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Celtic Vegan Sandwich Weekend

It was going to be a different weekend. For one thing, it was going to be spent in town. That was in marked contrast to twelve of the previous fourteen, which had been experienced watching Virginia Tech football at various locales in that part of the country covered by the Atlantic Coast Conference. The regular portion of the season was over, giving me a weekend with time on my hands.

The weekend’s companionship was also supplied by someone other than the tailgating buddies with whom I get so familiar during the season. I was going to be hanging around with the Teacher, an attractive young lady who has been a very good sport during the past autumn, certainly more so than any other attractive young lady with whom I have been associated, such as her cousin. I like the Clubhouse Tailgate gang a lot, but I did consider it an upgrade.

The weekend kicked off Friday afternoon at my favorite watering hole. Naturally, we encountered the Hoo Lawyer cemented to his favorite bar stool slurping Scotch. I had had business dealing with him earlier in the week, meaning I had collected the bottle of tequila owed from our annual bet on the Tech-Hoo game. I did not hesitate to inform him that it would be put to very good use later that evening and at least I was getting something back from those outrageous bills sent out by his overworked and underpaid secretary.

The Teacher and I had dinner reservations so there was only time for a couple of Stoli martinis and a few insults. The best he could come up with was some foolishness about Hoo fans removing their faces from the fan long enough to learn the Tomahawk Chop so that they might confuse the Tech team into believing they were facing yet another Florida outfit.

I countered with pointing out that Fallback Dave had lost at home to Fordham, of all people. This would seem, under the standards of Hoo AD Craig ‘Will Tubby be in Nashville ?’ Littlepage, to qualify Fallback Dave for a huge raise and contract extension. I was getting around to algroh’s interviewing of Gary Darnell for one of the hundreds of vacant positions on the staff of the Great NFL Legend and how the Hoo faithful could look forward to the same sort of gridiron excellence seen when Darnell’s Directional Michigan teams played Tech when an elbow to the ribs preceded the information that it was time for dinner.

A local Japanese restaurant found us savoring the red snapper I can never quite duplicate and me popping the question as to whether we might follow up this pleasant repast with a viewing of the movie ‘Syriana.’ The answer to that was no. Her plans for the evening involved returning to her tastefully-decorated condominium and viewing a concert on a local PBS station of something called ‘Celtic Woman.’ So much for Tech football or a commentary on what is, at root, a global war over dwindling supplies of oil.

The Celtic Woman show was actually pretty darned good. I soon found I could time our consumption of the Margaritas made with the Hoo Lawyer’s tequila to the concert interludes filled with the annoying demands that I, right that minute, write a check to WUNC-TV. Fat chance of that happening. I might watch their programming, such as the hilarious Britcom ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ or this surprisingly-good concert and tailgate in their parking lot in the People’s Republic of Chapel Hill, but I sure wasn’t sending them any money. I wasn’t even paying for the tequila that the Teacher kept demanding like the UNC faculty does tax dollars.

Midway through the show and the Margaritas I became aware that the combination of Celtic music and tequila was having quite an effect on the Teacher’s libido. I barely had time to make a mental note that perhaps I would send a contribution to Blue Heaven Public Television in exchange for a concert DVD [it would be astounding on my surround sound] before clothes were flying around her living room like MVToo passes during the Fourth Quarter at Alltel. There are some positives to football season ending.

We were soon in fighting trim and heading upstairs. I will spare the reader of what followed other than relating that I was reliably informed, in tones resembling the howling of banshees, it had involved the shifting of tectonic plates. They had crashed together with a force and frequency that caused me to tune in Fox News in the morning to determine if the Pacific coast was still attached to the mainland. Fortunately, the Big One had been confined to Cabin Creek. The Rose Bowl will go on as scheduled.

