Thursday, October 16, 2008

Holding Down the Fort (Ligonier)

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

I have to admit, my blogging has been lacking lately. For starters, I haven’t had much spare time at work to type up stories (I may be the last man on earth who doesn’t have a home computer). But even when I have had the rare moment to put anecdote to page, I’ve been light on material—despite having gone to two alcohol-soaked weddings in the last two weeks. I think my friends may be getting wiser as to what they say and do around me, for fear that the whole world will find out their embarrassing exploits—such as passing out on a bathroom floor.

How, then, can your favorite blogger find inspiration to break him out of his slump? Three words: Fort Ligonier Days.

Ligonier, PA is typical small-mountain-town-America. And every year they celebrate the battle that took place there during the French and Indian War. This meant that Saturday night the streets and bars were packed with people, including battle re-enactors in full costume. It’s not every day that you can see someone dressed like George Washington carrying two pitchers of Yuengling away from a bar. So that’s what it was like to live in 1758.

Dupa (who was born and raised in Ligonier) and I spent Saturday night at Joe’s Bar, an area landmark. It’s owned by the family of Dupa’s best friend, who I like to call “The Prince of Ligonier”: his mother is a district judge, and his late grandfather Joe (founder of the eponymous bar) is a local hero and icon. The Prince was bartending that weekend, to help with the heightened customer flow, which made Dupa and I distinguished guests of the Court. Red Bull & vodkas on the double, peasants!

Of course, after about my fifth one, I felt the standard in-body defibrillation moment that comes with downing inordinate amounts of this concoction. “Okay,” I said to The Prince matter-of-factly. “Time to switch to vodka tonics.”

The Prince’s mom was in attendance for a good while, on hand to ensure that no underage drinkers managed to get through the door [Note: Joe’s does not employ an official bouncer at the door; my take on this is that it is the nightlife equivalent to the cliché small town trait of residents not having to lock their front doors]. And she was enjoying her job: for hours she darted through the establishment like a 5’3” ninja, popping up in front of a random teenager here and there who had nervously attempted the adventure of hanging out at a bar. The highlight of her night, she said, was catching one girl—who apparently was trying to cope with the limited seating—sitting inside of the large glass door cooler that typically holds six packs for sale.

Around 11 pm a group of drummers—in full colonial garb—marched into the bar to a drummed cadence, past inebriated cougars getting hit on by guys in their mid 20s, slores waving cigarettes and spilling beer, a pool table, and the door of the men’s room. It was…surreal. They marched into the back of the bar, where displays of Joe’s Bar’s famed animal collection surround you (the rest of the re-enactors had been back there drinking all night). Dupa and I decided to get our pictures taken with them. Some of them found the image of a 6’6” brother posed amongst them amusing, and decided to add to it by putting one of their triangular hats on my head, and giving me one of their jackets to wear. Fort Ligonier pimpin, baby.

Also in attendance was one guy dressed as…Captain Jack Sparrow? Granted, it’s been quite a few years since my last American history class, but I’m having trouble remembering his involvement in the French and Indian War. A part of me wondered if he had just been driving back from an early Halloween party in the next town, saw all of the re-enactors, and decided to hit up another costume party.

The highlight of the night, though, came an hour or so later. I met an attractive young woman of considerable intelligence while standing at the bar. We made small talk for 15 or 20 minutes, exchanging some mutual flirtation. Things seemed to be going swimmingly. And then, during a discussion about politics:

Me: “I really believe Obama is the kind of leader that we need to fix the country.”
Her: “I just don’t feel that way. But my sister is a huge Obama supporter. And so is my fian…*blushes* But it’s not like I would be mad if Obama wins or anything.”
Me: *smiling* “So…You have a fiancé?”
Her: “Uhhh…yeah.”
Me: “Ah. Congratulations.”
Her: “Thanks. It’s still kind of new.”
Me: “You weren’t together long before you got engaged?”
Her: *blushing again* “Umm. Like ten years.”

Now, I’m no saint. Anyone who’s read any of my stories that have appeared on this page knows that. But I would like to think that if I had dated someone for 10 years, and then gotten engaged to them, that I wouldn’t be actively flirting with a stranger at a bar. (Unless it was an open relationship, which would just be awesome. I need a Trina Decker in my life. But I digress…) Miss Monogamy left for another bar a few minutes later with her friends, and suggested that Dupa and I meet them. Needless to say, we closed down Joe’s instead.

    Dear karma,
    Years from now, when I’m engaged and my beautiful fiancée is out of town with her friends…please remember the night of Saturday, October 11, 2008. Thanks.
    The D.E.F.I.

1 comment:

Wonderland Baby said...

LOL @ I’m no saint.

And I hate to see what my Dear Karma, letter would look like. It would probably be novel sized and in paperback form including not only those things that I have done, but those that have been done to me. Might go something like...

Dear Karma,

Remember that time that... Well then why the hell did THIS happen to me? LOL.

Great read. =)