Thursday, May 20, 2010

Apple Pie, Baseball and Packo's

Well, I don't think there was really apple pie to be found, but there was plenty of hot dogs and cotton candy. And the baseball was the Toledo Mud Hens game last Sunday versus the Indianapolis Pirates. We don't live in Toledo. We don't even live in Ohio, but its a nice little drive to it and we decided to experience one more thing that's a fun little trivia piece of our obsession with the old television series, M*A*S*H.

We had ventured down previously to eat at the world-renown, ok...maybe not WORLD renown, Packo's, a place mentioned many times by Private Max Q. Klinger as he often reminisced of his beloved days in Toledo. Hungarian hot dogs. It's a quirky, fun place and the food is really good. It's not exactly a place ideal for those with lots of food allergies, such as myself, but the experience makes up for it. And I'm finding a couple of things there I can have once in a blue moon. Much of their fare is spiced with their famous Hungarian Paprika. My advise....get a large drink! There are pictures of M*A*S*H scenes all over. Their claim to fame is having celebrities sign "hot dog buns" and they are displayed all over the establishment. I still wonder if they are real hot dog buns or simply pieces of wood made to look like buns. Even though they are adequately sealed, the thought of decades-old buns is a little nauseating.

So, since we had experienced Packo's, twice now, we decided to go to a Mud Hens game. I had never been in the downtown area of Toledo. It reminded me a lot of a little Milwaukee, which, in my opinion is a very good thing. I love Milwaukee. The stadium is a very nice stadium for a minor league stadium. The attendance was outstanding with tons of excitement and support for their local team. The food offerings were the usuals that are found in all stadiums. Again, not the greatest for someone with food allergies. But I came prepared with my own supply of Craisins, an apple and corn chips. There was the regional favorite of sausage races, hot dog tosses and cute mascots, Muddy and Muddonna. Yes, that's what I said. It was "Kids Day" and they were certainly well represented. My favorites were the ones that were about 2 to 3 years old and cute as a bug. My least favorite were the 8-10 yr old girls that decided every time the scoreboard said, "Make Some Noise" had to scream the most blood-curdling, high C scream. And not just a little. Long......constant......screams. But the old woman holding her ears needs to get over herself and realize the kids were having a good time at a great American tradition.

We managed to score seats just behind home plate. I KNOW! We sat among all the scouts. Mets, Tigers and a few we could never quite figure out. They sat with their speed-guns, papers, stopwatches and stats. I never realized quite so much paperwork goes into being a scout. It was interesting to watch. And the guy sitting next to me, the Tigers scout, was actually wearing a real World Series ring. I had never seen one in real life and I was impressed. I know, it doesn't take much. What didn't impress me was the two "hens" that sat behind us. Two men, somewhere in the neighborhood of 55-60 years old, yacked more than my aunts do when they get together. If anyone ever says women are the gossips, you can tell them I said it's not true! These guys talked about everything and everyone under the sun. One certainly had lots and lots of colorful language and it was always said at a few decibels more than the rest. Their armchair coaching amused the Mets scout sitting directly in front of us. I often caught him turning his head slightly sideways so he could catch what was being said and then he would always grin, as if he'd heard a good joke or something.

The Mud Hens won their game in the bottom of the 9th. As we were leaving the stadium, and my hubby retrieved his forgotten backpack, we spied another Packo's location across the street! Nothing could finish out our day like another visit to Packo's. It was more than a day of baseball and hot dogs. It was a day in the life of Private Max Q. Klinger. Eleven years of M*A*S*H (and 30 years of reruns!) has brought my family a great deal of enjoyment and fun over the years. This past weekend was maybe one of the best, thanks to Max.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Iron Man 2 at Midnight

Well, I certainly had an interesting night last night. I went to my first midnight movie. My son and, eventually, a friend of his wanted to see the opening showing of "Iron Man 2". Now, my son is my movie "buddy" as my husband doesn't care for movies much and seeing them in theaters even less. Over the years I've seen a lot of movies I really didn't care to see because that's what interested my son. I was grateful when he started reaching an age that more action-packed movies were on his list. "Chick flicks" are still on my own, therefore I'm very much behind on the one's I'd like to see, but I'm pretty up-to-date on action films.

