Thanks for trying…it was fun

My husband and I donned our respective Vikings jerseys Sunday evening in anticipation. We decided to view the football game from home, rather than head to the pub or to a neighbor’s house, mostly because he had been out on a lake earlier in the day and gotten soaking wet, so he climbed into his favorite jammie pants when he got in the house and we were all comfy and settled in.

A few minutes into the game, after Brett Favre had gotten the snot knocked out of him several plays in a row, we both started to worry. After a handful of turnovers, we saw the writing on the wall. And at the end of the game, we both sat in silence, saddened by the loss.

Then I started thinking about it a bit.

Sports are for entertainment. Sure, the professional players get paid such obscene amounts of money that they should be able to cure diseases and solve world problems, but in truth, they are just there to entertain. They really don’t have another purpose.

The Vikings entertained this season, so they did their job. I had a darn good time following the team, cheering with friends and family, jumping around the living room hollering and high-fiving, watching my husband try to climb through the TV screen to have words with Brad Childress…what’s not to love about that kind of thing?

Some of the activities at our local pub during the football games were a hoot. There was great food, an occasional free beer after a touchdown, and the enjoyment that comes with being in a large group of people all cheering for the same thing. Synchronized cheers, groans and shouts at referees were just plain fun to experience.

From the semi-heated debates about the merits of Favre to the sight of my mom cheering when the Vikings went offside during a game a few weeks ago, it has all been engaging and entertaining.

The final game against the Saints was mind-boggling and exciting and kept us on the edge of our seats. The loss was tough, but we had fun during the game. If our neighbors had looked in the front picture window and seen us dancing around the living room in our jerseys and jammie pants during the first touchdown, they would have laughed. I know we did.

Yes, I would have loved to see the boys in purple at the Superbowl, but I’m not going to be too upset about the loss. Because it was a fun season.

So, thanks for the memories, Vikings. It was a good time. I’ll be waiting to cheer you on again next year.

Where everybody knows your name

Monday night, the Avoca Bar was hopping during the Vikings-Packers football game, and those who attended walked away smiling because their team won and pleased because there was a ton of wonderful things to eat while they were there.

Several people had gotten together and decided to bring in food, so there were about five different kinds of soups, freshly baked bread, buns and garlic toast, as well as cheese, crackers and meat slices.

My friend Mary Klopstad made what could quite possibly have been the best chicken noodle soup I have ever tasted in my life. I ate the first bowl out of hunger and the second just because it was so good. I barely managed to hold myself back from having a third bowl, and what I really wanted to do was just roll around and wallow in it. Yep, it was that good.
On a chilly night, we ate soup and munchies and drank a few beers and watched the Vikings pound on the Packers. What a great night. My parents stopped up for the first half of the game, and everyone cheered, yelled and gasped in unison during each play.

What a great night.

Sometimes walking into the pub in Avoca reminds me of scenes from the TV show Cheers. I always expect Norm to come in for a beer mumbling about a dog-eat-dog world and Milkbone underwear.

It is a place where there’s always a friendly face, where there is always someone to visit with, and where many problems have been solved. And I don’t mean with beer. It is not uncommon for someone to stop up because they need a hand with something, some information or whatever.

Actually, the official name of the bar is the Avoca Municipal Liquor Store, but locals generally refer to it as the bar, the pub, the pop shop, the bank or uptown. Those who frequent from small surrounding towns tend to just call the bar Avoca, as in “I’m heading to Avoca. Stop in and have a beer.”

The building used to be a bank years ago, which explains that nick-name. The rest are pretty self-explanatory.

Last year, construction of a new partition was completed, and the place is much bigger and lighter than some may remember. If you haven’t been by in a few years, stop in and see it.

Just like Cheers, among the regulars you’ll find your Cliff Klavin, Carla Tortelli and Norm Peterson personalities. Sometimes just walking in to buy a 6-pack of pop can be an adventure if you get caught up in one of the odd conversations.

Frankly, I think the Avoca Bar is a large part of the city’s quirky charm.

Making your way in the world today takes everything you got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same, you wanna be where everybody knows your name.