Folsom Prison Blues

If you’ve been around Bill the last five or six months, you already know that he has begun playing pool every day while we are at Wind Crest. It was an unexpected activity, at least for me, but he loves it. There is a group of men that plays pool every day, Monday through Saturday, and they are known around the halls of Wind Crest as the Pool Boys.

I knew that Bill would miss playing pool every day while we are in AZ, so I Googled pool halls east Mesa to see if I could find one in the neighborhood. Voila! There was a place that popped up with which I was familiar. In fact, we had driven by it many times. It’s called the Trough, and it’s on Main Street in Apache Junction. We vowed we would take a look at it sometime to see if it was someplace he would like to play a bit of pool.

We went sooner and less planned-out than I thought. The other night, I was making chicken pot pies. I was THRILLED because I had all of the ingredients necessary on hand. I had chicken thighs. I had soup. I had frozen vegetables. I even found puff pastry buried way back in my freezer.

I began mixing the ingrediets all together, and then poured it into two ramekins. It was at that point that I realized I had not put in the chicken. Without giving it another thought, I dumped the RAW chicken into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. As soon as I heard the plop, I realized that I had forgotten to cook the chicken.

And they say you are older but wiser. Ha!

“Want to go to check out the Trough tonight?” I asked Bill, recognizing that I was unable to salvage the pot pies.

It’s literally three minutes from our house, so we were there in no time. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon. As I had remembered, there were four or five cars in the front of the building, which was what I thought was the only available parking. It looked sort of sketchy, but again, the photos had looked promising.

We drove behind the building and quickly discovered that the VERY LARGE PARKING LOT was full to the brim with cars. We finally found a spot way in the back.

“Wow,” I said to Bill. “I certainly didn’t expect this.”

As we walked towards the building, I checked out the cars. Minnesota. Iowa. Nebraska. Wisconsin. South Dakota. North Dakota. I’m not kidding you. Every snowbird in the east valley was at the Trough that night.

We walked in, and what we saw was Every Midwestern Bar on steroids. It was dark. The ceiling was painted black. There were neon beer signs decorating the walls. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was playing on the juke box and over the speakers. The pool tables were full. The restaurant, my friends, was packed.

We finally found a small table in the area where they were playing pool. Service wasn’t stellar, but with the help of a regular customer who took pity on us and dragged a server out to our table, we finally got to order. I elected not to order a peach bellini, and went with whiskey. Bill had beer. We played it safe.

Then, promptly at 5 o’clock, the reason for the crowd became clear. A live Johnny Cash cover band began playing. Before you could say two-step, the dance floor was full of all of those people from Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South and North Dakota, all doing the two step to Folsom Prison Blues.

Here’s what I’m going to tell you. Those down-to-earth midwestern folks were having themselves some kind of a time. I love the midwest.

And I’ll tell you one other thing. Never have I been so happy that cigarette smoking was illegal in bars and restaurants.

Just sayin’.

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