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Monday, 09 July
Preparade

Monday was the big day, when we all came together as 20-year reunionites to show our proud town what we were made of.

Naturally, this meant gathering en masse at a bar. At noon.

You see, traditionally, our reunions take place during something called Border Days, which is one of the oldest rodeo celebrations going. So there is, of course, a parade, and every year, the twenty-years all ride a float. The parade was at two o'clock on Monday.

Remember, we were at the bar at noon. Because another tradition is that everyone loads up on beer for a couple hours before we climb onto the float, which is--can you guess?--also stocked with coolers full of beer. Oh, and Super Soakers for tormenting the crowd, particularly the very young (who love getting squirted with water on a hot day) and the very old (who are slow and make excellent targets and who also cringe entertainingly).

But first things first! The drinking. My friends W. and R. showed up to cart me down to the bar promptly at . . . 10:30 AM, mainly because, as far as I could tell, W. was anxious to begin drinking. But we made some small talk with my folks for a while, for which my liver thanked me meekly from inside his cage.

However, we were still down there by noon. Four minutes before noon, actually, which is why it puzzled us when T.--an excitable woman from our class, already there--shrieked, "Where have you been?!" It was going to be a long day, so it only made sense to order a beer from the bartender, a pleasant fellow named (I think) "Fish," who really put the "grizz" in "grizzled." We began drinking in earnest, and I couldn't help but note that W. and T.--again, both women, so this puzzled me--cut their beers with Clamato. There is a thesis to be written about the gender identification issues surrounding this conundrum, but I left that to future scholars and simply dug into a two-dollar Bud.

Shortly, W. was ordering another from apparently-Fish. "Slow down, W.!" he bellowed. "It's a long day." He paused to take in the rest of us. "I can say that to her because I know her. I don't know any of you, so I don't care what you do," he told us. My father, seated behind me at a table, laughed.

This is where we spent the next two hours: the Triangle Tavern, a place the size of Carlos Mencia's talent, and, also like Carlos Mencia, a similarly gas-station-bathroom amount of charm. Improbably, it does have a pool table, perfect for receiving clouts to the skull via errant cue shots. Also, a bartender named Fish. (There really was a seedy, Abe Vigoda-ish cast to Fish, but again, I'm not even sure that's what people were calling him. But let's say they were. Then I got into some reverie about Fish being not only Abe Vigoda-ish but also having some sinister Lovecraftian features, but by this point I was on my third Bud.)

After a little bit, my mom and the wife intelligently showed up bearing some burgers for us to consume, as we were all drinking on empty stomachs. (T. screamed on their arrival, "Who is this? I don't know them!" "One of them is my mother," I said, "and one of them is my wife." T. stared wordlessly. My father laughed again.) We devoured the food with the feverish intensity of a group of people who had dedicated an entire day to drunken mayhem. My mom, wonderfully uncertain about people's condiment preferences, had even persuaded the burger vendor to wrap up a bunch of pickles in paper, just in case. We devoured those too.

That's when W. loudly informed us that she had broken one of her artificial nails--painted, of course. She had to go get it fixed, because when you're in a parade, you want your pinkies to look their best. She ordered Fish to get her a "to-go cup," which Fish dutifully did, and W. poured her beermato into it, and she was off to some apparently underemployed beautician. Open container laws are unofficially but nearly unilaterally relaxed during Border Days, unless you're a fucking moron, who are, naturally, legion.

More people were showing up by this time, quite a lot of them, actually, and it was around 1:15 that we noticed that we did not have the flatbed pickup that we had been promised by a classmate. In fact--we learned mere minutes later--that said classmate was not only not even attending the parade, but his flatbed was not forthcoming, as he was in a town some miles away. We had no float.

We discussed this with some intensity while ordering more beers with somewhat more intensity. A couple of the girls were dispatched to try and sweet-talk a fresh flatbed out of a nearby trucking company--so nearby, in fact, that it was across the street. They returned flatbedless. "If you had come one hour ago . . . " said the guy, whose name, let's pretend, must have also been Fish. We fretted about this and ordered more beer. W. returned around this time and ordered a beer. Her nails were perfect. D., the class president, wondered about filling up the water buckets for recharging our Super Soakers, seemingly unconcerned with the fact that we had no vehicle that would actually carry said buckets, or our beer coolers, or our Super Soakers, or us. Well, whatever. We crossed the street to a (closed) business of some sort, and stole about fifty gallons of water.

Others milled about in the sun drinking beer, while others milled about in the bar drinking beer. Fish ran out of Clamato, and there was a minor flurry of dismay among some of the women, but it then subsided after they glumly ordered some more beer.

It was about twenty minutes to two, and nobody had any idea what was going on, until someone happened to notice the incredible fact that we--the assembled class of '87--had no less than three pickups in our possession, right there at the bar! Right in the parking lot!

We immediately--by which I mean haltingly and fuzzily--composed a complex plan to solve our problem: Let's just ride in pickups! Like, three of them! Instead of one lonely float (unadorned flatbed), we would have three mighty floats (unadorned pickups)! We quickly (slowly) loaded hay bales into the pickup beds for us to perch on, and happily noted that we had just enough time to buy some more beers to take onto the floats . . . er, pickups.

The class of '87 was in the parade, dammit. It was our time to shine. Literally, in the case of the third pickup, since for some really weird reason, that was the one that all of the bald guys piled into. I mean, ALL of them. They gleamed like the sledge of the White Witch. I stared at the hazy heat lines that radiated off of their collected pates and commented to W., "They're going to look like a jar of maraschino cherries after this."

W. laughed and opened a beer gingerly, mindful of her repaired fingernails. We were sitting high and mighty on the first float/pickup, with our asses on the cab of the truck. We had to be mindful of not putting dents into the roof of the cab, and if D. (the driver) heard a "CLUNK!", he'd yell at us. We got waved into our place in the parade line.

The day was just getting started, and it already felt like we'd been at it for hours. But there was plenty more.


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Comments

What the hell is Clamato? If it's related in any way to chlamydia, then your post just became really disturbing.

That is to say, more disturbing than usual.

Comment number: 014452   Posted by: on July 10, 2007 07:05 AM from IP: 152.17.58.210

Sorry...I forgot who I was up there.

Comment number: 014453   Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' on July 10, 2007 07:07 AM from IP: 152.17.58.210

Clamato! Delicious blend of clam juice... and tomato juice! Yummy! There's some in my fridge.... staring at me....

Comment number: 014454   Posted by: Yesh on July 10, 2007 07:19 AM from IP: 142.177.186.28

My mom is a fiend for clamato and beer. Whenever they come to visit I make sure my fridge is stocked with at least two gallons of the stuff. And when they leave I make sure they take any leftovers with them. That shit is so nasty even *I* won't drink it.

Comment number: 014455   Posted by: cory on July 10, 2007 08:29 AM from IP: 10.149.27.212

Clam juice and tomato juice. Two juices that should never have seen the light of day.

To introduce this combination into beer is, effectively, mind-melting. It stops all rational thought.

Comment number: 014457   Posted by: Ian J on July 10, 2007 04:19 PM from IP: 192.150.22.5

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