A Weekend Of Cheer (And Beer)

It’s a Monday morning, and I’m easing back into the week as much as I’m able, following what had to be a nearly perfect weekend.

Last Friday afternoon, the Texas Gal and I headed toward Minneapolis, where we met jb – the proprietor of The Hits Just Keep On Comin’­ – and his Mrs. for a weekend of touring, talk, dining and a little bit of beer tasting. Our stops in St. Paul Saturday afternoon included the State Capitol plaza, the Cathedral of St. Paul, the ornate James J. Hill House (a mansion built in the 1890s by the railroad magnate) and lunch at the St. Clair Grill, a well-known neighborhood eatery on Snelling Avenue.

On the western side of the Twin Cities, our stops were a little less heavy, though no less fun: Our hotel was located at the Seven Corners intersection, adjacent to the West Bank campus of the University of Minnesota. So we explored the neighborhood, lifting a few glasses at the Town Hall Brewery – I thought the Scotch Ale was particularly fine though I think jb preferred the Red India Pale Ale – and dining Saturday evening at the blessedly well-cooled Corner Bar. We also spent a few minutes – unsurprisingly, I imagine – at Cheapo’s in Uptown, digging through a few crates of records and bins of CDs.

And the Texas Gal and I shared some of the little we know about the Twin Cities on drives that took us along Minnehaha Parkway in Minneapolis, past the amazing mansions of Summit Avenue in St. Paul, and through a portion of the University of Minnesota’s main campus; our route there took us past various homes of the Minnesota Gophers: Williams Arena, Mariucci Arena and the new TFC Bank Stadium.

Notwithstanding the fine day that was Saturday, however, I think one of the major highlights of the weekend for jb and for me came Friday evening, when the four of us were joined at Gluek’s restaurant in downtown Minneapolis by Yah Shure, a frequent visitor to and commenter at our blogs. Gluek’s is one of the oldest restaurants in Minneapolis, and its beer-hall ambience was a little noisier than we might have liked, but it was a fine place for three self-acknowledged music and radio geeks to share tales, with the Mrs. and the Texas Gal listening and smiling indulgently. (I’m more aptly described as an honorary radio geek, as I never worked in the business; my limited radio days came in college, but I do love the medium.)

As we talked over dinner and some Gluek brand brews, I marveled at how the Internet and the community of music blogging has helped to create the equivalent of the pen pal of years gone by: a friend one hopes to meet someday. That described jb and me until our first meeting here in St. Cloud about a year ago – this weekend’s get-together, our fourth, was informally titled Midwest Blog Fest & Beer Spree IV – and now, Yah Shure is no longer that friend one hopes to meet someday but simply a friend. I’m sure that more opportunities for the three of us to share tales lie ahead, and I’m certain that we’ll grab hold of those opportunities as they arrive.

Among the topics we touched on Friday evening at Gluek’s – and later at a much quieter locale where conversation was easier – was the difficulty of finding various rare singles from the 1960s and the 1970s, the eras where all three of us are very much at home musically. Yah Shure remedied a few of those problems for jb and for me by handing each of us during the evening a copy of Dick Bartley Presents Collector’s Essentials: The ’70s, a CD on the Varèse Sarabande label that’s long been out of print. Some of the tracks on the CD are favorites; some I might have heard once or twice during that long-ago but ever-present decade. And one of them has a title that seemed appropriate this morning as I thought about the entire weekend: “Cheer” by Potliquor [Janus 179, 1972]


2 Responses to “A Weekend Of Cheer (And Beer)”

  1. jb says:

    I concur, although I am guessing that the Mrs. and the Texas Gal were not smiling indulgently so much as they were thinking, “Cripes, look at the geek I married.”

    Thanks for the tour and the hospitality.

  2. Yah Shure says:

    Thank you for the invitation to the great time Friday night. It was a privilege to play the role of the third Stooge for the benefit of the Mrs. and the Texas Gal, both of whom were very much involved in the discussion.

    whiteray, you may officially ditch that provisional “honorary” tag: True radio geekitude crosses all professional and age boundaries. You displayed more radio geekery in one sitting than many of those in the business do over a lifetime; and yes, that is meant as a compliment of the highest order.

    It was a real treat to meet all of the guilty parties. Cheer, indeed!

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