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48 Hours in the Tri-Cities: Snakes, Bistro Man, and the Wedding

August 8, 2006

This past weekend I went to the Tri-Cities for a wedding. I had not been home in over a year. It was nice to go back where it all started for me. Here is a log of the events that transpired:

Friday Morning

9:04 a.m.: Quick hello to Tully’s Girl and a mocha to go.

10:31 a.m.: I begin thinking about how boring this drive is. “Tumbleweeds to my right and dust to my left. Man this lady is driving slowly.”

10:32 a.m.: The slow lady in the crappy Ford Taurus Wagon almost pushed me off the road. I love honking at people.

12:15 p.m.: I make it to Justin’s. Hey, Melanie is there too. We head over to a small bistro to grab lunch. The waiter at the bistro is overly friendly and we tease Melanie to ask him out.

1:30 – 6:00 p.m.: We play foosball, get ice cream, walk around the park, play X-Box and I complain about the heat. I come to the ultimate conclusion that there is nothing to do in the Tri-Cities.

7:00 p.m.: I ask Melanie and Justin to take me out to a fun bar to have a couple of cocktails before we have dinner. I thought, in the six years since I had moved away there might have been some chic new bars that have opened up. Melanie and Justin cannot think of any place. Then Melanie says that we could go to Red Robin. RED ROBIN!? Choosing Red Robin for cocktails is like if you are in New York and you want pizza so you go to Sbarros. Not authentic at all. We instead decide to go to Jackson’s – a local dive bar with cheap drinks.

9:00 p.m.: We head to dinner at Atomic Ale Brewery. I love this place for three reasons. 1) The pizza is phenomenal. I love brick oven/fire roasted/gourmet thin crust pizza any day. 2) The beer is great. They brew their own. This is quite the rarity in the Tri-Cities. 3) It still has “Atomic” in the title. I love this. For those who don’t know the Tri-Cities’ economy is based on the clean up of nuclear waste from the weapons plants in the forties. Back in the day, all the businesses referred to the Tri-Cities’ nuclear days. The minor league baseball team was named the Atoms. The local bowling place was called Atomic Lanes. The car repair place was called Atomic Auto and Bodyshop. And probably the most offensive, the mascot of Richland High was a mushroom cloud. But that all changed with time. Now, the baseball team is the Dust Devils, the bowling alley is Fiesta Bowl and Richland High stopped using the mushroom cloud as a mascot – probably for the best. But, Atomic Ale Brewery has not relented. We walk into the brewery and who do we see working at this place, it is the waiter at the bistro. He works evenings at this place. How weird is that? He is super nice again and gives us free drinks and food.

10:30 p.m.: We watch Bend it Like Beckham and celebrate Melanie’s birthday.

Saturday

4:30 a.m.: I receive a text message from my friend and she wants to move our coffee appointment to 10:30 a.m. She explained why she needed to move it, but it was quite clear from the time she sent the message.

10:30 a.m.: She is late. I am not surprised. I have very few female friends who are on time. It has become something I expect. We catch up. I had not seen her in forever.

12:45 p.m.: I head over to the church – Central United Protestant – commonly known as C-U-P, which I thought was funny when I was a kid. Hell, I still think it is funny.

12:46 p.m.: Oh my God! Look how people have changed. Now I have gained a few pounds in my journey from high school to the graduate school, but these past six years have not been as kind to others. To protect the innocent, these people will remain nameless.

12:54 p.m.: Wow not that many people from high school. I am one of the few. The wedding I am attending is for a girl whom I have had a long history with. We went to a couple of dances together. We all were in band together. And I am ashamed to say this, but there were times in high school where I imagined this day, but I had a much different role.

1:05 p.m.: The wedding is starting late.

1:07 p.m.: The procession begins… Cue Canon in D – how cliché is that? Oh, here comes the mandatory stand up and stare intently at the bride.

1:10 p.m.: The pastor makes a bad joke about turning off cell phones. My pastor will not make any jokes during my wedding. He will be a means to an end.

1:10 – 1:45 p.m.: [wedding mumbo jumbo]

2:00 p.m.: Here come the uncomfortable time when nobody knows what to do and everyone is awkwardly milling around the hallway. Here comes a lady that knows what she is doing. Man I could use a beer!

From left to right: Anna Galvin - Maid of Honor, Max, Lindsey, Holly - Lindseys mom and Gordon - Lindseys dad. He reminds me of Gerald McRaney from Deadwood. Photo by Nick Peyton, taken August 8, 2006.

From left to right: Anna Galvin - Maid of Honor, Max, Lindsey, Holly - Lindsey's mom and Gordon - Lindsey's dad. He reminds me of Gerald McRaney from Deadwood. Photo by Nick Peyton, taken August 8, 2006.

Time to eat cake. Photo by Nick Peyton, taken August 8, 2006.

Time to eat cake. Photo by Nick Peyton, taken August 8, 2006.

A good looking kiss after cake. Photo by Nick Peyton, taken August 8, 2006.

A good looking kiss after cake. Photo by Nick Peyton, taken August 8, 2006.

2:00 – 4:00 p.m.: The reception happens. Now I love wedding receptions. They have beer, toasts, hot girls, food, cake, good conversations and dancing. Well this reception was missing all of that except cake. I was shocked. No alcohol. No food except for the smallest bowl of nuts – by the time I got to the nuts there was like one Brazil nut left. No hot girls – the average age was much higher than mine. This is strange because the bride is a year younger than I am. No dancing – which may have been a blessing because there was no alcohol.

There was no good conversation. I was stuck talking to this man about the snake problem in Louisiana circa 1962. I don’t care about snakes in 1962! I almost asked him if there were “mother f***ing snakes on his mother f***ing plane,” but it wasn’t appropriate for the wedding. The coffee was so watered down it looked like tea. The reception was bad. Additionally, they did the cake immediately after the ceremony. If you went to the bathroom between those two events, you would have missed it. After cake, the bride and groom leave for an hour for pictures. This is inexcusable. They are the glue that is keeping this random group of people together. Once you exhaust the conversation about how you know the bride and groom, you have nothing left and you end up talking about mother f***ing snakes.

 A photo of Lindsey and Maxs wedding cake. You know I have no idea what flavor it was, I had a piece from the back up sheet cakes. Photo by Nick Peyton, taken August 8, 2006.

A photo of Lindsey and Max's wedding cake. You know I have no idea what flavor it was, I had a piece from the back up sheet cakes. Photo by Nick Peyton, taken August 8, 2006.

I did a quick tour around the room and talked to people I knew. The mandatory how you are doing, what have you been up too, can you believe your daughter is married and my personal favorite, is it weird that I was invited even though I haven’t seen the bride in four years. Through it all, I had a good time. I hope I see some of these people when I eventually get married. But I will make sure that I have the essentials to have one hell of a party.

A photo of Anna and her two-month old son Miles. When did little Anna have time for children? Photo by Nick Peyton, taken August 8, 2006.

A photo of Anna and her two-month old son Miles. When did little Anna have time for children? Photo by Nick Peyton, taken August 8, 2006.

4:00 p.m. – 11:45 a.m.: Nothing much happens. I hang out with Justin. We play some soccer, some X-Box, get coffee, drive around and get breakfast. I leave Justin that morning and head up the lonely Highway 395 to Spokane with the thoughts of snakes filling my head.

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