Thursday, May 20, 2010

Your Whitehouse Correspondent

Do you remember that episode of Star Trek-Next Generation when the android “Data” was summoned to his home?  His creator had inserted some circuitry that would make him drop everything and return, at all costs?

That’s kind of what happens to me every summer.  Sometimes I go in May, other times in July, but once a year, I just have to go back.  I leave the modern conveniences and high-energy life of the city…

…for the rustic environs of Whitehouse Ohio.  (Population WTF?)

See that picture?  That was downtown Whitehouse on the afternoon I arrived last year.  It was so funny because we drove up the bar eatery in town, hopped out of the car, and there was just NOTHING.  No cars moving… no people walking… just nothing.  Welcome home Bluz!  I might have even seen a tumbleweed.
 Same shot, other direction.

OK, technically, Whitehouse wasn’t home, but it’s where my buddy lives, with whom I’ll be staying.  My other buddy lives in the thriving metropolis of Waterville.  I consider Waterville the thriving metropolis because it has TWO bars and a Little Caesar’s. (oops... Little Caesar's is gone.)

My old town was smaller than either of those, unless you count acres of open fields.  The Monclova “business district” consisted of an elementary school, a gas station, the post office and a flashing yellow light.

Our primary activity while I’m visiting is standing around John’s garage (aka The Dad-Cave) drinking beer and shooting the shit like you see in the opening credits of King of the Hill.

Grilling is the other pastime.  John is a real Grillmaster.  I talked to him last week and learned that he has a new grill and has thus far planned to grill a brisket, a pork loin, chicken quarters and steaks.  There may also be various potatoes or vegetables involved, which I consider merely diversionary.  The more others fill up on veggies, the more meat for me.

The nights out there are incredibly quiet.  Away from the glare of the city lights, I can reacquaint myself with the stars.  That picture at the top of the post?  That’s right across the street from where John lives.  It’s all just so peaceful.

We have tickets for Friday night to go see the world famous Toledo Mudhens. 
Toledo’s most famous export, besides Tony Packo’s hot dogs.

Naturally, the only time rain is in the forecast is Friday and Saturday night.  But we didn’t have any choice on the game… Friday night is the only time the Hens will be in town while I’m there.

One of the things I love about going back home is the bar prices, especially in comparison to Baltimore. 

For example, when John picks me up at Detroit’s airport (flying Southwest to Detroit is about half the price of flying directly into Toledo) we head straight back to a local bar back in Waterville or Whitehouse.  John’s dad usually joins us, as does Rik.  We’ll each get lunch, along with 2 or 3 beers apiece.  The bill comes to like $25-$30.   I just cackle like a fiend and grab it.  In Baltimore, lunch for 2 in my customary downtown bar, with NO drinks, costs about the same.  Going home lets me be all Big Spender!

Domestic bottled beers are usually around $1.50, all the time.  Dinner specials are great too… all you can eat fish, 25-cent tacos, $5.00 hamburger and fries (for a burger the size of your head)… if we’re not grilling out, we’re eating a bar somewhere.

At least once while I’m there, we try to do a little pond fishing.  (With permission, not like the time in this story.)  Last year, we caught a few nice bass, but mostly pulled out nothing but small bluegills, so we just caught and released. 

Another activity will be holding the Whitehouse Cornhole Championships.  Now before you get your eyebrows all raised, by “cornhole”, I’m referring to the beanbag-toss game, as opposed to anything else that may have happened in the movie “Deliverance.”

I’d never heard of this game until about 5 years ago, when I visited my sister in Cincinnati and this game was all the rage.  The name comes from how they stuff the tossing bags with dried corn, and try to throw it through a hole in a board from 30 feet away.  It’s like horseshoes, without the chance for serious injury.  We love playing Cornhole, mostly because you can play it with a beer in your hand.
John, throwing some Cornhole, while Bluz Sister awaits her turn.  OK, so the beers weren't in hand, but they were close by.

Now, you can see people playing Cornhole in stadium parking lots all over the country, and even order your own equipment in football team colors.

Speaking of Cincinnati, we may try to take a road trip to visit my aforementioned sister, to take part in the Intra-State Cornhole World Series.  Two years ago, my sister and I destroyed Rik and my brother-in-law something like 10 games to 1.  It was brutal, especially the way my sister rubbed it in on Rik.  Losing to her (and me) at anything bothers him down to a molecular level.

So yeah, I’m really looking forward to this year’s trip.  Now about the blogging…

I had this blog last year when I went out there, but what I didn’t have were readers, so I didn’t have to worry about posting.  This year I’m going to try to post some updates and pics and stuff from my buddy’s computer.  He has a Mac, so that should automatically make my posts more hip, dazzling and graphically pleasing, providing I can work the damned thing.  There’s a lot of “down time” out there, like mornings before it’s time to start drinking.  Anyway, I’ll make it up as I go.

As if I haven’t been doing that all along…


Cher Duncombe said...

For a moment, bluz, I thought I was looking at photos from "Back to the Future"! Anyway, small towns re nice to visit, especially when you know it's only a visit. And small-town bars are the most fun. Everyone there knows everyone else and soon you are part of the group, at least after the second beer.

Video was great and very retro!

bluzdude said...

The only problem with the small town bars is that everyone is in each other's business. There are no secrets, especially the ones you'd like kept.

I was trying to find the actual music video, and I did, but it had the "embed" function disabled.

Cassie said...

Oooh! Have fun! Small towns are the best. Just like Cher said, it's great when you know you're not staying...

bluzdude said...

Thanks, Cassie.
Sometimes I think I'd like to just move back. Then I read some of the letter to the editor. Or listen to some of the people in the bars.

Then I'm glad to come back to civilization.

Bachelor Girl said...

Have a fantastic time, Bluz. You deserve it.

But make sure you have some hilarious adventures you can share with us, OK?

bluzdude said...

Bachelor Girl,
Thanks, I'll certainly try.

The thing about having a blog is that I look at everything that happens to me as possible material for a posting. I'm going to do my best to throw out some brief updates in case, you know, anyone actually gives a shit what we're grilling that day...

Heading to the airport in about a half hour. I'm hoping for a boring, uneventful flight.

stilladog said...

I'll be looking for photos of what comes off that new grill! A pork loin smothered in garlic and herbs works real good on the grill (as I wipe the dripping saliva from my chin). Maybe you can dazzle your buddy with some new grilling tips you've learned over at the Slant?

I don't think I could drink enough beer to "play Cornhole" with anybody!!

There's another game you could play in small midwestern towns. It's called Move The Car. That is, if the places you're going are anything like the small town of Le Center, MN, where my cousin and I played this game. The local bar patrons are so trusting (heck they know everybody) they leave the car unlocked, keys in the ignition, parked out in the street. My cousin and I would jump into a random car, fire it up, move it a block down the street or across to the other side of the street. Then go into the bar. Funny to watch the drunken patrons at 1:00am scratching their heads looking for where they parked their cars. Just a suggestion.

DG said...

Sounds like a wonderful and relaxing trip. Hope you have a blast.

"like mornings before it’s time to start drinking." You're on VACATION for crying out loud! It's 5:00 somewhere. :-)

bluzdude said...

I will be sure to provide full grill updates.

I don't think they're quite that trusting with their cars, around here. I like the game though. Must be wild to see the drunks thinking they're drunker than they thought they were.

I need SOME time to recover a bit...

Miley said...

I hope you have fun in that country town!
When you get back, check out the award I gave you :)

bluzdude said...

Thank you, Woman. I'm sorry it took me so long to find this comment.

Hey everybody! Go check out Woman:confused. (click her name above.) It's good stuff!