The year was 2009. It was mid-October, and I had been living in Long Beach for just over a month. Without cable in Apt 8, I knew I had to find somewhere to watch The Game. (For a fun story about the aforementioned Apt 8, check out the post from Day 3: Metal.) Kickoff was at high noon, but that was Eastern Time, so living on the west coast meant I was waking up early on Saturday, October, 17, to ensure I had a seat in front of a television before 9am.
The Prospector was only a couple blocks down 7th Street, and so I took the relatively early morning stroll in my gray hoodie with "OKLAHOMA" in crimson embroidery across the front. I had called the day before to see how early they opened, and since they were also a restaurant, they opened early for breakfast. Around 830 in the morning, I walked in, and like a scene out of an old western, the regulars at the bar, all turned to see what the barkeep behind the counter could already see. Identifying me by my OU gear, he asked, "You the one that called about the game?" And with a cheerful "Yup," (well, cheerful for 830am on a Saturday), I staked my claim at an open seat in the middle of the bartop, and awaited kickoff.
Smelling bacon and eggs all around me, I made the smart call to order some breakfast before getting into full game mode despite the early (on the west coast) kickoff. Thankfully, because The Prospector is a restaurant and a bar, I wasn't completely out of place ordering a beer that early in the morning. I did, in my defense, wait until after kickoff to do so.
Here's where it starts to get cloudy. There was a bottle behind the bar that caught my eye. Hound Dog Sweet Tea Vodka, I think it was. Well, I definitely know it was sweet tea vodka, but the brand is up for debate. Having spent a few years on the east coast, sweet tea was a bullseye of a remedy for homesickness. The bartender gave me my first shot for free, because he thought I should try it first, but looking back, I definitely think he knew what he was doing.
Somewhere during halftime I called my friends Tara and Lainey, and after 30 more minutes of game clock, the Texas Longhorns claim another victory in the Red River Rivalry, 16-13. This UT squad would eventually go on to win the Big 12 (with a victory over the Cornhuskers) but would lose to the Crimson Tide in the BCS Championship.
Even so, the Red River Shootout is the one game in the season we definitely want to win. Boomer Sooner.
A couple months later, Hound Dog's cousin, Seagram would accompany me to a cast party after the closing of Songs of the Siren, The Greeks Remixed. Another awesome time after an awesome run. In a collaboration of original plays based on Greek myths, a narrator role was written specifically for me--one of the greatest, if not the greatest, acting compliment I received in college.
Every once in a while, I'd find a drink with sweet tea vodka as an ingredient, and I would decide by thinking, "Is it a sweet tea moment?"
Tonight, it was.
Cheddar's. A last second decision by my wife and I launched us into what could be a long evening of waiting. Valentine's Day on a Friday night, and we're heading out for dinner. Walking up to the door, a couple was passing us heading back to their car warning us of the hour and forty-five minute wait. Recognizing that there would be a substantial wait just about everywhere else we could go, we went inside and put our name in anyway. The hostess had said it the wait time was estimated at 1:15, so that was already an improvement from the defeated patrons' warning. As we sat inside, face to face with other mildly impatient couples and somewhat large groups, we watched other couples and families come inside, many of them leaving after hearing the estimated wait time.
Before we knew it, the restaurant pager was buzzing, and the red LEDs in the dark plastic case where doing a little dance. "Bingo!" I said as I looked at my watch and walked towards the hostess stand.
Twenty minutes. Exactly. As I gave (who I assumed to be) the manager a high five she said, "I'm not always this good," (to which I thought, "thatswhatshesaid" but that's neither here nor there).
Valentine's Day dinner with my wife. A delicious meal. A refreshingly wonderful drink. And another story of awesomeness with the liberating libation, sweet tea vodka.
drink responsibly. ;)