I should have been a traveling salesman.

For alcohol.

Forget encyclopedias or vacuum cleaners. Liquor peddled straight to your door. Now THERE’S a pyramid scheme I’d be happy to invest in.

In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for recommending spirits to fellow supermarket customers who are stuck in a cocktail rut.

For example…Take Joe and Tracy. A nice couple from Des Moines passing through Mason City last summer. They happened to be browsing HyVee’s rum selection at the same time as the Iowa Roadie.

One hour later, they left with FOUR bottles of alcohol they had never heard of.

(You’re welcome HyVee. I am still waiting for that commission check.)

Now…in a normal situation, the Iowa Roadie’s random encounter with Joe & Tracy would have ended there. The couple would have left in agreement to NEVER talk to strangers again…while still enjoying the Little Beers I suggested.

Take Away #1…Never underestimate the Iowa Roadie and the power of Social Media.

Before departing, Tracy & I became “Facebook Friends.” This means that we are essentially Connected For Life.

Minus a power glitch.

Or the Iowa Roadie being put in Facebook jail.

Regardless…Fast forward seven months to January 2022.

(Sidebar…My two or three loyal readers will recall a blog I wrote a year ago about The Cottontail in Urbandale, and an 89-year-old Navy veteran named Ivan who traveled the country jump roping and tap dancing at the same time.)

Link to blog about Ivan

Ironically my new Connected For Life friend Tracy happens to live just BLOCKS from The Cottontail where Ivan is now hosting his 90th birthday party.

So when Tracy messaged me (virtually a complete stranger) and asked if we would like to stay in her spare bedroom after attending Ivan’s party, I agreed without hesitation.

The Iowa Roadie’s husband pointed out that Dateline episodes revolve around this very scenario.

Take Away #2….A FREE room is always worth the risk of being featured on true crime television.


Take Away #3…A FREE room means more money for alcohol.

We met Joe & Tracy at The Cottontail which was standing room only because Ivan is an ICON. Meaning Ivan is a 90-year-old legend whose heart grows in proportion to the candles on his birthday cake. I believe that the world would be a better place if we took a few cues from Ivan. The Iowa Roadie is honored to have been invited & included in his birthday celebration.

Performing at Ivan’s party was Mike Aceto, a guitarist/vocalist/songwriter with “a wide array of musical influences and experiences.” (That is according to his bio on mikeaceto.com.) The Iowa Roadie had never heard of Mike Aceto. We are now Facebook friends. .

(For the record…unlike Facebook Friend Tracy, Facebook Friend Mike has NOT offered to house the Iowa Roadie & husband the next time we are in Des Moines. I guess Facebook Friend Mike watches Dateline.)

Despite his lack of hospitality, Mike reminded me of a piano bar with a guitar…playing crowd requests from Johnny Cash to Bon Jovi. My favorite was an original song—Watering Hole—that could be the Iowa Roadie’s theme song.

Also… Mike cared about Ivan enough to play for FREE!

The Iowa Roadie respects good people…and Mike Aceto is “good people.”

Mike wrapped up his show around midnight. On a normal night, the Iowa Roadie would turn into a pumpkin about this time. However Facebook Friend Tracy still had her glass slippers on and led us to Stormy’s, another neighborhood establishment just down the street.

When we arrived at Stormy’s, karaoke was just wrapping up. This was good for Stormy’s customers because the Iowa Roadie has been known to belt out a mean (Translated: Terrible) rendition of “Sweet Caroline” or some random Joan Jett number.

So without the pressure of unleashing one’s inner rock star, the Iowa Roadie & company were content to plop ourselves at the bar. Here we began chatting with the bartender…a gentle giant of a man sporting a T-shirt that read “My beard is my spirit animal.”

He also claimed to make the BEST Bloody Mary’s. According to him, the secret is in the dill sauce…a condiment that he claimed was VERY difficult to find.

Thank goodness for Amazon Prime.

I quickly found the elusive mystery ingredient online. However, before I could hit the “buy now” button, the Iowa Roadie’s husband confiscated my phone.

According to him, I had consumed too many gin & tonics to be left unsupervised on Amazon.

The Iowa Roadie’s husband, however, was drinking Beer. Evidently Beer does not affect one’s cyber shopping ability, as he completed the dill sauce transaction without incident.

Dilly Dilly!

Also without incident was our stay with Joe & Tracy. We had a lovely time hanging out with our new friends & their adorable pair of French bulldogs.

AND, for the record, no one became the subject of a whodunit podcast.

In exchange for Joe & Tracy’s generosity in providing free accommodations, the Iowa Roadie presented them with a small token of appreciation.

Four bottles of alcohol.

Purchased from HyVee.

Delivered straight to their door.

A gift some might describe…as KILLER.

Happy birthday to Ivan the Great!
Our bartender at Stormy’s…claims dill sauce is the secret ingredient in his Bloody Mary’s.
Mike Aceto
No Dateline episode here…The Iowa Roadie & husband with new Facebook Friends Tracy & Joe
The Cottontail Lounge


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