Stacy & DJ’s Wedding

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I went to my nephew DJ’s wedding last week, and I was in trouble soon after I checked into the hotel. My brother and his wife asked me for 2 conflicting favors.

For some strange reason, my sister-in-law was worried that I would get drunk at her son’s wedding and do something that would embarrass her. So she asked me to stay sober, or at least not get drunk.

Brother X wasn’t worried about me getting drunk. He was worried about the rest of the wedding guests being sober. There were several hours in between the 3 p.m. wedding and the 7 p.m. reception with no activities planned for the 20 rooms of out-of-town guests who were staying at the hotel. He told them that he would buy everyone drinks at the hotel bar, but the photographer said he would need him during those hours for pictures. So he turned to me and asked me if I would pinch hit for him at the bar. He gave me cash to cover the bar tab.

“No man can serve two masters.” I read that somewhere. I think it was in the Constitution. So I had to decide which conflicting favor I would do. It was a big decision. However, Bro Code is quite clear about where my loyalties should lie. Plus, Brother X was buying the drinks. So it turned out to be an easy decision. I would be at the bar for 3 hours buying drinks. I’m sure that Mrs. X would understand about Bro Code if I should get drunk.

But before the bar opened, there was the all-important wedding ceremony in Seaford, NY. Yes, I was going to walk into a church. No, I was not worried about being hit by lightning or the walls crumbling. I’ve figured it out that your God gives me a Mulligan when I’m in church watching someone get hatched, matched, or dispatched. It looked like He was even giving me some gambling advice. There was a big bulletin board in the front of the Church with numbers on it: 409, 532, 235, 448, and 557. I can recognize lucky lotto numbers when I see them, so I memorized them in case I should bump into a lotto machine during the weekend.

The wedding service followed the same general theme as all weddings, with one exception. When the pastor referred to DJ as Donald, it was probably the first time any of his friends had heard his real first name. After the service, his friends were outside the church chanting Donald…Donald…Donald. I was busy racing back to the hotel to perform my civic duties. By the time I got to the bar there was a thirsty throng of people impatiently waiting for their free drinks.

I chatted with Jennifer, the barmaid, and told her that I was covering the bar tab for everyone but the guy who was sitting in the corner getting hammered on Long Island Iced Teas. He was obviously a local, not a wedding guest.

The crowd began screaming out their drink orders.

“Johnny Walker Blue, straight up,” Fred said.

Johnny Walker Blue is about $75 a shot in a bar.

“He’s cut off,” I said to Jennifer. “I’ll have a pint of Coors Light.”

“Hey, when I’m home I usually drink Johnny Walker Blue,” Fred complained.

“Okay, I said. “Go home and have one. I’ll see you at the reception.”

“Okay, Okay. Johnny Walker Red straight up.”

“Okay,” I said to Jennifer. “Give him his drink.”

“What about your wife. What’s she drinking?”

“Johnny Walker Blue, straight up.”

“You’re cut off, again.”

“Okay, a Scotch Old Fashioned.”

“Okay,” I said to Jennifer. “Let him have his drink, but please draw my beer first.” I knew from the Bartender’s course I took last year, that it would take quite a while for her to remember and gather all the ingredients for a Scotch Old Fashioned.

She gave me my beer and I watched her build the complicated drink as the crowd of thirsty wedding goers grew anxious and thirstier.

To make an Old Fashioned you take a short glass, add a Maraschino Cherry, an orange slice, ½ tsp. sugar, and 4-5 dashes of Angostura Bitters. Then you muddle all that together with a muddle stick. Then you fill the glass with ice, add two ounces of whatever whiskey you’re using, add a splash of soda water, and stir.

When, after about 5 minutes, she was all finished making the drink, Fred took it and said, “Her sister will have a Scotch Old Fashioned, too.”

The people in line were already so dry-mouthed that they were spitting cotton, but again they had to wait while another exotic drink was built.

“Why didn’t you just tell her two Old Fashioneds when you ordered the first one?”

“You only asked what my wife was drinking,” he gloated.

If there was a horn busting contest going on, Fred was winning.

I turned to see what was on TV, while Jennifer, mix, poured, and muddled her way through all the drink orders. It was a golf match. I think watching golf is boring. I don’t understand what people see in golf, the same way they don’t understand what I see in Harness Racing.

“Please change the channel.”

“What do you want?”

“Anything but golf.”

She grabbed the clicker and started clicking. When she got to a channel showing horse races I yelled for her to stop.

Everyone complained, and Jennifer asked me if I wanted her to keep clicking.

“No. Leave it there.”

The TV Announcer was introducing the horses for the next race, and my Aunt Jane liked one of the names.

“Okay,” I said. “Put up a buck and I’ll put a buck on number 7. If your horse finishes in front of mine, you win.”

She won.

We bet again, and this time my cousins Debbie and Linda put in a buck too. A few minutes earlier, they were all complaining about watching Horse Racing. Now, half the bar was screaming encouragements to the jockeys on their horses. We almost missed the shuttle to the reception.

Naturally, I don’t remember too much from the reception, but I know I had a great time.

When I got on the train back to Lancaster, I remembered that I hadn’t played the Lotto numbers from the church. So I connected with the Amtrak Wifi and went looking to see if any of God’s numbers had come in. None of them did, but the Devil had a winner on Sunday. The NY lotto number was 666.

Congratulations to Stacy & DJ.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

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They Call Me The Wanderer

Oh, I’m the type of guy who will never settle down.

