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Ponchatoula Is A Long Way To Go For A Beer
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Man, what a weekend. Toward the beginning of last week, Shelley and I were busily preparing the house in anticipation of a visit from my older brother Chuck, my lovely sister-in-law Jana, and my awesome niece Julia. Well, we discovered that they weren't coming after all. Seems Jana's job (she's a lawyer) was the culprit, which ironically was the original reason they were going to be in town in the first place. Ah, the best laid plans right? So, without our visitors, the weekend kind of opened up (I say kind of because Chuck and Jana and Julia were really only going to visit with us sometime on Saturday - so it's not like our whole weekend was planned around them...but, I digress). "Well," Shelley says to me, she says,"Well, if tomorrow's nice (that being Saturday - she didn't actually have an aside in what she said, I'm just trying to explain that when she said tomorrow, she meant Saturday because this conversation took place on that Friday) why don't we go the the Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula?" "Eh," I replied, "I don't know." "Come on," she retorted, "I hear they have strawberry beer, and that it's delicious." "For real?" I go, then she's all "Uh huh." and I'm all "Mmm hmm?" and she went "fer real" and I'm like "nuh huh!" and she's like "uh huh!" and I'm like "Shiiiiit" and she's all like "Damn right!". Well, suffice it to say that after that well spoken exchange, I was sold.

The next morning was super beautiful (very uncharacteristic for this time of year) and we packed up wee Gator and went and picked up our friend Roblynn, and headed off to Ponchatoula, the Strawberry Capital of Louisiana. None of us had actually been to Ponchatoula before (well I had once, after my first visit to Troy's house when I got lost on my way home - ah, the two hour 30 mile drive - but that's another story), so we just headed to where the people were. And man, were there people. Things went well getting there. We made good time, we found a parking space not to far away (I mean, we had to pay for it of course, but it was close), and we started to trek to the festival grounds. It was on this brief trek (2 blocks down and two blocks over) that I had my first real reaction to the situation we had all just put ourselves in. I believe my exact thought was "This sucks", though it may have been "This is going to suck." But, not wanting to be the nay sayer in the group, I kept my mouth shut. After all, anybody who knows me will tell you that crowds are not my thing (though if they know me really well, they'll probably tell you that last statement is a drastic understatement). I just chalked up my feelings of impending dread to my crippling social phobia. As we made our way through the throngs of bikers and toothless grandmas, and of course the seemingly pregnant teenagers in their flip flops drinking their 32 ounce beers and smoking their cigarettes, I reassured myself "This'll be fine. It will be fun, it will be fun." Then I thought something that, at the same time, both horrified and fascinated me to no end. "I don't think these girls are pregnant." I whispered inaudibly. Dear god! Pot bellied girls without an ounce of self consciousness in them. Wearing shirts unable to contain their bulging midriffs. I understand that showing some midriff is something of a fashion trend, but when you're wearing a shirt that wasn't manufactured to bare it, but does anyway due to the shear girth of you abdomen.....well.....jesus.

We fought through the crowd, and made our way to the food booths in a little cleared out area It was around lunch time and we decided to get a little bite. I enjoyed a 500 degree crawfish pie, while Shelley and Allee shared some dried out chicken tenders and some soggy salty potatoes, which we were assured were french fries. Roblynn went off in search of some fried oysters, and she found them. Apparently, they had been fried in salt. I tried one and, it was at this time that I remembered the only reason I really came to this thing in the first place. "Strawberry BEER!!" my brine saturated mouth cried out. "Yeah", Roblynn said, "I want to try that too. I wonder where you get it?" Where indeed?

We hit every single beer vendor in the immediate area. Nothing. We knew it had to be an Abita vendor, because they make the strawberry beer. We search for a while in vain, when at last Roblynn spied someone with an Abita beer cup. She went over and asked the girl (just a regular looking one - not one of those pot bellied, daisy duke wearing, flip flop floppin' ones) where she got it. She kinda motioned to where we came in. We thought she meant the entrance to this little section we were in, and we looked all around, once again in vain. Roblyn saw someone else with an Abita cup and asked them. "No," she was told, "it's all the way at the first entrance." Well, we decided we'll just cordinate this bit with our exit. We waded back through the throngs of leathery women wearing age inappropriate clothing, and when we came to the main entrance (well, what could be considered the main entrance - it was just a street) we still didn't see it. Sad, dejected, tired and sun burnt, we started making our way back to the car. It was then that I noticed, Roblynn had disappeared. I scanned the crowd, and saw her hand beckoning me toward her. She had found it! The place to get the strawberry beer! Oh, rapture! I waited patiently in line. When I got to the front, I looked at the most attractive young lady I had seen all day (was she really pretty? or, was she just the one who would give me what I came here for? it doesn't matter.........well....yeah, she was pretty) and I said "I want a giant beer please." She gave me a smile (I'm pretty sure she was hitting on me - who could blame here right?) and asked "Strawberry beer?" "Oh yeah." I responded. "I'm sorry, "she replied "but we just ran out. Actually, that girl over there bought the last one." I looked over at Roblynn just in time to see here greedily down her entire beer, smiling at me as she did it. "NNNNNNOOOOOOO!!!!" I cried as I fell to my knees and the camera zoomed up and away. No, I'm joking. They had plenty of beer. I mean, come on, it's the strawberry festival. So, I got my 32 ounce strawberry beer and took a giant gulp as Shelley, Allee, Roblynn and I made our way back to the car. As I wiped the froth from my upper lip I thought to myself "Eh?". "How is it?" Shelley asked. "Um," I said "It's okay." We went back to the car and headed home. So, goodbye suckass (oops I mean Strawberry) festival, we hardly knew ye. Lesson learned - Ponchatoula is as far to go for a beer, as reading this blog is to get to a point. Too far.

Well, that's it. I hope you enjoyed sharing in our pseudo adventure. I wanted to write more about this weekend (specifically Sunday and Joe's birthday and Madden ass whippings) but that's have to wait. Who knows? Maybe more than one blog post this week? Stranger things have happened.

Until next time: You like clogging? Uh, yeah. It's only my favorite thing in the world...outside of my love for satan.