Monday, March 7, 2011

Pat and Jody's Sober Valley Ranch Pub

My mom used to have this "house outfit" that was Wildcat Blue, was one piece, and was accentuated with rainbow rings around the wrists and ankles.  It was made of a nubby wool/poly blend and it zipped all the way up the front.  Basically, it was like an adult onesie.  

"Go get my blue thing," she would say as she lit a cig and poured herself an ice tea.  My parents are not drinkers.  With all of the bizarre things that my mother says, as she lights a cig, you would think it would be punctuated by a shot of whisky or her popping open a tallboy, but that was almost never the case.

We did not have alcohol in the house unless someone brought it in and left it there.  It would literally sit there until the person came back - until my brother and I hit high school, that is.  Then, we would wait until the person left and my Dad would put it in the pantry while Pat and I acted like we were indifferent to what was going on, and then as soon as my Dad left the kitchen, we would swipe it and run upstairs giggling.

When I think of the dynamics of my house, I am always reminded of that movie "The Twilight Zone".  You know the episode in it where the woman hits the boy on the bike and he takes her back to his house and all of those people are there (his "fake" family) that he won't allow to leave?

Remember when he was showing her the house and they got into her purse and they were smoking her cigarettes and spraying her perfume while they rummaged through her wallet?  Well, that is what my house is like.  Even to this day.  If you bring something in, everyone just seizes on it, because it is foreign (or farn) and exotic.  It is their little glimpse into the outside world.

"Oooooh," my mom will say after I come back from the Fresh Market near their house, "What's this?"  Then, I open it and start to eat, "Is it good?  I never would have thought to put those two things together - cheese and broccoli."

"You wanna bite?" I say, rolling my eyes, with my mouth half full.

"Well, yea.  I'll try some."  EVERY time.

When Brad and I go to Louisville and we go out to dinner and bring back leftovers, they are gone before the morning.  You go to get donuts for the kids - gone before you can finish your coffee.

Curiously, the only thing that stays and stays, is liquor. You know what else is curious?  That my mother just built a bar in the basement.  All that woman needs, is an excuse to buy things and then decorate.

Okay, just to be clear, neither my mother nor my father drink.  Well, that is not entirely true.  My mom drank last Spring Break because the two of us drove to Vero Beach with the three kids.  That would drive even the strictest teetotaler to drink.  The woman is only human.  Anyway, do you know anyone (who isn't in a 12 step program or prison) that can tell you with any confidence that the last time they drank was last March?  So this is why I am fascinated by my parents' "pub" in the basement.

She has every bar glass imaginable with the Schell monogram or crest.  To my knowledge, we are neither royalty, nor Gaelic, but if it is on the internet, my mother can find it and justify it!  My favorites are the various shot glasses that she identifies with (There is the UK one, the Derby one, the Ohio State one, etc.) arranged  on a mirrored tray.  Do she and my Dad fill them up with ice tea on a Saturday night and line them up and shoot them?  Do she and her best friend, Norletta, clank their metal covered steins together and slurp down frosty Diet Cokes together?

"Idn't this cute?  Look at this one?  You know Norletta and I found that right in Simpsonville?  She got one too."  Norletta hasn't had anything stronger than a Diet Root Beer in decades.  She is also "doin' a pub."  I should go see it.  "It's nicer then mine, though."  Norletta's stuff always is.  "She has walls."

What is funny to me is that she actually decorated the basement before she redid it.  The floor is concrete and there is no dry wall, but there is a flat screen tv, a leather sectional, a game table, bar stools, a refrigerator, and a full bar with no liquor. When I say it is jam packed with barlike paraphenalia, I am not exaggerating.  There is so much stuff with our "family crest" on it and our monogram, it actually makes me nervous and I make excuses to go upstairs.

"I like the feature of being able to sit at the bar and watch dad do his laundry. Is that a European tradition, as well." I say, as we sit next to each other at the bar."

"Now, we're gonna drywall it in the Spring, ya' little smartass," my mom starts to laugh, "Ooooh, did I show you this?  "Idn't it cute.  It was only $25.00, well, plus monogramming and shipping."  She picks up an ashtray with "Pat's Bar" on it that has a sheep playing pool. Neither one of them smoke anymore and no one is allowed to smoke in the house.

"Sweet."  I respond.  "I'm gonna go see what Brad's doin'," I jump off the bar stool and make a run for it.  All this stuff is giving me the creeps.

"Wait,"  my mom yells after me as I climb the stairs, "Have you seen this?"  When I glance back, as I take the stairs two at a time, she is holding up a huge wood sign advertising "Pat and Jody's Irish Pub."  I feel bile rise up in my throat.  Now I'll be honest, I have felt sick after going to a bar before, but I was never sober at the time.

My favorite upscale bar in town is The Rossi.  I just went to Surly Girl  this weekend and it was really cool, too.  Johnny's Tavern is my ALL TIME favorite, though, and it deserves it's own series of posts.  It is in Grandview and you can always find a great incoherent conversation with one of the regulars.  They make Charlie Sheen look a logic professor.

Picture above is from last Spring Break.  The martini glasses held ice cream, in case anyone from Children's Services is reading this.

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