Where pretty girls are, well you know that I’m around…

-Dion DiMucci

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I haven’t written in a while and you probably think I haven’t been doing much. Quite the opposite. I’ve been busy – very busy. I’ve been on a long road trip.

First stop was Philadelphia. I’ve passed through Philly Station dozens of times since I moved to Lancaster, but last week, I finally got off the train there and took a look around.

I was headed to Meg’s Birthday Party. I met Meg in an acting class at the Fulton Theatre. She works as a barmaid in Philly, so when she invited me to her 20-something Birthday Party, I knew the party would be worth a road trip.

The fun started at The Monkey Bar, where she works. When I got there the bartender saw me with a present in my hand.

“We’re holding all the presents behind the bar,” he said, while pointing to the stack of presents behind the bar.

I handed mine to him, and he got me a drink.

“How much?” I asked.

“No charge for people in the party.”

“Cool,” I said.  “People in the party.  Hot Hot Hot,” I thought.

I’m not sure how many beers I had or how many people I talked to before I realized that this wasn’t Meg’s birthday party. The sign saying, “Congratulations on your Graduation” should have been a big tipoff, but maybe my thinking was clouded by the free beers.  It’s been known to happen in the past.

When I realized that I was at the wrong party, I offered to pay for my drinks, but the bartender just laughed it off. I told him I was a friend of Meg’s and he told me that Meg’s party was moved to O’Neal’s Pub on South Street, and handed me back my present.

I called Meg and let her know I was on my way.

Remember that old song, “Where do all the hippies meet. South Street…South Street”?

Well, I had always wondered why they wrote a song about hippies meeting at the South Street Seaport. Now I know that they wrote it about South Street, Philadelphia. It was jumping. There were bars everywhere and they were all packed with people having a great time.

I found Meg and she introduced me to her friends. Then Karaoke started. Well, I used to be quite the regular at Karaoke in New York, so I let them “twist my arm” into singing a song. The songbook didn’t cater to old fogies, though. I couldn’t find Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry, or The Wanderer by Dion. Those were my songs back in the day. I also used to sing a little Garth Brooks, but this wasn’t a country crowd so I didn’t even try to find Friends in Low Places in the playbook.

Fortunately, the birthday girl rescued me and together we sang Sonny & Cher’s I Got You Babe. “They say we’re young, and we don’t know. Won’t find out until we grow.”  Yeah, that’s me – young and foolish.

Next stop on my tour was Twin Lakes Connecticut for a reunion with my dance partners from many years of L.A.M. dances for charity. (L.A.M is a lung disease that kills young women.) Marianne, Geralyn, Maria, and I were usually the first ones on and the last ones off the dance floor at the annual benefit. Brian, who organized the first 5 fundraisers, joined us. His wife Dawn was a victim of the disease and we played Dancing Queen in her honor.

We stayed indoors and drank a toast to everyone we could think of while a brief rain shower passed by.  (It poured.)  Then, when the clouds went away we hopped on Geralyn’s pontoon boat at took a booze cruise around the lake. Ooo ee oo ee baby. Won’t you let me take you on a (booze) cruise…”  We were all singing and dancing, and the next thing I remember…well, it was when we were going to breakfast.

Next stop I went to Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn with Marianne – Farrell’s Bar & Grill. The Theatre Group at The Cell is going to put on a play in September that uses Farrell’s as the setting.  Stoopdreamer.  So, they were on an exploratory mission, and I was only trying to keep my buzz going.

Farrell’s Bar and Grill doesn’t actually have a grill, I don’t think. If they do, it hasn’t been used since 1944, and then only for 2 weeks. However, they’re surrounded by food places, and you can bring food in and enjoy it with one of their famous 32 ounce Budweisers. I got a pastrami sandwich across the street that may have been the best pastrami sandwich I ever had. Pastrami, bacon, and Swiss on a sesame bagel. It almost clogs my stents just to say it.  I also learned that until recently there weren’t any barstools in the place.  If you couldn’t stand it was time for you to go home.

Then I went home for a few days to recharge my batteries – Literally. Cell phones, laptops, and all that stuff need TLC. Then, I ventured back to Long Island to take my ex-wife Ginny out for her birthday. After all these years we’re still friends, but our lawyers still aren’t speaking to one another.

The next day I took the train to Hicksville and my friend Linda treated me to an early birthday lunch at Eleanor Rigby’s in Mineola. Linda and I met at Karaoke many many years ago. She does the best version of the Clarence Carter song, Strokin’. That used to kill them at Ziegfield’s and at The Knights of Columbus Karaoke. We were regulars back then, and knew all the songs. Nowadays I look through the songbook and I can’t find one I know.

I’m sure I’ll get a chance to sing at the next event, though. My nephew DJ (aka Nephew X) is getting married on Friday and I’m heading to New York for the wedding. The out-of-town attendees will be staying at the Hilton Garden Inn in Plainview of Thursday and Friday. I’m not sure if they have karaoke in the hotel bar, but one might break out.

Then I’m going to a delayed Scrabbletonian Party in New Jersey on Saturday with my friends Barbara and Jim. When I lived in New Jersey we used to go to the Hambletonian on the first Saturday in August every year. This year we missed it. The winner was Pinkman.  (Like you didn’t already know that.  LOL)

So, that’s what’s been happening. I’ve been out wandering. Now, I’ve got to run along. I’ve got to pack my bag for another road trip.

Congratulations and Good luck DJ & Stacy

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl