There are some who start their retirement long before they stop working. -Robert Half

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Hip Side.

Up to this point, you might think that the bustling metropolis of Owensville, Missouri consists only of church functions and Metamucil, but there you are wrong.  You, like me, might wonder where the 18-25 age demographic can be found in this quaint retirement destination. Luckily, I have been enlightened (though I use the word "enlightened" loosely so as not to confuse my experiences with things like art museums and classical novels). The other weekend, my friends Abby and Ashley came down to visit and experience the life I lead. Or maybe I should say the life I don't lead because Grammy, Papa and I definitely don't hit up the wineries and bars. Anyway, we started off our weekend at Wenwood Winery in Bland, Missouri where we sipped wine and listened to live music. I've decided that this is my favorite winery in Missouri. I mean, it's at least my favorite of the four I've been to. Wenwood Winery is way out in the beautiful Missouri countryside in an old, rustic barn. And they have a puppy there. And, after sampling all of their wine, we were happy and shocked to say that we liked all of them. Three points in their favor.
Our day then went from classy to classier as we ventured to Clancy's in Rosebud where we did not order the special (it was fried chicken and I'm not a fan of chicken-on-the-bone. Don't tell Papa). Ashley loved Clancy's (I mean, what's not to love?) even though they only carded her when she ordered a beer.  She told me she was amazed they didn't card me, too, since we both look so young, but I just reminded her that I'm a regular. And proud of it.
And if you thought the excitement stopped there, you're wrong once again. After Clancy's, we headed back to Owensville to experience the hoppin' nightlife. Now, I'd had dreams about the Hip Side of O-ville before, but those dreams had nothing on the real thing.  Our bar of choice for the night was the Miller Pub. Why, you may ask? Well, Julie, Ashley and Abby are friends. Abby is dating a boy named Chris. Chris has a dad named Ron. Ron and his wife Brenda own a bar in Owensville called the Miller Pub. CONNECTION MADE!  Isn't that nuts!? What are the chances that your best friend's boyfriend's dad would own a bar in the town you temporarily retire in!? Anyway, instead of boring you with a minute by minute recount of the night, I'll just give you some highlights:

Highlights of the Night:
-We made lots of friends. It could have been because we were the only people who weren't completely wasted, over thirty, and dancing, but who am I to tell? Our loudest new friend was named Adam. It was new friend Adam's birthday and he kept telling us the band wouldn't play him a birthday song. We asked him what his birthday song is and he told us it is House of the Rising Sun. Later, however, Adam somehow got ahold of a guitar and a microphone and started playing it himself, until he forgot the words and another guy started singing them for him. Apparently he's "usually 10,000,000 times better than that."
- I experienced my first bar fight! Actually, I experienced my first two bar fights. The first one was between new friend Adam and some other guy who thought Adam was hitting on his girlfriend. Jealous boyfriend was also one of the participants in the second fight. I guess I can check "witness a real bar fight" off of my Things to do Before I Die list.
-Ashley (who is married) got a phone number from a kid drinking straight from a pitcher. First off, I call him a "kid" because he seriously looked like he was seventeen. After carding him, we discovered he is apparently 22. Anyway, he wrote his number on his hand and held it up to Ashley's face, while still drinking from his pitcher; I mean, that takes talent. He even messed up writing it once and had to scribble it out and write it on his palm again. What a winner.
-There was a guy with a mullet. A real mullet. It brought a tear to my eye (because it was painful to look at).
-Adam bought us all a shot called a Russian Roulette. It was pretty intense. The bartender brought out the shots, a metal bowl with lemons and sugar inside, and a lighter and then lit the lemon bowl on fire. Apparently the next step is to swirl the bowl of lemons until the fire goes out. Luckily, new friend Adam was in charge of the lemon bowl and thus dropped flaming balls of lemony sugar all over the table.

