New Castle News

September 13, 2013

Gary Church: If I’m looking a little Haggard, my wife’s birthday concert took its toll

Gary Church
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — There are not too many country and western singers who I would go see.

When I heard that Merle Haggard was going to be at the Mountaineer Casino, there was no question that I was going.

One problem stood in the way. He was going to be there on my wife's birthday.

We always go out for a family dinner, and come home and eat cake on those occasions.

My birthday celebration lasts about as long as it takes my grandson to sing happy birthday.

On the other hand, my wife's birthday is about a week long, and full of festivities. I figured I could miss one night of the extravaganza.

What surprised me is, when I asked if she wanted to go with me, she said, "Yes."

I later found out that my grandson would also be out of town that day. Without him, there is no party.

We took Interstate 376 to get there.

When we take toll roads, my wife becomes the family accountant, and has the tolls ready for me.

This is not her calling in life.

Usually, some verbal disagreements occur when she doesn't have the correct change ready.

Since it was her birthday, I decided I would not get upset with her if she made a miscue in her counting.

Before the trip, I asked if she had all the tolls ready, and she said, "Yes!"

I don't think we were past Mahoningtown when she said, "I'm out of toll money."

Staying calm, I reached into my pockets and came up with $2.

This got us to the Newell Bridge, going over the river into West Virginia.

Who knew that you would have to pay 75 cents to cross that rickety old thing they call a bridge?

I felt they should pay me the 75 cents, for risking my life, to cross the dilapidated structure.

She finally came up with the money, and we made it to the concert.

We had third-row seats, right in front of Merle.

I couldn't help but notice a couple of females, wearing shorts and fish-net stockings, serving drinks to the VIP section I was in.

Everyone was feeling quite jolly by the time the concert started, and made them a very lively group.

One of the girls asked me if I wanted a drink, and I told her no.

On the way home, we discussed the fact that we saw no one paying for their drinks.

We decided that they must have been free for our section.

How come no one told us?

They probably didn't have chocolate milk anyhow.

The place was packed, and we enjoyed the concert very much.

It's probably the first time my wife and I sang, "We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee," together with Merle and several thousand inebriated folks.

And you don't think I'm romantic.