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Wednesday, 14 February 2007 00:00

Tipping one back with Baby

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By Carl Iobst

Gee, what’ll they think of next. In Olympia, the capital of Washington state, there’s a state representative that’s proposing that dogs be allowed to drink in bars. Well not exactly drink, although I’m sure that some dog owners might pour a cool one in one of those collapsible doggy bowls for their thirsty purebreds now and then.

 

The bill will allow bars and restaurants with liquor licenses to “welcome dogs, as long as they accompany their owners and remain leashed. Establishments wouldn’t be required to allow dogs except for service animals.”

This whole business reminds me of the time I was hoisting a few with an acquaintance of mine in another state when I was much younger and only half as smart as I am now. My drinking buddy Vic and me were in his pickup careening down dusty back roads one hot southern summer afternoon. In the back, as he barely kept the truck between the ditches, was his gigantic female Mastiff ‘Baby,’ who occasionally gave out deafening howls. Which upon sober recollection much later, was probably an indication she was coming into season.

Vic was speeding along and had just spotted a box turtle up ahead to play ‘chicken’ with when I shouted “Hey, there’s a bar up ahead. Let’s get some more beer.”

Vic immediately forgot all about running the box turtle over and shouted “Hell yeah. I’m as dry as a bone — we need some more brewskys before we pick up the girls.”

He gunned the motor and simultaneously hit the brakes and we did a near perfect power slide, with only a little skittering of the rear end on the graveled lot. The truck came to a stop just a tad cross-ways in front of the place. We both jumped out slamming the doors on the rusty Ford and ‘Baby’ launched herself out of the bed and landed in the dirt with a loud ‘woof.’

We all walked in through the open screen door. As our eyes began to adjust to the dark interior I couldn’t help but notice the jukebox blaring an old George Jones/Tammy Wynette song, which instinctively made me feel in my pocket for my Gerber lock blade — just in case. The honky tonk seemed to have all of the standard furnishings for a red neck bar in the deep South — a huge Confederate Battle Flag tacked up on one wall, pictures of NASCAR drivers with their cars, half-nekkid girls posing on out-of-date wall calendars, several tables and chairs, a pool table, and a long bar at the back.

Behind the bar stood a balding fat man wearing a T-shirt that looked as if he’d been fixing cars and drinking chocolate milk. “What y’all boys drankin’?” the Junior Samples look-a-like bellowed at us. Vic hollered back, “Give us a couple a drafts and a case of Bud to go mister.”

While the barkeep was busy drawing us a couple of beers I happened to look over past the end of the bar. Just to the left of the door that said “This way to Outhouse.” I noticed a big mottled bull dog spread out in the cool stillness. I thought we needed to sure as all get out or there was going to be a dog fight. Next thing I knew Mr. Grease and Chocolate T-shirt was setting down two dog bowls full of cheap beer for the bull dog and Vic’s mastiff. “It’ll keep them dawgs more sociable boys,” said the barkeep.

Damned if it wasn’t so. After a few more rounds we all three staggered out to the truck with our case-to-go and both me and Vic had to load ‘Baby’ up in the bed ‘cause she sure couldn’t have made the jump in her condition. We sped off into the gathering darkness all three of us howling at the moon.

So I guess its OK for some Washington state left-coasters to make legal what we Southerners have been doing on the sly for years. If you want to take your canine riding partner into the bar with you, just make sure you show the pooch where the outhouse door is.

(Carl Iobst was raised in Jackson County and lives in Cullowhee.)

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