After much excitement, we headed back to Grammy and Papa's where we thankfully morphed back into retirement. In the morning, we quilted, ate a butter braid pastry, and classified birds. I'm too old to act 23.

Squirrel hunting.

All good things must come to an end, thus the end of the school year was inevitable. After a year filled with college applications and excited smiles, I came home to find Papa looking out the window at the backyard. After I set my belongings down in my room, Papa called to me:
Papa: Did you see my squirrel out there?
Julie: Is he eating all the bird food?
Papa: Come look. He's dead. I shot him.

And it was. So, if you had any fear that the squirrel hunting days were over, take a deep sigh of relief. Papa shot the squirrel and laid its dead carcass right next to the bird feeder, hoping, but failing, to scare the other squirrels away. Within thirty seconds of watching the dead squirrel body lying pathetically in the grass, another squirrel came up and started eating bird seed off of the grass right next to it. I told Papa his theory didn't work and he better dispose of the animal remains before we all get some weird squirrel flu. I mean, we could have been the beginning of the next flu pandemic!  Right when the swine flu started spreading, Grammy got sick and we obviously thought the worst. Luckily, she had the flu, but not of the swine variety.  Her doctor, however, told her she wasn't allowed to cook to keep it from spreading to the rest of us, so instead, she just hovered in the kitchen and watched Papa and me. I could tell that not being able to help was killing her and on Soup and Sandwich Night I caught her stirring our soup, so Papa and I scolded her and sent her out of the kitchen. Anyway, all of our preventative actions didn't help because I got the flu the next week. And I thought my life was over. I'm really bad at being sickly because I don't get sick very often, so I just laid on the bathroom floor clutching my stomach and waiting for my imminent death. Papa would just tell me: "I'm healthy. You have to have strength. Strength." Then he would look at me and flex his muscles. Luckily, my death didn't come and after a few days of life in a cold sweat, I recovered.

Okay, back to the squirrels: In order to assure the best shot at his unsuspecting victims, Papa took the screen out of the window by the dinner table and propped the gun within reach. This way, he can sit at the table with the window cracked and is ready to kill the minute he sees that bushy tail swish. The worst is when he spies a squirrel, but is not within reach of his weapon. The other day we were making dinner and there were three extremely skinny squirrels out by the bird feeder so I told Papa:
Julie: I see some of your squirrel friends out there.
Papa: Too bad I don't have my gun. Boy, look how skinny they are!
Grammy: You know, Papa used to eat squirrel for dinner.
Papa: Yeah; squirrel gravy and squirrel soup. Imagine having that skinny squirrel slapped across your plate.

I tried not to imagine it, but the image of a grilled squirrel-kabob forced itself through my mental barriers and to the front of my mind.  And I thought ham was bad.

Anyway, for some reason, we dislike the grey squirrels more than the red squirrels. It has something to do with the fact that the red ones apparently come from the woods, but I can't figure out the difference. I mean, both colors of squirrel:
1) Eat the bird food. Grammy says both colors are greedy and just make messes.
2) Dig up Grammy's flower beds. A few weeks ago, the weather was finally steady enough (meaning the chance of a freak frost had diminished to 50%) to plant flowers on the front and back porches. After finishing all the flower beds on the back porch, Grammy headed to the front porch to plant, at which time, a squirrel promptly came by and dug up all the flowers in the back.  Later that night, we were sitting on the back porch when, all of a sudden, Grammy yells: "I'm going to KILL THEM!" We looked over and there were holes and disheveled flowers scattered throughout Grammy's meticulously planted flower beds. Thus, we devised a screen and brick covering to prevent further destruction.

Even though Grammy says she hates the squirrels, I think she secretly likes them. Sometimes she saves food for them and scatters it in the field behind the house. She also has a nail on a tree that she can stick a dried cob of corn on for them.

We also have a chipmunk that lives on the back porch underneath one of the flower beds, but you won't see any dead chipmunks littering our backyard. We like chipmunks.