Wow, so, it looks like we’ve go some time on our hands.
Now that everything is somewhat settled and my wife has provided me with access to my office computer for a few minutes every day, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for you to teach me a little about K-State.
As most of you know, I’m not from around these parts. I grew up in South Carolina, was raised as a Purdue fan, and attended Clemson. I made Kansas State fly me to Manhattan before my wife accepted a job because I thought I was moving to the middle of a flat, treeless, wheat field. I was pleasantly surprised by Manhattan, with all the hills and trees and what not, and decided it was a hell of lot better than Ames, Iowa, so here I am.
I’ve written for Bring on the Cats for about a year, and I’ve learned to enjoy K-State sports and Manhattan in general, but I’m still an outsider. I know all the basics, but I don’t know any of the secrets.
Now, gentle reader, is your time to indoctrinate me into the EMAW cult.
I figured local bars are the best place to start, because everyone I know (granted, I mostly know degenerates) had/have a favorite college bar.
My bar in college was T.D.s.
When most people think of Clemson bars, they either think of Tiger Town Tavern or The Esso Club. While those two bars are great, they weren’t my style in college. Tiger Town Tavern (TTT’s) was a cool place to hang out, but it also got a little to fratty for me on busy nights. It was tough to get a drink in a timely manner and seating was limited. Plus, there was usually a line to get in one Friday and Saturday night and I’m not a fan of waiting around to drink.
The Esso Club is the iconic Clemson bar located in a former Esso filling station. I’ll be honest, I can count the number of times I went to the Esso Club during college on one hand. It’s a little off the main drag, requiring additional walking, and has always felt like an alumni bar. Plus, the bathroom situation was perilous when I was in school. If you needed to relieve yourself, it could take 15-20 to get into the bathroom. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
T.D.’s, on the other hand, normally didn’t have a line, was sufficiently dark and dirty, and if you got there early enough (and while I’m late for most things, I’m always early to the bar) you could snag a booth for the night. Plus, they had reasonably priced liquor pitchers.
While I was in school, South Carolina was still stuck in the 1950’s when it came to Blue Laws. You couldn’t buy alcohol on Sunday, even in restaurants, and all bars had to close at midnight on Saturday (but “private” clubs got around this rule). The only only redeeming quality of the blue laws was liquor pitchers. Free pour liquor bottles weren’t allowed in South Carolina. Every liquor drink was made with mini-bottles, making liquor pitchers the standard in Clemson.
A liquor pitcher was just that, a beer pitcher filled with ice and a mixed drink comprised of 4 mini-bottles. A mini bottle contains 1.7 ounces of liquor. Most free pour drinks are somewhere between 1 and 1.25 ounces, so these things packed a punch, and T.D.’s did them right.
For 10 bucks you could get a long island iced tea pitcher. The bartender would fill up a pitcher of ice, crack 4 mini bottles (you could easily identify Clemson bartenders by the giant calluses on their mini bottle opening hand) and stick them upside down in the ice to drain while they grabbed someone else a beer. Then they would finish it off with some sour mix, coke, and a hand full of bar cherries with stems (I can still tie a cherry stem in a knot with my mouth).
We had a regular crew of four on most Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. My girlfriend (now wife), her roommate Katherine (or Kat when she’d had a few drinks) and her boyfriend / my best friend Nick. We would show up around 9:30, right before things got busy, snag a booth, and order a liquor pitcher. On a normal night, we’d each be responsible for purchasing at least 1 liquor pitcher. We’d hang out, chat about whatever, and make fun of other people in the bar, and drink liquor pitchers.
I was...well...a bad influence. Katherine called me “the devil” (she says it in the best southern accent you can imagine) mainly because I was much bigger than everyone in our group. During this part of college I was 6’3 and probably pushing 230. Nick is 5’8, and was probably 170. I could drink all night (ahh, those were the days) and still walk out under my own power (unless I went out with the specific goal of getting hammered). I held the rest of my friends, but Nick especially, to that standard.
It turns out an extra 60 pounds makes drinking liquor much easier (as I occasionally found out when I would go out with my friends on the football team).
My wife and I went back to Clemson for the Texas A&M game last year, and got to hang out with Katherine and her husband for a few hours. It was funny how seamlessly we transitioned back into our old friendship. I haven’t seen Nick much in recent years, but we still text and talk occasionally. He was the best man at my wedding and is my daughter’s God Father, but distance and new family obligations have kept us from getting together and hanging out.
I know when this is all over, we’re making a point to hang out. If nothing else, this disaster has made me realize how important old friends (that remember me when I was wild, crazy, and had flowing locks) are, and how lame the excuses we make to not see each other are.
I’ve got plenty of other stories to tell, but, you know, Nick, Katherine, and my wife are all respectable members of society now, so I’ll hold off.
This isn’t about me anyway, this is about you, and Kansas State. Tell me some stories in the comments.