Grange reminded me of an awesome moment at the living farm.
While the old dude was wooing Mary and showing her all the charm of farm life, we came upon this fence enclosure. Answering the unasked question, he said, “We have a problem with coons.”
He looks at me and adds “oh, I mean raccoons.”
But I know he’s not racist because not ten minutes earlier he was explaining how they brought some kids out here from Harlem. “They didn’t know what to do with themselves!” Which is understandable because “New York is a great place to be from…far away from!” Again, true story.
And that’s Iowa.
I do not remember a single thing about the 3 hour trip from Des Moines to Kansas City. I do know the murder hotel ended its complimentary breakfast at some absurdly early hour, like 11 am, so I had to go to breakfast in my pajamas.
Then there was an awful dog movie with Luke Wilson and Janeane Garofalo on TV. And then… nothing.
Next I remember, we were pulling into the North Kansas City Harrah’s. I blame it on the alcohol.
Mary got a great nightly rate at the Kansas City hotel because it was another Harrah’s property. Even though I’m the diamond card holder, I get no deals because of all the racism. I played poker while we waited for Jason, our Kansas City host, to come pick us up. It did not end well for me. Stupid poker.
Jason came around 4 to take us to barbecue. I told him that after Jethro’s in Des Moines, the bar was set very high. He said he’d take us to his favorite place. As we walked in, he warned us that the staff was…um…enthusiastic.
We hadn’t quite cleared the doorway when the woman behind the counter suddenly screamed:
“WELCOME! WHAT CAN WE GET FOR YOU?!”
Um. A paramedic, I think I’m having a heart attack AND I can’t hear anymore.
Jason laughed. “Don’t be scared.”
Easy for you to say. The mean black lady didn’t yell at you!
Except she did. Same thing: “WELCOME! WHAT CAN WE GET FOR YOU?!”
But he was ready.
Mary caught on too. I stumbled through something about a half rack of end pieces…or maybe they were middle pieces…it was some weird distinction, but I was too afraid to ask.
No! I did ask! And the woman goes: ONE’S THE END PIECES AND THE OTHER ONE’S THE MIDDLE PIECES.”
Oh. Got it. Then…
“HALF RACK OF ENDS.”
Done with me, she shouted on to the next customer. “WELCOME! WHAT CAN WE GET FOR YOU?” It was hard to tell if yelling at customers had caused the hearing loss, or if it was a pre-existing condition.
The last time I’d seen Jason was a few years ago when he and his wife had come to visit New York.
“Hey, where is your better half?”
“Oh, she and her friend have a concert in Kansas.”
“Ooh, are we gonna go?”
He stopped mid swallow of his beer and I could see his evening of vegging in front of the TV drain from his face.
“Yay! Hooray! Now I can check off Kansas too! What a rip that Kansas City is in Missouri,” I said fully committing to hijacking Jason’s night alone.
I’m awesome, have I mentioned that recently? No, really. I’m terrific. You should way invite me to come hang out.
We finished up dinner, swung by his huge ass mansion with jacuzzi and 90 acres of backyard space, and then headed out to Kansas. (Jason has two dogs, so he gave us the outside tour of his house because someone is afraid of dogs. But the door to the backyard is glass, so the dogs could see us out there and they were barking and running around, but after a while they realized he wasn’t coming in, so they were like #RUDE and stormed off. Ha! Not eating MY face today, doggies. No Sir!)
I wanted to showoff my fancy Droid GPS, but he pretty much asked for assistance at the last possible moment.
I input the address, hit the navigate button and then he goes “Oh, there it is!”
Refusing to be outdone, I quickly said “Droid says we’re here!” I could totally tell how impressed he was.
The concert was at a small restaurant. We walked to the back and his wife was playing the keyboard and singing backup vocals while her friend sang lead. Her parents were there and Jason introduced us. Her family is pretty hilarious and said the last time they were in New York, Jason led them to a bar in a sketchy neighborhood. I protested that New York does not have any such thing.
Her sister joined us a few minutes later, having just returned from dropping her dogs off at the kennel. Her dad goes “Oh no! Don’t make eye contact or ask any follow up questions or she will be talking about those damn dogs for the rest of the night!”
My kind of guy!
And the concert was GREAT! They sang some original songs, but then did covers of like the Beatles and Billy Joel.
I totally made up for dragging him out to Kansas when he got to dodge roadie clean up duty because he had to drive us back to the casino.
The rest of the night was spent in this fashion…
St. Louis was INEXPLICABLY FIVE HOURS AWAY, (Jeezaloo, Missouri, really? You really need to be THAT BIG???) so we had another early morning ahead of us.