Stumbling Santa recap

Last year, it was 66 degrees outside for Bob & Roland’s Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl, and I wore a T-shirt and a pair of gym shorts under my thin, cheap Santa outfit. This year it was 40 degrees colder. I put on a thermal shirt, a T-shirt, a windbreaker shirt, and then my red Santa suit. I still wasn’t sure I would be warm enough, but I didn’t see how I could put any more clothes on.

Earlier in the day I had stopped by Walgreens. Stumbling Santa is a toy drive for Porter-Leath, and toys for preschoolers were requested in particular. I saw that they had a 3 for $16.99 sale, and knowing that turnout would be low this year due to the cold weather, I decided to bring three toys instead of one. I got two bag toss games, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one for boys and some pink girly one for the girls. For my third toy I picked some pink toy toaster. There was a lot of pink in my bag, but what did I care, it’s not like I was going to be playing with the toys myself.

So about 6:55, I walked down the Main Street Mall with my four layers and my bag of toys, grumbling about how I was still cold with all these clothes on and reminding myself that I was doing it for the kids. As I passed by Local I ran into my friends Katie Mac and Valerie. This is the outfit Valerie had on:

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I suddenly realized I had no right to be complaining about the cold. Here I was in four layers of clothes while Valerie had on a TUBE TOP in 26 degrees. Talk about doing it for the kids. Valerie is an inspiration to us all. You know, in the past year and a half or so I have come to the conclusion that tube top superstardom can’t be taught. You’re either born with it or you’re not. Valerie was born with it.

By the way, honorable mention to the Nuh-Uh Girl and Ciara for Santa attire. And BOO to Air Traffic Mike for trying to talk the Nuh-Uh Girl into wearing green Grinch tights instead of a tube top dress.

Turnout was light due to the weather, as expected… and by “light” I’d estimate there were only 400-500 Santas, down from 700 last year. The Saucer got so packed that people had to stand outside. With my 4 layers on standing shoulder to shoulder, I felt sweat dripping down my back like I had not felt since August when the temperature was 98 with a heat index of 107. Still, though, it was good to see so many of my friends in one place. Other than BBQ Fest, there aren’t many events where everyone is together.

That reminds me… several people came up and said “I read your blog” and I was pleased to meet some of my readers, but I kind of expected that to happen. What I did not expect was so many people coming up and saying, “You’re on the Moody Ques, aren’t you? I really enjoyed your booth last May.” December is about as close to the nadir of BBQ season as it gets, and I did not expect the team to keep coming up in conversations. I think it got mentioned 5 times, but one was a team member so I’ll call it 4 times.

The lineup was Saucer, Coyote Ugly, Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe, Silky’s, and Purple Haze. About 8:30 we marched to Coyote Ugly. I thought, “Well, this is probably going to be my least favorite spot of the five.” I was absolutely, 100% WRONG. I loved Coyote Ugly! It was my first time in there in 7 years (it was a stop on last year’s crawl too, but due to crowds I didn’t go inside last year). The bartenders were dancing on the bar and had the entire crowd into it. They were friendly and fast (given the size of the crowd) getting beers too. A friend who got to the bar before I did asked if I wanted a beer, and I ordered a Bud. She handed it to me with a confused look on her face. A few minutes later I saw why she was confused. I saw the beer selection on the wall and saw that Coyote carried the Cadillac of beers, PBR! I finished my Bud and ordered a Cadillac. It was only $2 for a 12-ounce can. Not sure if that was a special for us or regular price, but I was most pleased. A friend ordered two beers and a mixed drink and her tab was about half what I would have thought it would be, given we were in a bar in an entertainment district. Coyote Ugly really impressed me. It’s not a place where I would be a daily regular, but if a group of friends wanted to go there I would have no objection.

Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe was next. Both downstairs and upstairs were open, and it was nice to be able to step out on the balcony and get away from the heat of the crowd and my layers of clothing. Although the crowd was large, I had no trouble getting a PBR draft at the downstairs bar. “16 or 32?” the bartender asked, meaning ounces. Well, 32 of course! I had groups of friends both downstairs and up, but after a while, rather than sitting in a cramped space and sweating to death, I chose to lean against an ATM in the entrance walkway. It was the perfect people-watching spot and the air coming through the door cooled me off. Plus, I was steps away from the bar when I needed another PBR. There was a really good singer in what was formerly the piano room, doing rockabilly covers. You know, every time I’m in Jerry Lee’s I think to myself, I need to come here more. Every time I walk out the front door to go to a bar, it’s always Bardog, Blind Bear, Saucer, Goose, or Max’s and I ignore a lot of other good places. I need to branch out more.

Due to a schedule mix-up we spent two hours and Jerry Lee’s and skipped Silky’s. That was fine with me. I like Silky’s but standing in the courtyard in 20-degree temperatures and freezing rain was not an appealing thought. Silky’s goats may like it but I’ll pass.

Last stop was Purple Haze, but I only spent a brief amount of time there. Afterward I hit Flying Saucer and Blind Bear then called it a night.

I have to say what an incredible job Bob and Roland and all the Santa organizers did this year. It’s not easy to herd hundreds of Santas. Hundreds of toys were collected for Porter-Leath and I tip my hat to the organizers. Great job! You most definitely over-delivered on a great time.