When I went to bed on Friday morning, I knew I was going to have to be a big boy and face some fears this weekend. 

          Saturday night was Joseph’s high school prom and he had asked Stacy and me to drive them.  One of us, I honestly don’t remember which, suggested we use it as our “date night” and get dressed up.

           As much as I would do anything for Stacy, I really hate wearing a suit and tie.  But I’m big and tough and strong. I can handle it.

          When I woke up Friday evening…

          “Come on. Get up and get ready.”

          “For…”

          “Fiesta Oyster Bake.  Remember, we talked about it this morning before we went to sleep”

          Another, not so small, character flaw.  I can handle most people, in moderation.  I HATE crowds.

          Oyster Bake is a San Antonio tradition that’s held every year, the week before Fiesta.  As much as I love oysters, and live music, I’ve never been because the Bake averages 70,000 people! 

          So I said, “Let me grab a quick shower” and I thought, ‘Oh Shit! How am I gonna pull this one off??  The I looked at Stacy’s choice of outfits and knew that not going wasn’t an option.

My Girl at Oyster Bake

              Thankfully, the love of my Life, knowing my frustration level (or lack thereof) found a park and ride that Via bus was doing.  It actually worked out well.  For $10 we got door to door service, didn’t have to deal with parking or the Jeep getting banged up, and they gave us coupons for (4) free beverages ($2 for water on the grounds), and $40 worth of coupons for Whole Earth Provision Company.

              The ride was quiet and uneventful. The throng was just what I expected, wall to wall people moving and shuffle-stepping between food booths.  **Note, just because you can wear a short skirt, doesn’t mean you should. There were muffin-top rolls over the tops of cowboy boots!

               As much as I enjoy people watching, this is definitely not my style.  Not a big deal though ‘cause Stacy had never been and just wanted to check it out. Riiiight…

               “Babe, you don’t really like things like this? Do you?”

               What’s the old expression, don’t ask questions you don’t really want the answers to?

              “Of course!”, she said. “All the food, the music, watching people.  It’s fun once in a while.”

                Alright, now I know how the rest of my Lifes gonna go and I’ll find a way.  So we navigate our way to the first of the food booths for Fried Oysters.  Not bad, not great but I’m not big on fried stuff anyway.  “Let’s find the raw booth”  So off we go.

                 There’s 70,000 people (did I say that?), multiple lines, and no maps or signage.  Getting dark now and we’re just following the behinds in front of us.  Stacy (the smart one) finally asks a lady where she got her oysters and we head in the general direction. 

                   Stacy donates our coupons and comes back with a small pail of whole, intact oysters.  I know I grew up in Rhode Island, but I’ve never shucked an oyster.  How hard can it be, right?  I pulled out my little pocket knife and realized that as I closed my bear paw around the oyster, this was an accident waiting to happen.

                  For $10 we could “rent” an oyster knife though.  Off goes Stacy to retrieve a knife and directions on how to open the little suckers.  The oyster knife looks like the short, round end butter knives my Mom used to put out at holiday parties.  So I grab the oyster and carefully wedge the knife in the hinge…and the shell splinters,  and I somehow manage to shove the blunt, round ended knife into the meat around my first finger! The shell still isn’t opened!  Now I’m pissed!

                 Then Stacy takes the knife and it goes “pop” and it’s open. 

                  Snassenfrackenbricabrac. 

                 “Gimme the knife”, same result.  I told her I was gonna play “eagle” and just throw them on the concrete and split them open!

                   I left the raw oysters for her this time and chose to stand in a 30 minute line for nachos.  Probably a safer bet although she said if the chips came in a bag I should come back and she’d help me open it.

                    I made it though the experience and we left with an $11 turkey leg for her son and she traded her last 2 coupons to a lecherous old man for cone of chocolate ice cream.

                     We laughed ourselves to sleep and I still managed to pull off prom/date night with a suit and a purple hibiscus tie.

                      I really like this “new Life” I’ve discovered with Stacy.  At the risk of sounding too corny, she complements me perfectly.  Like with the oyster incident, she somehow just balances me out.  I feel so lucky!

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