A couple months before my trip back to Kalamazoo, I touched base with a northern-Michigan friend I hadn’t seen in about a year, and we agreed to meet in Kzoo on Saturday. Kinda. They kept hemming and hawing. “I’ll see you there,” turned into “I’ll try to be there,” which then became “maybe I’ll be there.” Finally, I gave up. I’ve always been of the opinion that if you want to do something, I mean really want to do something, you find a way to make it happen. Otherwise, it just falls by the wayside. This was my first trip home in a year, and I wasn’t about to spend one of my too-few days in Kalamazoo sitting by a phone I knew good and well wouldn’t ring.
Time to call an audible.
About a week out, I began making plans for a day and night out in Kalamazoo. First was a stop at Shakespeare’s Pub to complete a delivery to my friend, Matt, on behalf of mutual friend, Dawn…but that is another story-line. One which I will come back to in detail later.
While at Shakespeare’s, I was able to have a beer with old friend, Duane. We’ve known each other since we were both in our teens, but hadn’t seen each other in at least 10 years. Duane has an interesting mind, and I sincerely hope he writes a book. Soon.
Next, I was able to have an early dinner with the lovely, sweet, and adorable Becky. Becky and I were in the same first grade class waaaaaay back when. Our lives went in different directions after Indian Prairie Elementary, so it has been fun to reconnect in the last couple years. We traded stories about work, high school, she talked about her husband and kids, and I talked about life in OKC. Time, of course, flew too quickly.
Next up was Wine Loft. I met up with Sara, Jenni, Becca, and Jack, and I am thankful that Eric could join us as well, even if it was only briefly. After a glass of wine, the group (sans Eric) decided to take the show on the road. Walking, of course. We’re responsible adults, after all.
We arrived at Central City Taphouse, and were later joined by Carl. Quite the Algonquin round table, indeed. Our server, whose name I can’t remember, was easily exasperated by indecision in our ordering, which we found simply entertaining. Either she was having a bad day, or she needs to think of a different line of work. Thankfully, she seemed to cheer up after a while (medicinally assisted, perhaps?) and her people skills improved. Fun was had by all, and dinner was delicious. But, of course, time again had moved too quickly.
None of us really wanted to say good night. That is when Carl got on his phone. You know the old saying: “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” Yeah, that’s pretty true. When Carl hung up the phone, he said “We’re going to Casa Bolero.”
And so Enrique and his merry band struck out to walk to Casa Bolero in the cool night air. It was actually kinda chilly, so we walked briskly. However, we were quickly warmed by the drinks at Bolero. I don’t know what Carl was drinking, but I swear it tasted EXACTLY like chocolate cake. (I need to find a bottle of that) We were all enjoying our various beverages when someone at the bar bought everyone a shot of Flaming Dr Pepper. Very tasty, but you have to be careful not to burn your fingers. Totally worth it, though.
You never want a night this fun to end, but you know at some point it has to. (I guess it doesn’t *have to*…there was a small group talking about finding a flight to Vegas) We said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways. I knew I was going to sleep well, which was good since Sunday was sure to be another full day.
(to be continued…)