I was heading for a “weekend in Dallas”. We call it that, or “DFW”. But no one up there thinks of it as one city like Houston/Clear Lake/Sugar Land/Katy/Cypress/Conroe/The Woodlands/Waller/Humble/Kingwood/ad infinitum does. It’s two or three cities depending on who you’re talking to: Dallas, Fort Worth, and the “Mid Cities”.
Friday I got out of town finally about 2pm, braved the traffic of I-45 North to head for my good friend Jen in Colleyville, Texas. I arrive to a gated street: got past it. I arrive to a locked door: note, key under mat. I call the troop who just left for Mexican food: JohnMarsha, Conn, and Jen.
I find them up the road at Esparza’s in Grapevine. An old town that appears to have once been quaint, and now appears to be an outdoor mall for invading suburbanites. Esparza’s an ostensibly Mexican restaurant that was more of a meat market vibe â€“ Conn and I both had the stink of fresh meat about us.
Most the food was gone when I arrived. The salsa not spicy enough. The queso, ok. The freely offered enchilada from Marsha looked very unappetizing, and the nachos I ordered had good fajita meat on it and Velveetaâ„¢. We finished dinner and beat a retreat to Jen’s place.
A beer or two later, we headed for the door toward Arlington, and W. Division. West Division is a quite colorful street, I’ll estimate the count: 5 bail bondsmen, 8 motor hotels older than 50 years, 13 used car lots, 5 dive bars.
Including Stumpy’s Blues Bar, with a large parking lot, and about 50 spaces next to the building dedicated for motorcycles. We bumped into the two we were meeting, Joe and Vaneeta, in the parking lot. We paid our $5 and were in. To see the Velvet Love Box.
VLB played for MarshaJohn’s wedding in San Antonio and once at the Lights in the Heights Christmas Party at Mary’s. “Holy Shit, we were just talking about you guys last night.” They expect to see us randomly every year or two, but this was a new venue they’d never played so the surprise was even greater. We’re still on their list for two of the best gig’s they’ve ever had. They’re up for Best Cover Band somewhere in the DFW, so vote for them.
The people watching at this venue was stellar! We drank all of their Miller High Life and only a few of us were drinking that. We also put quite a dent in their JÃ¤germeister and Rumple Minze. $350 later the seven of us called it a Friday (despite it being Saturday).
Saturday morning, we arose, broke fast with Whataburger, and prepared ourselves for a 3pm Rangers Astros showdown. Running late, as expected, we got to our fabulous club level first base seats after the first inning. The crew from the night before plus two: Mark and Mary.
We instantly began our game of “pass the cup”: everyone antes, you hold the cup for a batter, double or more wins, otherwise pass it. We started with all nine of us, and added two strangers. The sun that started on our backs was gone by the fourth inning. Not surprisingly every single server in the club level knew Jen.At the top of our aisle was a “Irish Pub” that sold 16 oz. Smithwicks for $5.25 and never hassled a 39 year old for his ID (which was good because I forgot my wallet). Aramark (the vendor at the Juice Box) Sucks!
I never had the cup pay me, and the Astros lost 7-2. We made it to the post-game free Robert Earl Keen show on the north lawn. The sound was horrible! Two songs later we were headed to the car, and back to Colleyville. We hung out at Chez Jen, ordered Chinese take-out, enjoyed each others company, had some beers, had some shots, and some of us played a little Apples to Apples – a good way to frivolously pass the time.
After shuffling JohnMarsha off to the DFW, Jen, Conn and I vegetated on the furniture. Watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Producers, spiced with Dublin Dr Pepper and leftover Chinese food.
Then a five-hour road trip back to Houston.