Five years ago today was Saturday, August 2, 2014. I started off as I normally do that day of the week, going to Bardog for brunch at 11. Then about 1:30, I walked over to the Blind Bear where my friend Brad was bartending.
I got a seat at the far end of the bar. There were about 5 other people there. We didn’t know each other, but Brad soon had us all talking and laughing with each other. He’s good at facilitating that.
After a while a couple sitting midway down the bar told me, “Hey, Paul. We read your blog. We want you to know that we decided to move Downtown because of what you wrote. So, thank you for that.”
Then a pretty brunette on the far side of the couple stood up and said, “Hey, Paul. I decided to move to Memphis from out of state because of what you wrote.” After that, we all went back to talking and laughing, and when the people in the middle of the bar left, I scooted down to talk to the brunette, to find out more of her story. I was very flattered to learn that the population of Memphis is a different number than it would have been otherwise if not for this blog.
Three weeks later I did the same routine – Bardog, Blind Bear. I found the same woman sitting at the bar at the Bear. She asked if I remembered “our love fest that we had up here a few weeks ago.” I sat with her and for the next 2 1/2 hours, we talked about anything and everything. She was very interested in my life, and asked me a lot of questions. She wanted to know my favorite places to hang out, my favorite places to eat, all about my BBQ team. She told me she knew one of the other BBQ teams and hung out in their booth the previous May.
I didn’t see the woman for four months after that. Our friend Clay wanted to make Silly Goose our second Saturday stop for a while, and since our friend and BBQ teammate Dusty was bartending there, I happily went along with the plan.
The first Saturday of January 2015, Clay wasn’t around, so I went back to my Bardog, Blind Bear routine. Brad was behind the bar, his last Saturday shift before he switched to Sundays. The woman came in with a mutual friend who I know from the world of BBQ. I was invited to come sit with them, but I didn’t talk much because I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt their girl time. They left after about an hour, and I thought that would be the end of it.
It wasn’t. Brad came over and asked if I knew who the woman was. “Sure, she moved here because of my blog and we had a couple of good conversations last summer,” I replied. Brad told me she had been asking about me, not just that day but in the past as well. He said the woman wanted to come sit next to me and talk, but was too shy. Brad told me she really liked me and wanted to get to know me; that I didn’t pick up on it, but last summer when we talked, she was kind of trying to hit on me. He said she came back up there multiple times looking for me, but I was never around and she eventually gave up.
“I wish I’d known that while she was still here,” I told Brad. “What if I don’t see her for another four months?” Brad gave me her full name, said she was on Facebook, and suggested I send her a friend request and get to know her on there. I did, and she accepted. For the next month I looked at her posts and her photos, and she seemed exactly like the person I had interacted with at the Bear. Very charming, fabulous sense of humor, large group of Downtown friends that mirrored my own and even overlapped my own a bit.
I hoped to see her at Brad’s bar on a Sunday, so we could talk again and I could ask her out. However, her lifestyle kept her away from the bar scene for several weeks. Finally, on Monday, February 9, 2015, I sent her a private message on Facebook, the very first time I ever PM’d her, six months after we met. I told her I thought she was a really interesting person, and asked if she’d like to get a drink sometime and get to know each other more.
On Thursday, February 12, she responded, apologizing for taking a long time to get back to me. She’d been out of town. She said she’d love to get a drink with me. She suggested 1 PM that Saturday at the Blind Bear. I waited a couple of hours to respond (didn’t want to appear over-eager) and told her the time and place sounded perfect, and I would see her there.
The next couple of days, I was on cloud nine. Here was this person who’d found her life, her happiness, here in Memphis because of something I created. And now we’d met, and I found out she really likes me, and she’s single, and I’m going to get drinks with her on Valentine’s Day. Maybe fairy tales do come true in real life, I wondered.
THANK GOD she stood me up. Best thing that possibly could have happened, even if it didn’t seem like it at the time.
OK let’s get on to the news…
Fridays are always busy nights at the Redbirds. Tonight is Elvis Night, and the first 1500 fans in the gate get a T-shirt with a picture of the famous pink Cadillac.
Gates open at 6:00, so you’ll want to get there not long after that if you want to score a shirt. Another reason to get there early: $2 beers at the left field bar until the game starts.
It’s also all-you-can-eat specialty ticket night, where that ticket gets you not only a seat for the game, but an all-you-can-eat buffet as well. This week the buffet theme is tacos and all the fixins, plus hot dogs and two soft drinks or waters. This ticket includes a $15 Dave & Buster’s gift card as well.
