Work is done for the week, phew! So, as I sit here with my dinner (aka, banana pudding), I will continue with the small details of the last week in the life of P.
So, I was regaling you masses with the details of the Grand Ole Opry when last we spoke. The Opry is this little country western bar near the top of a steep hill one block off the main drag of Itaewon. A has told you that Itaewon is the ex-pat capital of Seoul, and I’d say the Opry should be the poster child for ex-pat Americans. As soon as you walk in the dark wood, smokey atmosphere, and wagon wheel chandelier tell you that you’ve suddenly stepped out of the bustling modern metropolis and into a small corner of honkytonk heaven. Being a beach music bum from SC by blood, I was unaware that my country education was limited. Let me take those of you who are like I was to school: cowboy hats, tucked in shirts, belt buckles measured by the pound, straight cut Levi’s and Wranglers tucked into custom worn out boots that kick up a cloud of dust every time they stamp the hard wood raised dance floor in time to “Good Time” by Alan Jackson; Men coaching women, “left – right – left – right – left crossover – right crossover – kick – kick – kick – kick turn,” before the music changes and everybody is boot scooting counterclockwise to their own version of the two-step. Jack and Coke is sold by the bucket for about $10, and Budweiser is the beer of choice at about $2.50. Everybody has their place in the dance like a masquerade ball, but there are never any strangers who enter the Opry: just new friends. Minus the mason jars, the Opry is “this bar” that Toby Keith tells us about in “I Love This Bar.” E2 to O6 are welcome, and the only ranks in the bar are “Mama” (she owns it), and the DJ, who’s another soldier leading the line. At midnight, every night, they play “God Bless America” and “The Star Spangled Banner” while everyone stops to face the stars and stripes, which hang next to the crossed stripes of the Rebel Flag. After the National Anthem played, “Colonel” took the floor with the only lady brave enough to join him. Considering 2 whimpered off in fear, and no one else was dancing, I was curious what this man was about to do while “Dueling Banjos” by the Allman Brothers played. When I saw this man’s feet prance at break neck speed keeping pace with the banjos and beating out a powerful staccato on the dance floor I understood why it was Colonel’s song, and only he danced to it. Far be it for this Irishman to say, but that four eyed balding Texan with hard heeled cowboy boots kicked the living crap out of Michael Flatley. It was truly an impressive and heart warming night. I felt a little bit at home, when the lady that makes this country home was away in Alabama. I couldn’t understand why one female soldier was crying that she was leaving Korea. I asked if she really liked Korea so much, and she said, “No! I hate this place! But, I’m going to miss this bar and all my friends.”
Friday night ended in a cabin ride and long
night’s morning’s sleep. I woke up Saturday to an empty apartment that I just couldn’t stay in. So, I headed to Yongsan to run a few errands.
You know how there’s some things that men think of but women don’t, and some things women think of that men don’t?
I remembered one of those things in Yongsan: Don’t go to the PX on Saturday, when Friday was payday.
It was a ZOO! I swear it was so hard at times for me not to punt small children! I think I’ll leave the small details of that one alone, but you get the picture. So, needless to say, I needed to go to Confession. Funny thing: that was actually on the To Do list. Now, for those of you who know me, I’m a bit of a skeptic, who has made it a goal this year to better embrace my Catholic faith and learn more about my religion. Confession is not on my regular To Do list, but it was pre-Passion Sunday, and I try to get Confession in around Easter every year. So, my Mee-Maw had given me a guide to making better analysis of myself in preparation for confession, and it really helps you delve deeper. Without pontificating, I had a spiritually refreshing Confession at a time when I was feeling down from A being gone, and feeling frustrated and tense from the craziness of Payday PXing. And, when I emerged from the church post-Confession, I all of a sudden noticed all the Cherry Blossoms all over Yongsan had popped and coated the trees in dazzling white. Now, I know they probably had bloomed days prior, and I just missed them earlier in the day. But, in my reality, as I experienced it, it was the first time I had seen them, and it was as if they had all bloomed while I confessed. I thought it was a cool reminder.
I ended up staying for Saturday evening mass celebrated by Father Ken (A has written about him…he’s awesome!), and I decided to stay around for Parish Movie Night. We had BBQ from the Yongsan Navy Club, and we watched “Pope John Paul II” starring Jon Voight and Cary Elwes. It really is an incredible movie…it goes a bit on the long side, but it is a great narrative of Karol Wojtyla’s life. It can be appreciated by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The only thing I didn’t like was the transition from young Karol (Cary Elwes) to Pope John Paul II (Jon Voight), but even that is forgiveable.
Then, Sunday, it was back to work. Studying and prepping for the coming week.
Tuesday…Tuesday. Man, what a great day! Tuesday brought with it a beautiful blue sky…that I got to “work” in again for the first time since December. I can’t tell you how much I missed it, and I can’t describe to you the feeling. Its pretty friggin’ awesome!
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday went by like a blur. Life in the sky is good.
Now, its Friday. Rain. Kind of a bummer, but I’m also kind of tired and kind of need to get some things done around the house. So, what am I doing today? Definitely not cleaning yet…maybe some time later this weekend…who knows? I’d say the only major bummer is not having A around to bum around with me.
12 more days…