warriors
Submitted on this day: 10/12ish, 13ish/2018
db: Scribe of Questionable Honor