Now I need to tell you that I've never been one to stay up till the middle of the night, not even when I was young. I may stay up late but it's in my own home and I'm all tucked in. My son came to me and asked if I'd go see the midnight show with him, knowing I thoroughly enjoyed the first Iron Man. It took me a few days to get used to the idea of actually leaving the house when most people with sense are asleep. But since it's our "thing", I was grateful he wanted to take his 'ol Ma and spend time with me. When his friend mentioned wanting to go, I eagerly offered to give him my ticket so the boys could go sans Ma. Nothing doing! Ma is going, so if that's ok with the friend, he can come with us.

So I caffinated myself even more than usual yesterday and actually took a short nap, hoping to ward off any chance that I'd be found snoring at some point during the movie. We arrived an hour and a half early and retrieved the pre-purchased tickets from their little red box. The cinema was showing the movie in 2 theaters. We were allowed to go in, sit and wait. It was important to stake out good seats as soon as possible. You would think being so early, we wouldn't have a lot of competition for those choice positions. You would be wrong. There were quite a number of high school kids already there and growing roots. Over the next many minutes the place filled up with more and more kids that looked to be high school age. Eventually, in a theater of maybe 300 seats, it was packed. I made mental count that there MAY have been 4 of us that were over 25. And a couple of us had that beat by quite a bit. But it was certainly an interesting feel being in the midst of so many young people. It reminded me of my own days of high school when we were called to the gym for an assembly. Remember those? Remember the freedom we felt as we got out of class for something fun? The hallways would loudly buzz with activity and once in the gym everyone was looking for friends, calling across the bleachers and floor to each other and generally having a good time. There were always the cliques of giggling girls, athletes that stuck together and acted like hot stuff because they knew everyone was watching them and the few that could find trouble where there was none. It always seemed to take a minute of so to get everyone quieted and settled enough to begin with whatever was on the agenda for that day. This theater felt much the same. And I felt very conspicuous among them. And old.

About 40 minutes before the movie was to begin, I heard this strange sound and asked my son. We listened and turned around to find a few boys blowing up beach balls. I found it humorous and said, "That reminds me of the segment 'What's That Sound' on America's Funniest Home Videos. The videos prove its never what you think. So these beach balls start getting tossed around and many of the kids cheer and begin participating. It seems like good, clean fun for a few minutes until one boy (isn't there always SOMEONE?) gets hold of a ball and proceeds to squeeze the ball with his fingers turned in and pops the ball. He seems quite proud of his accomplishment. The place erupts into booing. There are 3 more balls continuing to be tossed here and there. Eventually each of those balls found their way in his vicinity and he repeated his previous action to each one. The room, collectively, is very unhappy and mad. And all I could think was, "Oh, no, what if a riot starts?" One boy, that sat directly in front of us threw his popcorn all over Mr. Ball-Popper. Ooooooo, that should show him! Mr. Ball-Popper quickly follows suit and tosses his very large soda up and all over Mr. Popcorn. What stopped Mr. Popcorn from hurling himself down on top of Mr. Ball-Popper, I don't know. He was certainly in position but the voice in his head must have been screaming that he should have more sense than that or something. The room erupts in pointing at Mr. Ball-Popper, much like the ever-popular tomahawk chop and chanting endlessly, "A&*-Hole, A&*-Hole, A&*-Hole........" . We've definitely left MY assembly experiences behind. I'm still preparing for the ensuing riot coming, when everyone settled down. I eventually realize that the cinema's manager and a couple of other employees have walked in and are standing "guard", if you will. At least the inmates, however voluntary, recognize an authority figure and reacted appropriately. This 'ol Ma is breathing a sigh of relief!

Only a short few minutes later and the movie starts. My fear of a rowdy crowd during the movie was unfounded. Everyone was glued to the action and seemingly loved the movie as much as I did. Only yawns caught up with me in the last 15 minutes or so, but sleep was kept at bay. There was certainly too much going on to even consider sleeping. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my son and his friend and I definitely enjoyed the movie. But I can't say that I'm a lover of midnight showings of blockbusters. I'm glad I experienced it, but I have a new appreciation for my matinees in theaters that are sparsely attended, with maybe a few kids with their mothers, depending on the movie. I enjoy being the one that lowers the age average of the room instead of raising it. But, one thing I cannot acquiesce and that's spending the time with my son. I'm grateful that he wants his mom to see some movies with him. I was grateful that he wasn't embarrassed by having me with him and that he has friends that didn't mind my presence either. THAT was my Mother's Day gift to my heart!