On Saturday, we awoke excited and ready to continue our leisurely weekend with a very rare day off for both of us. Wanting to take advantage of having some free time in Monroe, we decided to check out the Gumbo Festival at the RiverMarket downtown. The weather was not promising with gloomy, overcast, and misty skies, but we ventured out anyway in hopes of scoring some yummy seafood gumbo. Of course, being the "Authentic Cajun" that I am, I was a bit skeptical of the promise of delicious gumbo in north Louisiana.
Once we arrived, my concerns were confirmed - not only was the RiverMarket practically deserted compared to its usually sidewalk-lined vendor booths, but in fact there were only four (?!) vendors selling gumbo. (Truly, I think there were only three, but Alex swears there were four so I'll go with it.). What the.....?
After standing in line for a minute, I looked at Alex and asked if he really wanted that gumbo. I mean, what were the chances the stuff would actually be decent? We had hibachi leftovers sitting in the fridge at home, and knew we would be out for dinner again that night. Needless to say, it didn't take long for us to rethink the gumbo idea, and instead retreated to the car after making a quick walk through of the craft booths. North Louisiana, you should be ashamed of yourself!
That evening, we coordinated dinner/drinks at a local sports bar (Fieldhouse Bar & Grill) with a group of Alex's coworkers. Per usual, fewer showed up than committed earlier in the week, but we went with it. Everyone decided to participate in the weekly college football promotion, where patrons purchase a Game Day Mug filled with your choice of draft beer for $5. With this purchase, patrons select a college football team to cheer for, and each time that team scores a touchdown, the patron receives a free refill or top-off of their beer. Sounds like a good deal, right? Oh but it only gets better...
|Happy Birthday, Alex! Yuuuum!|
To really "get it," you have to understand that this group of guys does sports for a living. I mean, they are professionals, people. Knowing Baylor has consistently put up 70 points on most teams, and realizing the team they played this week (Texas Tech) had little to no chance at stopping them, the boys all chose to root for Baylor with their mugs. I let Alex pick my team, and since I was the designated driver, he chose Texas Tech thinking I might get one or two refills out of the deal (which is all I really wanted anyway). And still, going the mug route meant paying less in the long run than getting a second or third beer over the course of the night.
Ironically enough, Texas Tech scored the first touchdown of the game, and two after that before Baylor even made it on the scoreboard. The boys were wailing and wriggling in their seats, starting to worry about their choice (not only for their dry cups, but for the driver sitting across the table). I couldn't (and wouldn't) drink three beers in such a short time frame, so I did end up sharing with everyone anyway.
As the night wore on, Baylor found their groove and the Bears put a good beating down on TT. At one point, the boys filled an overflow cup (formerly used for water) with their excess beers in order to receive their free refills and not waste what they already had. This "community cup" was later passed onto another coworker who arrived late from working the volleyball game that evening.
|The bartender told Alex his cup had a hole in it; hence the second layer.|
The final score was 63-35 (Baylor), which meant that for just $10, Alex and I "earned" 14 beers between the two of us. Seriously - you can't beat that! (No, I didn't drink 6 beers.) We also played skeeball and darts during halftime, which made for some fun entertainment. A couple of other coworkers happened to be there that evening, and one even bought Alex two shots towards the end of it all.
|Me: "Show me the football move."|
Going into the night, I didn't really know any of the guys very well, but they welcomed me with open arms and I didn't feel awkward, comfortable, or bored as I expected. For the first time since we moved here I almost felt like we had an actual group of friends. It was so strange but refreshing. Looking back, I still say I need some girlfriends around here, but the guys were nice enough and maybe there is some potential after all...
It's a start.