Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Stump

Laurie and Donna 2002-ish

Several years ago, my friend Donna and I spent the weekend at her boyfriend's lake house on Sam Rayburn lake. At the time, the thing to do in Jasper on a Saturday night is have dinner at "The Stump" and stay for karaoke. As far as I know, this is still the thing to do on a Saturday night in Jasper. I wouldn't know. I haven't gone back.

"The Stump" was everything you'd expect a place called "The Stump" to be. Most of the menu was fried and covered in either gravy or tartar sauce. The clientele at "The Stump" included city folks in town for the weekend and locals. This particular weekend was the weekend of Tracy Byrd's annual fishing tournament. That fact becomes important later in the story.

Donna and I had dinner and afterward, we moved to a different table for a better view of the karaoke festivities.  I love karaoke and I especially enjoy the non-great karaokers.  They have no shame and most of them are usually well-lubricated, which makes them even more fun to watch.

One of the first performers that night was a guy who sang some sappy song to his wife of one year.  They apparently met at "The Stump."  I will refrain from making a snippy comment about the fact that they met at "The Stump" because they were genuinely nice people. When he finished his lovely tribute, the guy joined his wife at the table beside our table.

At one point in the evening, I noticed a tall good-looking blond guy come into the restaurant/bar/karaoke club and lean seductively against a wall. I commented to Donna that he looked like Alan Jackson. She said, "Well, you know Tracy Byrd's fishing tournament is in town and sometimes celebrities come in for it." I could tell, however, by the non-reaction of the crowd around the "cowboy" that he obviously was not Alan Jackson.  I had a feeling this crowd could have picked Alan Jackson out of a lineup at fifty paces in a snowstorm.

As we were watching the singers and minding our own business, a guy came to the table and asked Donna for "a light." She gave him a light and he sat there and talked to her for a while and left. I asked her what he said and she responded, "He was an idiot. I told him I was married." The next thing we knew, he was back at our table with "Alan Jackson."

"Alan" sat beside me. He stretched his long legs out and accidentally-on-purpose hit one of his legs on the table. He actually said, "My legs are so long, I have trouble sometimes." I smiled and said, "Uh-huh." I turned my attention back to the karaoke and he leaned over and said, "Do you like country music?" I said, "Yes." I was doing my best to not encourage him, but he had apparently decided I was his goal for the evening.

I could tell that "Alan Jackson" thought I wasn't catching on to his hints. So, he decided to pull out the big guns.  He asked, "Do you like the song 'Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?'" I said, "Yes." He leaned back in his chair, stretched out his long Alan-Jackson-like legs and nodded knowingly at me assuming that I would assume that he was indeed Alan Jackson.  We all know what happens when we assume.  I did not assume that he was Alan Jackson, but he assumed that I did.

I became concerned, because I didn't know what was scarier. Did this guy want me to believe he was Alan Jackson or did this guy actually think he was Alan Jackson? My reply to him was, "Ah hah." It was not a Sherlock Holmes type exclamation of "ah-hah!" it was more of a you're a psycho, go away and leave me alone type of "ah-hah."

I have no idea what Donna's pursuer was telling her but she was equally unimpressed. The stalkers eventually got up and left but we weren't alone for long. Our next admirer was a very young guy who once again asked Donna for "a light." Evidently, this is a popular opening line at "The Stump."  Donna gave him a light and he sat down. The older guy he was with asked me to dance and I went. When I got back to the table, Donna said the young guy told her the older guy I was dancing with had gotten him into the club because he was under the drinking age (21 years old) and he wanted to know if she liked younger guys. She told him she had a son his age, but that didn't bother him one tiny Jasper bit.

Back on the karaoke stage the first guy who asked Donna for a light ("Alan Jackson's" friend) was trying to sing and I mean trying with a capital "T."  I have seen a lot of karaoke in my day but this, by far, was the worst. He couldn't find the key and was moving randomly (and rapidly) from octave to octave while trying to sing some Eagle's song. It was quite the spectacle.

We clapped politely and he came back to the table and asked Donna, "How did you like that?" I don't know what she said but it had to be an Oscar-worthy performance because he didn't hit her or anything. "Alan Jackson" came back to the table (they had apparently decided to work together to try to close the deal) and the creepy pair invited us to leave with them and go back to their trailer and sit around a campfire and listen to them sing. I am not even kidding about that.  That was their actual proposal for the rest of our evening.  More Oscar-worthy performances all around, because they once again didn't hit us or anything.  They finally went away when they could tell it wasn't going to happen.

Not to be outdone, "Young Guy" and "Old Guy" came back to the table. I went to dance with "Old Guy" while Donna was verbally accosted by horny young guy once again. When I got back to the table, there were finally no men around and Donna looked at me and said, "Are you ready to leave?"

I said, "Please, God, yes."

As we turned around to say goodbye to the anniversary couple, who evidently had been watching the whole sordid affair, the wife looked at us and simply said, "RUN!"  We started out casually walking to the door but, when we got outside, we walked faster and faster until we were actually running to the car.

We made it back to the lake house with our lives and our creepified dignity.  By the way, Alan Jackson, if you were at "The Stump" in Jasper, Texas in the fall of 2002, I was just playing hard to get. Call me.


Susan in St. Paul said...

was this the same trip where the guys were baiting the alligators?

Laurie said...

No, we were with the alligator guys. They were our friends.