Ginger and I spent Thursday night at Grim’s Grill and Sports Bar over on Flagler, well away from the action of Old Town, watching her beloved University of Alabama football team beat the crap out of the Texas team; ‘Bama won for the very first time in all the years the teams have played each other, according to Ginger. I learned to yell “Rolllll Tideee!” I figured out later that the reason I was yelling that is because Alabama is known as the “Crimson Tide.” Okay, now I understand.
As soon as Ginger (in floral print capris, coral sweater and white shirt) and I (black skirt and sweater and pink top) walked in we were pegged as out-of-towners and therefore the subject of intense scrutiny. After choosing a table front and center to a television, Ginger and I ordered a bottle of wine, also not a common occurrence from the looks I saw us get when we ordered. We were watched like a bug under a microscope and mentally dissected by Stan (the beer puller man), the huge dude with his wife and son in the booth across from us, the owner (muscle man in Dolphins football shirt), and later Eddie (US Army shirt), among many, many others. Our young waitress, tattooed up one arm and down the other, treated us kindly and with humor, figuring we were harmless.
After some discussion, Ginger and I ordered a la carte from the menu instead of the $40 all-you-could-eat buffet and beer bar (Bud or Bud Light, from what I saw). We started with nacho chips (me) and medium-hot wings (Ginger), and Ginger began chatting up (or arguing with, depending on whose side you were on) the locals. It all started innocently enough. A betting pool was started and Ginger wanted to know (in a kinda loud voice) if it was too late to join. At that point, we were ignored.
The game started and Alabama scored first. Ginger leaped up, punched her fist toward the ceiling and yelled, “Rollll Tideeee!” much to the consternation of some patrons (they’d be the Texas fans) and the delight of others (Alabama fans, of course). Next the Texas quarterback, Colt McCoy got hurt on a play. Now it didn’t look like he was hit hard or anything, but they took him out for x-rays.
Ginger, with a sorrowful shake of her head said, “Well, I hope he’s better tomorrow. Yes. Tomorrow.”
Stan, the beer puller man, nodded his head in agreement, and it took me a split second to figure out the implications of what she’d just said.
With McCoy out for good, Alabama took the ball and ran with it. Part of the bar crowd cheered.
The other part of the bar crowd booed and did that Texas “hooked horns” gesture. I almost wanted to be a Texas fan so I could hook my horns too.
Late in the game with Texas McCoy wearing headphones and bolstering his team, Texas came back, but not far enough. The game ended with Alabama the victor 34-21.
While all this football was going on Ginger would get up periodically and walk around the room, finding out what team people were cheering for (or against). One group, to my left, was Eddie and his friends. Eddie’s a regular at Grim’s, according to Stan, the beer puller man. Eddie and Ginger shouted back and forth. They hassled each other, noisy and with many funny comments, each getting more outrageous than the last. You had to be there. And you had to have had a lot to drink. And then you would have been laughing hysterically at the show within the show.
I spoke to Eddie, a US Army veteran, 82nd Airborne. I don’t know if it’s true but I heard from someone in the bar that he’s on a constant morphine drip, once an hour, 24 hours a day, to help control the constant pain he’s in. God bless him. He and Ginger became fast football friends.