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November 12, 2012 / Andee Frizzell

Alberta Bound

It was the last year that the iconic Cowboys Bar was going to be open for the Calgary Stampede and my girlfriend Laura and I decided we should plan a road trip to Calgary; to pay our respects to the establishment. Laura had never attended a Stampede before and had many romantic notions of cowboys, pickup trucks and country tunes. I lived in Calgary for many years so I knew what we were heading into, cow patty bingo, parking lot pancake breakfasts with spicy, stiff ceasers and whiskey, Jack Daniels.

We made great time ripping through the mountains, stopping at all the points of interest, taking photos with the taxidermied, dangerous wildlife posed in the tourist information centres and listening to endless country song play lists. Laura must have played Alberta Bound by Paul Brandt like a million times. Seriously!

We were both single at the time and as we sped through the mountain passes we planned our away game strategy. Laura was painfully shy when it came to meeting and (literally) soliciting potential suitors so my wingman expertise was essential to getting Laura her first cowboy.

The story begins at the Roadhouse Bar and Brawl where we were attempting to scan the crowd while leaning provocatively against the tin washbasin that substituted for a beer barrel. Trying to lean on an unstable, ice cold metal bucket and look amazing is a challenging task which I felt we had actually been pulling off as we had just been approached by two young stallions wearing crisp white naval officer uniforms and brimming white ten gallon Stetsons (FYI, a ten gallon Stetson is a HUGE cowboy hat).

Laura’s idea of breaking the ice was in the form of a question. “Hey, are you the two gay guys from the Love Boat?” I never did hear their answer. Luckily, moments later Laura spotted her cowboy near the DJ booth.

Once her target was in sight, I told her to relax. I’d handle the details. I ordered us four shots of whiskey and headed toward the unsuspecting country boy and his not so good-looking sidekick. I knew I was taking one for the team here but I was proud to do it for Laura. I mean really, what are friends for?

We moseyed across the dance floor. I handed the boys their shots. Laura’s pick turned a bright red and averted his eyes to the floor, smiling sheepishly. He was obviously as shy as Laura. But unfortunately for me his friend wasn’t and smiled widely and bellowed a hearty “Thanthss!” I immediately felt mist on my face.

The friend had about four teeth in his whole mouth and they were precariously hanging in there by a track of wire braces. It looked like a metal picket fence that had been through a food twister. And of course he was the conversationalist. I stood in front of this food blowing, spit tossing windbag for about five minutes, wishing the whole time I had a spit guard dangling from the brim of my cowboy hat.

As I stood there facing the gale of saliva and particles of lunch, I ascertained that if Laura didn’t soon seal this deal, I would succumb to drowning!

I finally turned to Laura, defeated and said, “Hell no. I can’t survive this. We’re out of here.”

The instinct of self preservation is stronger than the bonds of the selfless wingman, I’m sorry to say.

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