Movie fans will want to plan to be at AutoZone Park Friday, August 16. It will be Sandlot Night, a celebration of the 1993 movie in which kids got together on a sandlot to play baseball and get into mischief. Chauncey Leopard, “Squints” from the movie, will be at the park that night. He will throw out the first pitch, do a meet & greet from approximately 7:00-8:30, and lead the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” for the 7th inning stretch. Following the game, the movie will be shown on the video board.
I’ve been continuing to follow the food porn on the Memphis Sandwich Clique Facebook group. One of the members posted photos of a Downtown sandwich, and I asked for and received permission to re-post them here.
Photo credit: Eric Groff
This is the Pork Belly Reuben at the 3rd and Court diner. It comes with million island dressing, Swiss, and house beer-kraute. As you can see, Eric chose to sub an order of tater tots for the fries that usually come with this sandwich, an excellent decision I must say.
I didn’t get a photo of this one, but I gleaned some future Downtown sandwich news from the group as well. As I reported earlier, Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe will be opening a second location in The Edge District in the upcoming months. On Friday and Saturday only they have a special sandwich: catfish, spaghetti, and cole slaw on Texas toast. That’s right, spaghetti on a sandwich. It is said to be life-changing.
If you’re a Memphis foodie and you aren’t in the clique, you are missing out. It’s the kind of group on Facebook that does what its mission says: It informs people of the many delicious sandwiches you can get in this city. There isn’t a lot of drama and infighting as is the case with some Facebook groups (coughsavetomleeparkcough).
This Saturday from noon to 2 PM there will be a Nerf Brunch at Loflin Yard. You can bring your own Nerf gun and be part of the fun for $5. If you don’t have a Nerf gun, rent one of theirs along with ammo, safety glasses, and flags for $10. For $35 you can get the Deluxe Party Package with 110 rounds of ammo and an upgraded Nerf gun.
If you’re a breakfast lover, get down to Venga in the Puck Food Hall, 409 South Main, this weekend. All weekend long they will have a special of roasted green chili sausage, corn salsa, sunny eggs, and spicy habanero sauce. The dish is served with two warm corn tortillas.
Riverfront Storytime for kids will happen behind the Cossitt Library, Front and Monroe, today at 10 AM and again at 6 PM. This event lasts anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.
The Memphis Grizzlies are celebrating the 2019-20 season being the 25th season of the franchise with two throwback Vancouver Grizzlies uniforms and an anniversary court.
In other Grizzlies news, second-year forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. has been named to the U.S. Select team. This team will put the United States basketball team to the paces at training camp starting Monday, as they prepare for the FIBA world championships. Fellow Rookie First-Team members Trae Young and Marvin Bagley Jr. will join Jackson on the Select team.
When you order a shot with a pickle back but the bar is out of pickle juice:
Don’t worry, though, they located the pickle juice a little while after this was taken. It was in a different cooler than where it is usually stored. By the way, there are two dead giveaways in this photo that the shot did not belong to me:
- Cigarettes in the background
- No troll
There was a discussion on Facebook yesterday about how most presidential candidates are referred to by their last name after the first mention, but Kamala Harris is often referred to as Kamala, and whether that is disrespectful. Of course, Memphis being Memphis, someone had to go and comment, “Kamala the Ugandan giant,” referring to the wrestler who appeared in Memphis, other regional territories, and WWF in the 1980s and 1990s. What most people don’t know is, he’s a Harris as well. In 1982, someone told truck driver Sugar Bear Harris that due to his size, he might have a future in professional wrestling. A meeting was arranged with Jerry Lawler, co-owner of the Memphis territory. Lawler took one look at him and said, “I have the perfect gimmick for you. Come back tomorrow, park behind the building, come in the back door, and don’t let anybody see you.” Originally the gimmick name was spelled Kimala.
Classic baseball movie Angels in the Outfield (1994; PG for mild language) plays the big screen at the Orpheum tonight at 7. A boy prays for a chance to have a family if the California Angels win the pennant, and angels are assigned to make that happen. $8 adults, $6 children under 12.
Beginning Monday, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative will partner with MATA for a new shuttle service that will connect the Medical District and Harbor Town during morning and evening rush hour Monday-Friday. The shuttle is free for participating medical and educational institutions with valid ID card, and is available to the public at normal MATA rates. The shuttle will run 6:30-9:00 AM and 4:00-6:30 PM on weekdays, with stops at Southern College of Optometry, Madison and Dunlap, A.W. Willis Ave. and Third/B.B. King, the Riverset Apartments, and Estates at River Pointe.
Beg & Borrow Apparel has opened a pop-up shop at 145 S. Main Suite 110, in the former Shelton space.
That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.