July Fourth recap

Yesterday was a demonstration of all that is good and right about life in Downtown Memphis. My friends on the Squeal Street BBQ team were doing a practice cook for Best Memphis Burger Fest on one of their team leaders’ parking lot at 3. Since my BBQ team doesn’t enter Burger Fest, they wisely acquired the services of “Mr. Load-in” for the practice cook. “We’ll have PBR in the cooler for you,” they told me.

“Since I’m advising them on their burgers, I need to not start drinking before 3,” I told myself. Then a few minutes after 11 AM, a friend texted me and said he was pretty much ready to roll. “I’ll be at Bardog in 30 minutes!” I replied. So much for taking it easy.

Bardog had one TV on Wimbledon and the other on the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. My buddy wasn’t too thrilled about that considering the France-Germany World Cup game was on. However, Bloom was at the other end of the bar and he couldn’t get her attention to change the channel. Then I got a text from one of our BBQ teammates. “There’s a tube top in the stands of the World Cup,” she said. “It’s a classy one.” She thinks some tube tops are vulgar, and to be honest I prefer the vulgar ones, but given what I’ve seen of the World Cup, I’ll take any tube top I can get. “BLOOM!” I shouted. “WE NEED THE WORLD CUP ON!”

It was believed that the tube top was a Germany fan, so I rooted for Germany the rest of the game. They won. Deutschland, Deutschland, ja, ja, ja! I hope the tube top was very excited and jumped up and down a lot to celebrate the victory.

Several more members of the gang showed up, and we had a discussion of Downtown’s most annoying bar patrons. I made a trip to the restroom, and damned if “number one” himself wasn’t sitting at the bar when I came back. He was twisting and turning, trying to hear our conversations, aware that we had some kind of plan for the Fourth but not sure what. No doubt he wanted to find out the plan and inquire about it, in the hope that someone would feel sorry for him and invite him along. No one did.

We were going to leave a little before 3 to allow time to get down to South Main for the cookout. However, Panda, whose bar shift started at 3, posted this to Facebook: “TUBE TOP DAY!!!!!!! HAPPY 4th Of July!!!! Come Party With Me for HaPpY HoUr-”

“Maybe we should have one more!!!” I announced. It was worth it.

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We got down to the Squeal Street cookout about 3:30. The burgers hadn’t been put on yet, and everyone relaxed and enjoyed a few games of cornhole.

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While I was watching the cornhole game, I got a Facebook message from the star of the PG-13 video I blogged about yesterday. In the audio that went with the video, she explained that the PG-13 video was a do-over because no one wanted to see someone named Mike Hunt. I guess Mike must have photobombed the original non-PG-13 video. That’s a real problem these days. She challenged me to re-create her stunt but I didn’t have access to a kiddie pool and I didn’t have a skirt on so I couldn’t.

While waiting on the burgers to cook, I checked Facebook to see what everyone was up to. The BBQ teammate who told me about the tube top at the World Cup was at a cookout of her own, and she posted a pic of kabobs that are part of her native cuisine. Damn they looked good. Maybe we should let her enter those in Anything But next year. I mean, I know we have Best Booth and Best Microwave Popcorn locked down, but it might be nice to try and win other trophies too. Or if not a competition entry, just let her cook them to feed the team if she’s willing. It seems like we have a lot of team members with cooking skills that we could put to use.

About 5:30 the burgers started coming off the grill.

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The year I was a judge at Burger Fest, one of the four categories on which we had to judge the burgers was juiciness. Squeal Street nailed that part of it so well that I left the cookout with grease stains all over my T-shirt. On the scale of 2 to 10 that I used as a judge, I would have to give Squeal Street’s burgers at least a 9 and I might go all the way up. These burgers were better than any of the ones I sampled at Burger Fest ’12 or ’13 and I think they’ve got a good chance to win. The festival is on September 21 so they have a couple more months to practice.

I post-gamed at the Silly Goose with some of my Moody Ques teammates, then called it a day. I missed the fireworks but I really didn’t mind. Awesome day. Thanks to all my friends for making the Fourth so much fun. ‘Merica!