Saturday, December 15, 2007

Geno Didn't Mention and "Moose: a Three Strikes Story"

Last night I went to the Moose lodge to see my buddy Geno's band. They played a lot of old-school rock & roll, a couple of country tunes, Brick House, you know, fun stuff. Most of it was stuff the boys knew, too, so I noticed a couple of Sons singing along. I almost got a couple of them up on the dance floor, too, but...dancing with your mom is social death, and I wasn't going to push it.

I got to introduce the Sons to Geno, suitably transformed from "Christine's Fun Friend" to "Mr Mears Who Knows How To Act Around Children"--a transformation not every adult manages with grace.

The rest of the band was happy to talk music with Son #1, which was very cool. And the Sons shot pool. So the combination of pool and live music pretty much had us stoked, as a group. They even got along, mostly, which was a relief.

What Geno didn't mention, though, surprised me. Geno can sing.

He has been coming to Open Mic for months, playing great guitar, and keeping his lips zipped. But the man has a beautiful voice. GENO, NO MORE HOLDING OUT AT OPEN MIC.

And now, on to The Moose.

Years ago, when I was not even a teenager, I think, my father's boss insisted he join the Moose. And so he did. He ended up attending a lot of functions at the Moose lodge, because that's where his boss liked to do business, and Dad knew how the game was played.

The Moose, however, had a policy. "Moosettes", aka Wives of Moose Members, were only allowed in the front of the lodge. So, my mother could go sit around the bar with the other Second Class Moose Citizens, while Dad and his boss did Secret Moose Stuff in back, or she could stay home.

She chose, mostly, a third way, in which she taught me and my sister moose calls and a Secret Moose Handshake which we all used as my father left for his Moose meetings. It is very possible that the Moose has changed their policy on women, in the 25 or so years since Dad joined the Moose, but I don't know. When Dad's boss retired, Dad stopped going to the lodge. It wasn't all that fun, anyway, and Mom of course had us all Moose calling as a reflex.

Flash Forward to 1987...Christine, wearing a Cheap Trick t-shirt, most likely, brings Bash home for Thanksgiving weekend, and he proposes. My mother finally sees a use for the Moose: we can use their lodge for our wedding reception.

Except.

Two of my bridesmaids were not, apparently, suitable Moose guests. They were not eligible to enter the lodge, at all. Not the bar, where the wives cooled their heels, and certainly not the holy of holies which was the back room where receptions took place.

My dad officially quit the Moose, the day they told him he couldn't use the facility for my wedding reception because two of my bridesmaids were black. We all stopped Moose calling, and retired the secret handshake, and I for one was proud of Dad for taking a stand. Bigots. This was the late eighties, remember? As the Sons would say, "Cracker, pleeeease."

Again, it is very possible that the Moose have changed that policy, as well. I seem to remember a lawsuit, a few years back, that opened up the Moose for African-American members. But, you know, Two Strikes in my mind, against the Moose. Honestly, I never would have gone to a Moose lodge, if it were not Geno, and live music the Sons could hear.

And then, last night.

As I've said, Geno & band were great. We had a great time. Hubby came late, because he was auditioning a new lead guitarist for his own band. But about 10 minutes after Hubby arrived, they kicked me and the Sons out of the building. Apparently they noticed that they have a "no kids after 9" policy.

I think what they noticed was, I was a band Fan, not a band Wife. So all those kids shooting pool and bobbing their heads to the music were not there to support their dad, but instead were Breathing Moose Air Without Having Moose Cred. I will lay you odds, if Hubby had not shown up, they would have continued assuming I was there With Geno, instead of just To See Geno, if you know what I mean. And we would have seen the whole show.

But, hey, I have no problem with the "no kids around the bar after 9" concept, so we were out of there faster than I could even say goodbye to Geno.

(Goodbye, Geno!)

About 5 minutes later, I got a call on my cell phone from Hubby. He'd been kicked out of the lodge, too.

"ARE YOU A MOOSE MEMBER?"

Hubby explained that while he was not a Moose, he was with the band, and was going to join them on stage for a few songs. That cut no ice, with the Moose. Out on the street he went, after perhaps 15 minutes of Breathing Moose Air and Observing the Mighty Allure of the Moosettes.

Hubby and I, we are done with the Moose. But Geno, we love.

10 comments:

Val Cox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Val Cox said...

What a great story! ...and so it goes again, no longer part of the Moose pack.

(sorry for earlier delete, I spotted my typo as I hit submit!)

Anonymous said...

Say whaaat?! I had no idea about not being able to have the reception at the Lodge. Anyway, the place you all had the reception was was waaay more swankier and fun!


Andrea

Christine said...

Oh, Andrea, you have no idea. The storm clouds over my parents' house, that day.

And they briefly considered Encouraging me to pick Other Bridesmaids, but I think before they got it halfway out of their mouths they realized that was beyond heinous. And their friends with an in at the Officers' Club were happy to let us use that, instead.

I swear, Hubby and I came within an inch of flying to Vegas with you and Nick for a quickie wedding, about six times a day for our entire engagement.

Thank God I'll never have to do that again.

the frogster said...

I've played a fair number of gigs where the "band wives" table was the only one still occupied after we got through our first set.

And what I won't mention is how surprised you'd be if you heard me sing. You'd be surprised, all right. Maybe that had something to do with the attendance.

Ms. Q said...

Late 80s and some club has a "Colorless Folk Only" rule? Weird. I love the way you wrote this - all the Breathing of Moose Air!

It's great your parents supported your choice in bridesmaids and that your dad even quit the club!

On the one hand I can understand people wanting their own special club. I mean, if I wanted to start some "women under 5 feet tall who blog" club and some GUY wanted to join, I'd be wanting to exclude him (not really but that's not my point). The point being that sometimes you just want to be around like-minded people. People who know where you're coming from, people who might understand you.

On the other hand, I'm not much into excluding people or joining things that do that.

Too bad about The Moose.

Christine said...

Well, Ms Q, I wouldn't exactly say they supported my choice of bridesmaids. But BOY, is that another post.

But, yes, in the end they did realize that much of their objection was, at its root, based on stereotypes, not the character of the women I'd chosen to stand with me at the wedding.

This was a very screamy stage in life, for Christine and clan. As I've said, I'm glad I'll never, ever have to do that, again.

Christine said...

Frogster:
The Band Wives table is where it's AT! I always try to weasel my way in, even if I'm not Wife to anyone in that particular Band.

All the juicy gossip! The inside humor! The "Poor guy, he really HATES playing this song", while you see him up there playing his heart out---or so you'd think, if you weren't at the Wives Table.

When Hubby is playing, my goal is to turn the entire bar into one big Wives Table. It is much more fun, that way.

Beth said...

Mooses, meeses.. WTF

Ms. Q said...

I had no idea that "screamy" was a stage. Hmm...now that I think about it, my dad hit a bit of a "About to explode" stage around the time I started thinking that boys were actually...kinda cute. Specifically that non-Chinese guys were cute. Specifically non-Chinese and not from a particular town in China cute.

He's calmed down quite a bit these days. Now it's like, "I just want you to be happy...I may have my preferences but...I just want you to be happy..."

Hmm..Blogger changed again? Now I can leave my URL!