AARP Saturday: Gotta Get Home By Bedtime

Too Tough - Celebrate Another Year!

“AARP Saturday?” you ask.  It really is a simple concept.  Start a show late enough to get the day’s chores done, and end it early enough to enjoy an early bird special dinner and be home for the usual bedtime.  Of course, that may sound as far-fetched as a restaurant where you can have a conversation as opposed to a shout fest.

With the Monster Mash 2013 in the review mirror, November was upon us.  That meant the Lava Pups anniversary (see our last post).  It also meant my birthday was on the horizon.  Those should be cause enough for a party.

Following her “learning opportunity” at the Monster Mash 2013 -- a broken string with an unfamiliar replacement instrument -- Sue splurged and bought an electric solid body baritone ukulele.  It looks like a downsized Les Paul.  With a sun burst mahogany body, set neck, humbuckers, pickup switch, and four knobs to adjust volume and tone, it is truly an artwork.  She was so enthused that she hardly could wait for band practice.  That was another cause for a party.

But by Veterans Day, reality set in.  Chaos on the home front left no time to find a place to play.  The day-by-day responsibilities of family and profession had trumped the desire for a party.  Pup anniversary, birthday, and Sue’s new uke seemingly were going to go uncelebrated publicly.

By Thursday’s band practice, I was reconciled to this.   After a trip through the Taco Bell drive-thru, I arrived at the Doghouse to gulp down two tacos while checking email and Facebook.  Next up was making a cup of coffee and hanging up my tie and suit jacket.  Freed in part of my professional attire, I could get down on my hands and knees to plug in cords to be ready for practice.

As I rose to my feet -- that’s harder with age -- Sue and Robert bounded into the Doghouse.  They were laughing, smiling, and carrying on -- downright giddy.  They either had stopped off for a beer on the way or had something up their sleeves.  Sue then announced, “I’ve got a birthday present for you.  How about Old Ironsides on your birthday?”  

Old Ironsides!  It is truly one of Sacramento’s iconic venues.  It is one of the oldest bars in town.  It opened in 1934 shortly after Prohibition ended.  Old Ironsides is a venue where surf bands like Slacktone, the Hypnotic IV, and Pollo del Mar have performed.  

I replied, “Wow!  That could be one of the best birthdays ever.”  Under my breath, I muttered, “And I have had a bunch of birthdays.”

“Well, we’re about 98% sure it will happen.  Your job this weekend will be to get out some save-the-date emails and get a poster together.  We’re working on a late afternoon show -- 4 or 4:30ish -- and out by 6:30.”

I thought, “Hey, this will work out for many of my friends.  They are nearly as old as I and like to get to bed early.”  A burst of energy accompanied that thought.  Visions of a poster flashed into my mind.  How about a old turkey that is too tough to make the Thanksgiving dinner table ala the Foster chicken wannabes?

An upcoming gig breathed life into our practice.  We always practice better when we have visible goal.  The prospect of Old Ironsides also changed our banter.  We joked about the starting time.  The more we talked about it, the more spirited Robert became.

After awhile, he shared his nascent vision with us.  “AARP Saturday.  If we pull this off, maybe it can be a start of . . . AARP Saturdays!”  Whoa.


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