Monroe Management

20 12 2010

Monroe, Louisiana the night before Thanksgiving. Not even the gay bar is open. We did manage to find a local, independent restaurant by the river, built on warehouse site with beautiful cedar interior walls and a reputation for friendly service.

Jim went straight for the bar, passing by a pretty young waitress with no tables to serve. The place was empty, sans a few of the help.  When we pulled up the stools, the waitress, ever persistent, followed, but seeing three guys behind the bar, Jim didn’t give her the time of day. He put his order in with the bartender who turned to cook, who spoke to the manager, who approved and the waitress went home. Such a pro, that Jim.

We spent dinner mostly catching up on the past year’s events in local politics. Being a Republican, Jim kept his distance from my campaign. He did, however, attend our kickoff party on the Beach, which, as luck would have it, came on one of the most rainy and nasty days of summer. I recall my points on solar power getting a few chuckles that day.

After dinner we went back to the hotel, where a friend of Jim’s was working in the lounge. He was a native of Monroe and had seen Jim make this trip many times before. We chatted briefly about the economy, the oil spill, mutual connections in New Orleans, that kind of stuff. Nothing too probing.

The lounge was full with members of a wedding party. There were a lot of guys dipping smokeless tobacco and drinking out of bottles. Some made croonin’ attempts on the karaoke machine. It was rather amusing.

Jim and I retired back to the room after just one drink. As is customary, Jim sleeps with the television on, turned up loud — Fox News still his choice for information. We talked a little bit about Monroe. Jim told me how he did a lot of business with the paper mill here and the emergence of natural gas as a major industry for the region. Then he drifted off to sleep.

I settled into my bed and did a little social networking on my I-phone. The drive to Monroe didn’t seem near as boring as last year. I think my new glasses helped. This year, I was noticing different things, seeing people through different eyes and, there was no doubt, I was a different man.

Tomorrow we would give thanks — and we both had much to be thankful for.





One response

21 12 2010
Don Harris

Sounds like you and Jim have agreed to disagree, at least politically. It’s good that you can do that. I wouldn’t say that I’ve lost friends over politics, but there are people I sort of avoid because I don’t feel like listening to them.

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