Check yes or no.

This year’s Christmas shopping involved alcohol.

If you answered no, you are either a direct descendant of Buddy the Elf and have eggnog running through your veins. OR…(and I believe this is more likely the case)…you are lying. It is virtually impossible to survive December at the Mall on only an orange julius from the food court. Pour a little tequila in that julius…and suddenly the Old Navy line becomes fairly tolerable.

Therefore, following a Special Day purchasing gifts for our dear family and friends, it should come as no surprise that the Iowa Roadie and her husband found our way to The Prairie Creek Saloon in Norway, Iowa. Norway, by the way, is home to the Tigers, 20-time state high school baseball champs and focal point of the movie “The Final Season.”

Upon entering The Prairie Creek Saloon, we found our customary seats at the bar where my husband ordered a beer. When asked if he wanted the large or small size beer, it seemed a relatively insignificant decision…until a quart jar of amber bock was placed in front of him. (Did you catch that? A QUART! As in 32 ounces!) It was like the Godzilla of Beer! I was so amazed at its mammoth size, that I immediately snapped a picture and shared it on the “Iowa Roadie” Facebook page. 

While waiting for the power of social media to unleash itself, we struck up a conversation with two gentlemen on our left. Victor is a long-time employee of General Mills whose current duties include making Scooby Doo and Frozen II fruit snacks. A bonus of making fruit snacks is that if you get hungry, one can just grab a handful off the manufacturing line and pop them in your mouth. (Important disclaimer…This is not a habit encouraged by General Mills.) 

Here are two fun facts that Victor shared with us about Fruit Snacks:

  • The process of making fruit snacks involves cooking them for 13 hours.
  • Fruit snacks have a shelf life of one year & one week. 

Personally I think that the fruit snacks process sounds a lot like fermenting beer. The difference is that beer will never reach a shelf life of 53 weeks, as the Iowa Roadie’s husband will drink it before that. 

We also learned that Victor has been married 49 years, and has lived in the same house his entire life. His son played in the state baseball tournament, and he and his wife spoil their grandkids a great deal. (I think Norway should erect a statue of Victor in the city square.)

Sitting next to Victor was his friend Tom. Tom participates in truck pulls for a living with a truck he named Agent Orange. Tom also has a regular job in the technology field to support his truck pulling habit. I am sorry to say that I checked out of the conversation at this point, as the Iowa Roadie’s husband also works in the technology field. If you have ever conversed with someone who works with computers, you know things tend to get technical and a bit on the dull side. Therefore I was more than happy to continue visiting with Victor about fruit snack science.

It was at this point that Bar Owner Dawn rushed in. Dawn, a former artist, was very excited as she exclaimed to bartender Kristin that “some famous person who travels around Iowa” had checked in and shared a picture of their beer on Facebook. I started scanning the bar, eagerly searching for the famous person. (Think of the publicity a celebrity could generate for the Iowa Roadie page!) Bartender Kristin replied that the famous person must have left before her shift, as she hadn’t noticed anyone. Shoot! I wanted to drown my disappointment in my husband’s mammoth beer.

But then I realized that I–the Iowa Roadie–was the Famous Person! Granted, I never confessed to my identity, and perhaps there was ANOTHER famous person who had posted a picture of their own Quart of Beer that very afternoon. (Somehow I think Victor and Tom would have shared this info in between stories of processed fruit bits and monster trucks.) And for a few brief moments, I was content to revel in my secret popularity and marvel at the power of social media. (Until I remembered that some people actually make money from their online posts, and no one had even offered to buy me a drink.) 

Before I could wallow in self pity too long, a party bus rolled up, and several patrons wearing festive Christmas sweaters and jingle bell necklaces poured in. Some of the party bus riders tried to convince the Iowa Roadie and her husband to join their group. This seemed like a swell idea until the Iowa Roadie’s husband pointed out that it was Very Doubtful the party bus would return us to our vehicle in Norway, and we would consequently be stranded at some unknown pub destination. (Not a bad dilemma, actually.) He also reminded me that we would miss our Family Christmas the next morning if we did not return home. 

Another quick poll…Family Christmas or Party Bus? 

For most of us, that’s a rhetorical question. Seriously…who REALLY wants to choose the option of dysfunctional relatives? But the Iowa Roadie is loyal to a fault, and therefore waved a parting goodbye to our new party bus friends as they rode off to their next destination. 

I would also like to send some cyber hugs to Sheryl. Sheryl is the mother of Bar Owner Dawn and was celebrating her 61st birthday that day. Sheryl’s father had recently passed away. And while I just joked about our relatives, time with family is always something to be treasured.

Thank you to The Prairie Creek Saloon for another fun-filled Iowa Roadie adventure. By the way, my husband bought me “Iowa Roadie” coasters for Christmas so that I can now leave them as calling cards at the bars we visit. 

Because, as they might say in Norway, the Capitol of High School Baseball, you’ll never know where the Iowa Roadie might STRIKE next!  

Iowa Roadie coasters!!!

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