Remember card clubs?

And family reunions?

How about a time when people actually talked rather than texting their friends sitting next to them?

The Dark Ages. I know.

Tonight the Iowa Roadie was reminded of those simpler times. When personal connections did not rely on the latest technology update or social media application. 

When people were just people. 

And sat around and visited.

Via verbal conversation.

No data plan required.

My dad passed away in January. He was 73. He suffered from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). It is a rare degenerative disease that combines the very worst elements of Parkinsons and Alzhiemers. 

Horrible Stuff.

For the last two years of his life, my dad was bed bound. His life was reduced to tv westerns, Andy Griffith, and constant care by my mom & his incredible Hospice team.

When my dad passed away, he was a shell of the man he once was. 

As I said, horrible stuff.

But tonight, sitting at a tiny dive bar, I was reminded of how important family and those long lost personal connections are.

It’s a wake up call you likely won’t get at Applebee’s.

You see, tonight my husband and I went to The Garage Tavern in Coulter, Iowa. Population 219. We sat at the bar and ordered their delicious Philly Cheesesteak Pizza (a taste of Heaven disguised as cheese & their special sauce). 

While waiting for our order, we were approached by a gentleman who asked for my name. When I shared my identity, he then introduced himself as my dad’s younger cousin Roy. 

 Growing up, my parents dragged my siblings and me to family reunions comprised of extended relatives I didn’t know. As a child, these reunions were something to be endured. I could only hope the potluck offered something good to eat or that the reunion site was in a park with a cool playground to escape to. 

Tonight I wondered why we stopped having those reunions.

And when we stopped connecting with others.

Because after Roy introduced himself, we sat and visited.

We talked and laughed.

We recalled that my dad was fiercely competitive and rarely lost at anything he did.

We discussed pepper tournaments and playing cribbage.

We talked about crops, the pheasant population and our family farm.

We talked. Period.

And I thought about my dad.

About how much he would have enjoyed this Iowa Roadie adventure. 

I pictured him sitting at the bar in his Iowa Hawkeyes hat drinking an Old Milwaukee. Beating the pants off everyone in cards.

Talking to strangers.

And Connecting. 

I have visited the loud honkytonks in Nashville. I’ve had hurricane cocktails in New Orleans, fruity drinks with little umbrellas in Belize, and expensive concoctions on a rooftop in Vegas.

But those places can never substitute for the camaraderie & connections that a local dive bar can provide.

Because regardless of who you are or where you come from…when you’re seated around that small town bar counter, you connect.

You are accepted.

You are family.

No upgrade required.

In memory of my dad Ron

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