Saturday morning found me not rising at 4:30 in the morning, as has generally been the case since the weather was still hot. Instead, I arose at a decent hour and prepared my usual weekend breakfast of lox, bagels and cream cheese. It was received with the same enthusiastic response as it was by the Russian when I first introduced it to the Tailgate. Thankfully, the Russian has never eaten it at a Tailgate while wearing only an open robe. This can be chalked up as another positive aspect to the end of football season.

Following breakfast the Teacher took off for her part-time Saturday gig at the local hospital, leaving me at loose ends. ‘Loose ends’ involved heading home to my recliner to watch an afternoon of college basketball. Two games held particular interest.

There seems to have been little wrong with Duke that a trip to Cameron North and Texas players lacking the defensive acumen of Jamon Gordon could not cure. When the lead hit about thirty I flipped over to WUNC to see if they were interrupting the fundraising to hurl invective at Duke. Surprisingly enough, they weren’t.

Speaking of Jamon Gordon, it is becoming more apparent with each game that while Coleman Collins and Zabian Dowdell might amass the numbers and headlines, Gordon is the guy that positively has to be on the floor for this year’s Tech basketball team to achieve any success. A fairly comfortable Tech lead evaporated when Gordon went to the bench with foul trouble. Unable to maintain their early momentum, Tech found themselves in a dogfight with St. John’s before deep into the Second Half when solid play on both ends enabled the Hokies to build a working margin and hold the Red Whatevers at forearm’s length. Gordon has ‘It’ which in this case can be described as Jamon being a winner.

Coinciding with the end of the Tech game was the Teacher showing up from her working day. Her timing was impeccable. This was working out pretty well and bodes well for basketball season, or at least my watching the Saturday afternoon ACC games.

The evening’s activity consisted of having dinner at some friends of hers with whom she worked. Another couple, the women headed for the kitchen shortly after we arrived, leaving me to engage in conversation with the man of the house. This was not exactly Tailgate caliber.

Rather than a Bloody Mary, beer or shot of Communion, I was offered a glass of the red wine we had brought. Apparently there was no liquor in the house. Learning he was an alumnus of JMU, I attempted to converse about the I-AA football national championship the Dukes will hold for another week. He claimed to have no interest in sports. That certainly narrowed the range of conversation possibilities. He is a guidance counselor; once again I found myself understanding why the public schools are the shape they are in.

My host quickly interjected into things the little nugget that his political persuasion was quite left of center. His distaste was noticeable after hearing that 1] mine were almost exactly the opposite of his and 2] the oppression of the economically-vulnerable by an exploitive capitalistic society did not concern me one bit since I count myself among the Free Market Oppressor Class. The look on his face reminded me of algroh’s when the Hoos fall behind by twenty-eight.

Before this could degenerate into Hannity and Colmes dinner was served. I was in for a treat. The evening meal consisted of individual roasted portabella mushrooms served on a bed of wilted spinach with a side of fava beans and a salad of field greens. Yum, yum. I was not only among liberals, but VEGAN liberals. This was not exactly Tailgate fare.

I picked at my food while visions of Larry deep frying a turkey, grilling a rack of ribs or one of Clota’s excellent gumbos made with dead creatures from both land and sea danced in my head. Table conversation consisted mainly of their expressing disgust at the refusal by the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors to tax the county’s property owners at confiscation levels. Continued black looks from the Teacher prohibited my adding much to the discussion.

My main contribution came after the Teacher gloatingly informed our hosts of our upcoming trip to the Kennedy Center . When asked what show we planned on attending, my immediate response was ‘Springtime for Hitler.’ The reaction from them was not quite as convivial as the laughter that erupted from the Teacher. My attempts at humor go over better with some than others, one of the reasons these columns now appear in this venue [Will, I believe this is one of those pieces that could not be written for TSL].

I endured dinner and we headed back to my house after detouring through the closest Wendy’s drive-through for a burger and fries. Man does not live by portabella alone. I did not even have time to point out that my friends were a hell of a lot more fun to hang around with than her’s before she made the whole dreary dinner worth my while. Things went on behind closed doors that did not involve my brother barging in to inform me that Miami had lost.

