Field of Ribs…and Dreams…and Jazz…but Mostly Ribs…and also Beer

Chinese Barbecue SpareribsThe American Jazz and Negro League museums are in the same building, making the 18th and Vine District in Kansas City, MO, arguably the coolest place in North America. Both are lousy with memorabilia commemorating the most classic American music and entire generations of talented men who couldn’t play major league baseball. Collin and I wander through the museums, taking it in like twelve-year olds: Josh Gibson’s jersey, Cool Papa Bell’s glove, one of Charlie Parker’s famous plastic saxophones.

As men, we have a few happy ‘fields.’ Two of these fields are sports and music. For some men this is NASCAR and thrash metal, for others it’s ping pong and Liberace. For me it’s baseball and jazz. This means that at this moment I have attained a level of content that I don’t often reach without lying beneath a masseuse or without a fork in my hand. Also, the air conditioning is on high. I giggle into the dark hallway.

Things get better from there.

We leave the museum of awesome2 for famous Kansas City barbecue. Oklahoma Joe’s is in a gas station and one of the most renowned barbecue joints in the United States. We stand in line for forty-five minutes, the first five of which are spent discussing our dining choices, the remaining forty are spent drooling quietly into my shirt. I stare at the people eating with an unfortunate combination of interest, jealousy and lust. Despite my leering, the police are not called.

When we finally get our ribs and sit, there isn’t much in the way of conversation. I would love to describe them, but I have found in trying to recollect the post-sitting events of lunch that I must have blacked out because the only thing I can remember is getting in the car licking my fingers and humming the Rawhide theme. I hear it is often like this for those who have experienced religious events.

The way I figure it, there are times in life when you realize that you are enjoying a perfect day. I have had six. I have realized four of them during the actual day, and two just after the day ended. I swore to myself that should I ever get a perfect day again, I would grasp onto this anomaly of human existence and enjoy every second of it. There have been other signs that this is a perfect day. A hotdog vendor sends us to an off the beaten track sight. I have a root beer for the first time in three years. Even the music on the radio has been perfect. I get an extra rib at the restaurant.

But this really sets in as we head to our final destination of the day: Boulevard Brewing Company.

We have missed the tour by a few minutes, but it doesn’t bother us and the man working in the gift shop senses my perfect day and offers to bring us a few samples of beer. We sit at a table and relax with three premium beers and I allow time to stop for me.

The day has been jazz, baseball, barbecue and beer. I have almost never been happier. At the hotel, we polish off the Coronas in our cooler and the flask of bourbon in the sink. A Pawn Kings marathon is on, the air conditioning is on high.

We do not speak, as if by doing so it would ruin the composition of this afternoon. There is a book of coupons on the night stand and I flip through to find vouchers for all Hooters restaurants.

The address shows that there is one across the street from the hotel. This is now getting scary, but I don’t ask questions.

  1. #1 by Andy on August 13, 2012 - 8:24 pm

    I hope the epilogue to this story includes the discovery of the hotel double-booking your room with the Swedish Women’s Pillow Fighting team.

Comments are closed.