There’s something about tacos.

With ice cold beer.

Or a margarita.

Heck…tacos and ANY alcohol is a win.

So when the Iowa Roadie and husband drove by the Willow Run Lounge in Mason City and saw a sign proclaiming “homemade tacos and ice cold beer all day & night,” there really was no decision to ponder.

Homemade tacos and ice cold beer.

All Day & Night.

Seriously…which of you WOULDN’T brake for that? 

We pulled into the parking lot and found a spot between two vehicles bearing handicap license plates. I found this quite appropriate as the Iowa Roadie’s husband recently celebrated a milestone birthday and began receiving AARP invitations himself. 

(For the record, the Iowa Roadie’s husband is not pleased with this development. Mainly because this is proof that when someone asks for his ID, it is not to assess if he can legally drink, but instead to determine if he is eligible for the senior citizen discount.)

Per Iowa Roadie rules, we found a seat at the bar, and were greeted by bartenders Allie and Amanda, who warned us that we might hear “some interesting conversations.” Obviously they underestimated us. 

The Iowa Roadie is all about “interesting conversations.” THAT’s why we sit at the bar rather than be confined to a corner where the Iowa Roadie and husband only have one another to visit with. (Can I get an Amen, from all you married folk?)

For instance, if we had hidden in the corner, I would not have met Cindy. Cindy is 65 and had just come from dumping her boyfriend that she had met online. Evidently there was a situation involving concert tickets and the Surf Ballroom, and he became a bit belligerent. Cindy immediately asked him to take her home. Rather than wallow in her sorrows and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (my drug of choice), Miss Cindy came to the Willow Run Lounge for tacos and an ice cold beer. (I would like to note that 65-year-old Cindy soon ditched me for the gentleman seated on her other side. It was like the senior citizens version of Mean Girls.)

Another person that we would not have met had we had sat in the corner was Mindy. Mindy was absolutely convinced that the Iowa Roadie’s husband looked like CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. Mindy did not know that my husband only watches Fox News and therefore was not flattered by the comparison.

Even more alarming was Mindy’s revelation that she could dispose of a dead body without ever being discovered. (Besides CNN, Mindy must also be a fan of Dateline.) She informed us that she would even dispose the body for free. My feelings fluctuated between being impressed at this budget-friendly service…and being just plain terrified. 

(For the record…Mindy shared that the key to a discreet body disposal is to remove the teeth and then feed the body to the pigs.)

Let me just say that there are not enough tacos and ice cold beer available to recover from that information. 

Fortunately there are nachos. A monster plate of them, in fact. And Bloody Marys made with olive juice. (Or jalapenos, if you prefer them spicy.) The Willow Run Lounge also serves its ice cold beer (and PBR hard coffees) out of frosty mugs. FROSTY MUGS!

However nothing soothes the soul and dispels the image of blood thirsty swine quicker than karaoke. 

Lucky for us, on the first Saturday of each month, the Willow Run Lounge hosts four hours of karaoke to a packed house. Our fellow bar patrons, some sporting sequined hats and jackets, performed to songs like “Harper Valley PTA” and good ol’ Johnny Cash. It was quite impressive.

So impressive, in fact, that the Iowa Roadie and husband soon found ourselves paging through the massive bible of karaoke song options. This is what we discovered.

The key to karaoke success is not how GOOD you sing, but WHAT you sing. It’s all about Song Selection.

For example, I selected “I love rock & roll” by Joan Jett. This is a Crowd Favorite. So even though I cannot carry a tune nor do I possess any sort of rhythm, the good people of the Willow Run Lounge were totally rocking out with bartender Allie (my karaoke partner) and me. There was lots of clapping, cheering and cane tapping…enhanced perhaps by the effects of the perpetual ice cold beer.

NOW let’s say you choose a song like…Oh, how about “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers, for example. Do not be offended if the crowd goes into snooze mode. “The Gambler” is not a crowd favorite. Kenny Rogers does not rock it. You could be Kenny himself, and not score the same reaction as a Joan Jett wannabe.

Even if you look like Anderson Cooper.

In hindsight, I do feel a bit responsible for my husband’s lackluster performance as I may or may not have suggested “The Gambler.” Theoretically, it sounded like a good idea. 

Let me assure you it was not.

My husband told me he could have died from embarrassment. I replied that if this had happened, I would have given his body to Mindy, and she could have disposed of it for free. 

An ending the Iowa Roadie’s husband called complete…and utter…HOGwash.

The monster plate of nachos!
Who DOESN’T love a frosty mug?
Check out the cool glass the Bloody Mary was served in!

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