Sunday morning found me not driving home from a football game or even sitting in a rural Georgia strip club [I had very recently seen much better] but instead enjoying a late breakfast with the Teacher at an establishment that I consider the only reason to venture into this country’s version of Falluja, downtown Danville .

Following breakfast we parted company in order to spend Sunday afternoon dealing with familial duties. We both have living maternal parental units, within days of being the exact same age. No longer very young women, they both expect the same sort of treatment that they supplied to their aging parents during their dotage, something altogether more personal than the nursing home three states away about which I occasionally fantasize.

This is particularly troublesome for the Teacher, whose mother recently lost her husband of sixty-two years and is not dealing with it very well at all. She makes it very clear that in her opinion her only daughter should be at her constant beck and call.

Constant beck and call meant just that. The old bat’s daughter had taken the altogether sensible precaution of disconnecting all of her telephones, both cell and land-line, before we began the weekend’s festivities. Turning them back on Sunday around noon, she learned that her mother had called twenty-eight times in the previous forty hours. Those certainly made the seven from my own mother seem like a hoot. Sunday afternoon was not the high point of the weekend, to be sure.

Among the hectoring calls on the Teacher’s answering machine and voice mail was also a Saturday afternoon one from her daughter. No, the little darling could not be unloaded on Grandma for Saturday night so that Mommy might have a period of peace and quiet, or something along those lines. The Teacher was being attacked on two fronts.

We both have twenty-something adult children not pleased one bit that a pair of fifty-something grandparents are cavorting in a manner no longer available to them due to the same filial obligations that caused us so much woe a generation ago. Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold.

Increasing life spans and teenage pregnancy have created large numbers of age brackets among people related to one another. Segments of the population are coming to resemble Indonesian family units.

Somewhere along the line our Baby Boomer generation has turned into the Sandwich one, with familial responsibilities tugging at us from both upper and lower branches of the family tree. While I deal with them by placing Tech football before family, ignoring the attempted guilt trips laid by adjacent generations, I am very much aware that there are those that do not.

Our attempts at inserting something else above the rung occupied by those related to us or perhaps creating another rung altogether are being met with strong resistance from both sides of the aisle. They are having the most acute affect on the young lady who carries the designations of Daughter, Mother and Grandmother. Aren’t we supposed to be the ‘Me Generation?’

It was these heavy topics and exactly what we were going to do about them that dominated conversation as we gathered again late Sunday afternoon at where the weekend had begun, my favorite watering hole. As usual, no solutions were found and perhaps will not for what might be a very long time. Considering what has happened in the last six months, these are not topics we care to explore.

We did not, as I announced my intentions to write the column I had been mentally composing all weekend Sunday night rather than Monday morning. It was still fresh. To my great delight, she expressed her desire to join me. There is a first time for everything and this is it.

I have no Celtic music in the house, but she was suitably impressed upon discovering that I write to Mozart. This is a choice of background sound much different from what is heard during our competitions for directing the car radio to either the Roanoke classic rock station or that godawful Magic from Greensboro .

She was a bit unnerved by my habit of suddenly bounding from the chair and pacing from one end of the house to the other searching for words and phrases. I was the same when, on one of my laps around the house, she discovered that the file on my computer labeled ‘Asian’ did not contain Chinese, Japanese and Thai recipes. I am going to have to come up with a more elaborate filing system.

This column has been written amidst much laughter echoing around my office. I can make her laugh, which seems to enhance my prospects, if not my prose. It has also been written as quickly as I have ever penned one of this size, very fast save for the rather intense period of oral editing she initiated. She is, after all, an English Teacher.

It has, all things considered, been quite an enjoyable weekend. My most recent ones have consisted of Tech football and tailgating; this one involved Celtic music, liberal Vegans and the Sandwich generational phenomena. Once again, there seems to be life after football. Maybe more. This column is also now over. We are now planning to complete the weekend on a high note.

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