Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Rowdy Redneck

A few days ago I drove out to the small Texas town where I lived for many years. It's not too far way really, but it's the opposite direction of just about everything I need and want. But I still have friends there and thought I'd drive out for a visit. Who would think their friends would be at home on a Monday at noon? Well, let me introduce you to one. Shortly after I moved to this small town, I met a colorful character I'll call the "Rowdy Redneck", or RR for short. I met RR at a small local bar/restaurant named Maria's. Not a very original name for a tex-mex place, but the beer was cold & cheap. $1 pints in ice cold mugs from 4-7pm everyday. It was as if I had discovered heaven on earth. One afternoon while sipping a cold one, I met RR and his buddies. They were playing a game that I hadn't heard of before, but found very interesting called liar's poker. Many years later I would learn that they had actually conspired to take my money because they thought I was just another yuppie moving to the country. The game turned into an excuse to buy rounds of shots & the night ended with a dominoes marathon at RRs house which was in walking distance of the bar. (but RR still drove there every single time) I had so much fun that I became a regular there with around 7-8 other people. We spent many an afternoon listening to RR tell us stories about his exploits over the past weekend, etc.

RR was at Maria's just about everyday. I got into the habit of driving by after work & if he was there, I would always stop. It was a guaranteed good time & RR knew everyone in town. He grew up in this town and had only left once for about 6 months. RR had a philosophy on everything, but he would only share it while sitting at the bar. One of his underlying tenets was that you must go out on Tuesday &
Wednesday nights because that's when you meet the good looking ones that like to drink. Anyone can go out on a Friday night. It takes someone committed to booze it up on a Tuesday and still go to work and build crates at 7am. (RR was a crate builder) His theory was that if they are new in town, then you could get to them before they hook up with someone else on the weekend. I saw this play out over several years and he did have a lot of empirical evidence to go with his theory. The women typically were party girls with baggage and unfortunately didn't hang around too long. He did have one or two move in with him, but sadly those didn't work out either. I say 'sadly' because I think RR really would like to settle down, he just doesn't know how.

Another one of RRs theories related to driving. He was very concerned about the local police & had been in trouble for essentially minor stuff several times. It goes like this... you drive 30 minutes to friends house where some kind of possibly illegal activity might occur. Stay for a couple of hours and then drive home. On the way home, you should always take a different route to avoid seeing the same cop twice. He would drive 20 minutes out of the way for a 30 minute trip sometimes. But, in the years I have known him he's never gotten in trouble while driving. It's always while in a bar or at a party. When RR drives, he is very slow and methodical about it. If there is a backroad, it will be taken. If there are 7 ways to get somewhere, he knows all 7. The drunk driving people will lose it over this, but we've had some real fun just cruising the backroads near the river & lakes around here listening to good country & western music. RR wasn't much for drunk driving, so it was more about visiting friends & getting outside for a look around.

I'll wrap up with a short word on country & western music. RR likes the "western" part of country & western music. He says (and I agree) that the "western" has been taken out by Nashville and replaced with "northern". I used to drool over his old LP collection. Some of my favorites that we'd listen to on his old turntable were JR Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Vern Gosdin, Loretta Lynn, and this very old Ray Charles LP that had a few scratches but sounded amazing at 2am. RR doesn't listen to the radio, only old stuff. I like Texas music so I listen to the radio some, but I have to agree that the stuff out of Nashville is total slop for the hogs.

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