Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rewind: So Jimmy Buffett walks in to a bar

Ahh, the year in rewind. Already? I hope you are all enjoying a great holiday season. I am. And I enjoyed two weeks of time off, family, snowflakes (short and sweet), eating great food, drinking great wine, and watching a few bad movies (Sorry JMac). I am also moving office buildings this week so don't be jealous. I lose interest in packing once I have packed a box that shoes can fit in but it is required chore. So let's do a playback of some of my favorite and most popular posts of this year. Hopefully, they will make you laugh again. This one is one of my all-time favorite family stories. The original post and comments here. Feel free to laugh AT me.


My parents gave me some surprising news my freshman year of college. My Mom and Dad were moving. And not to a house across town either. [Point of clarification: I have two Dads. My Father (retired police officer) and my StepDad who is referred to as SD or Dad.] My Mom and Dad were moving to the great frontier: Alaska. I am sorry...what's that you say? Yes. Alaska. This photo is an aerial view of where they lived. The biggest import /export point on the entire Western Seaboard.
That following summer, I returned to our house in Seattle. By myself. The summer without my parents was not comprised of raging keggers and frolicking in the hot tub either. I missed them and didn't actually enjoy staying in an empty house. Foolish, foolish girl.

So the summer after my sophomore year, I accepted the invitation to brave it in Alaska for three months. My Mom and I literally passed each other in the atmosphere as she flew to Seattle the same day I flew to Alaska. First to Anchorage, and then three more hours on a small plane to the island my parents were living on.

When I arrived, I was shell shocked. Both gorgeous in its beauty and more desolate than anything I had ever seen; the Aleutian Islands are as phenomenal in their topography as they are bleak in their social and cosmopolitan offerings. While I might like all kinds of perfume and pretty clothes, I am also not a priss. Big coats and boots the name of the game? I am in.

My SD picked me up at the airport with very interesting news.  Jimmy Buffett was in town. Jimmy Buffett on this tiny island was like a figurative needle in a very wild haystack. But it was true. He was researching for a book he would later publish titled Where is Joe Merchant? And he was performing that night at one of the rowdiest bars in the United States, The Elbow Room.

We take all my luggage home and after the quickest of turnarounds, we head out for a night on the town. Being all of 18 at this time, I am ballsy at dinner and order a cocktail. I wait to see if my SD is going to put the foot down like I KNOW my Mom would. He does not. I think he is super cool. He is secretly laughing inside because I ordered a White Russian. I will likely never get drunk from it. And to me, after a semester of drinking Natty Light and Flaming Doctor Peppers, I thought a White Russian was the epitome of sophistication.

We phone my Mom in Seattle prior to going to the bar. She is mortified. She does not like the idea of her precious child within 100 yards of such a watering hole. Why? Because in addition to having a very low surplus of fashionable heels, this island also has a very low surplus of young college-age women. She perhaps attempts to put her foot down. Good luck. That foot in Seattle was a thousand miles away from me. Put it down all you want, sugar! I am going to The Elbow Room!

Before entering the bar, my SD says, "I don't care if you have a few beers but you don't need to talk to a single man in this bar, and none of them better speak to you." Did my SD not realize that college was a wonderland of opportunity to practice certain skills? I mean, in addition to increasing my base of valuable knowledge, I was becoming quite adept at how to drink beer and talk to boys? But he meant business. And rightfully so.Once inside, I changed my tune. From the outside, an unassuming beat up old blue shack. This is an actual picture. Inside, it was like Roadhouse. Only less tame. When I asked the giant man behind the bar for a White Russian, he said, "Sure sweetheart." Then laughed. Then place a bottle of Bud in front of me. I knew better than to toss my hair and sass.

The bar was filled with the most motley of crews, peppered with East Coast based CEOs in town on business, family men working hard towards their children's futures, college boys spending the summer on fishing boats, and more than a light dusting of convicts. I stayed glued to my SD's side the entire night.

But listening to Jimmy Buffett play from only 3 feet away, in a bar with about 150 other people, on a remote island in Alaska was one of the coolest things I have ever done. I mean besides getting to have a cocktail with my Dad when I was not quite 21. Oh, the liberation.

Leaving that night my thought: THIS PLACE ROCKS. THIS IS GOING TO BE AN AMAZING SUMMER. Into the wild...nothing quite like it.

And today is my SD's birthday. Some of the greatest memories of my life involve you and when I said at ten years old that one of the best gifts I ever got was you as a second dad, I still mean it today. Happy Birthday.


Laurie said...

Yeah ....I loved this one too :-)

Will Burke said...

I hear ya, step dads rock!

Unknown said...

lol...i misread and thought i was reading "Warren buffet walks in ta bar" and it nearly blew me away!haha

cool read though.

Unknown said...

Yes, that was a good one. Wonderful that you have such a good relationship with your Dad.

Simply Suthern said...

Not exactly Margaritaville but it has it's own charm. I would love to go to Alaska at least once.

Kristina P. said...

Very cool. My grandmother wanted to take us all on a cruise to Alaska. I never had any interest until I started looking at the pictures. Beautiful.

Unfortunately, my grandfather got really sick and we weren't able to go.

Ed said...

OH LOOK! A Repost!

How original.

Intense Guy said...

Hope the office move is going smoothly... now is the time to loose all those stuffy inter-office memos...


BB said...

What a great story. OMG I loved it. A memory forever. Glad you shared it again since many of us probably never read it before.

Mrs. Tuna said...

It's pretty but I've watched Deadliest Catch and have no desire to ever, ever, ever see that much snow again.

But great story about your Dad.

webb said...

Great post. CAn you believe we once actually drank White Russians? So lame!

Maria said...

Great post originally, and reposted! Besides, I can probably guess that the color of the Elbow Room was the deciding factor for Jimmy to agree to perform there...Very Margaritaville...even in Alaska!

Happy New Year!!

Trick/Pony said...

Great story. Sign me up as #1501!!

ladytruth said...

I've never been to Alaska but your SD makes it sounds like a whole lot of fun! Happy belated birthday to him and hope he had a memorable day :)

the walking man said...

Did they have to put Jimmy in a wire cage to keep the beer bottles from hitting him ala Blues Brothers?

Stephanie Faris said...

You know, Alaska and Jimmy Buffet aren't two things I'd normally put together but what a cool story! I've always wanted to see Alaska. It looks beautiful.

secret agent woman said...

Nice. And very Happy New Year to you!

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.