There’s nothing that I love more than a small town. Maybe because I didn’t truly get to experience one, but I always loved shows like the Andy Griffith Show when I was growing up. There’s a romance to it. A serious part of our country’s genetic makeup is defined by these small towns. Maybe that’s why I love visiting them. I kept hearing, “Why in the world are you playing in Hartford???” from the locals and my answer, “Why not?” You’ve got a stage, an audience, and good coffee… Let’s do it!
I woke up in a hotel in Merrillville just outside of Chicago and was pretty excited… Cause it’s Sunday. And that means… FOOTBALL! (It also means church… but cut me some slack…) I packed up my stuff and drove the 2 1/2 hours to Hartford City and on the drive, I listened to a majority of the San Diego Chargers verses the Philadelphia Eagles. The game was riveting! It’s so nice to have so many good games to choose from on the road. While driving I realized that I didn’t have a show lined up for Monday night. My amazing girlfriend suggested that I see if there are any baseball games going on in Cleveland. (Since I was playing there on Tuesday.) I checked the schedule, and they’re out of town for the next few days. Then I thought, “Well maybe the Reds are playing in Cincinnati? I could stay there?” So I checked… but no luck… they were out of town too… but then I remembered that MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL was in CINCINATTI!!!! I COULD GO TO A FOOTBALL GAME!!!! Yup. I got a ticket. It’s gonna be an awesome night! I’m especially excited cause “Hard Knocks” on HBO followed the Bengals this year, and I LOVE that show, so it’s fun that I actually have followed the team a little bit!
I arrived in Hartford City and planted roots in a barstool at the Centerfield Bar. I had looked all around town for a sports bar to watch the games at, and this one seemed to be the only one. I parked in front of the venue for my show, and walked past a live auction that was going on in the street…. that was a trip… then I sat and watched the Colts lose to the Dolphins. (Bleh… I don’t like the Dolphins.) It’s much more fun watching the game with people who love their team! They were quoting all kinds of Colts stats and explaining to me the difference between Andrew Luck and Payton Manning and it was fun!
I watched for a while, and then the bar emptied out and it was just myself and Bob, the bartender. I ordered a $7.50 frozen pizza and ate it while watching the “Manning Bowl” when another guy walked in. He sat down and proceeded to tell horrible jokes and gossip about people in town and I just kinda soaked it in, feeling like I was one of the Hartford City residents. It was awesome. 🙂
The show was incredibly fun and the owner of Common Ground’s son, Andrew acted like my own private “pickpocket”. I told him to go get me money from the people listening, and this little 5 year old ran up to every single person in the shop, held his hand out and said, “MONEY.” I was laughing pretty hard and he came back towards the middle of my song and threw the money at me. It was awesome.
I told everyone that Common Grounds would get a 4.9 stars from me. The only reason they didn’t get a 5 was because of this creepy clown that was sitting on a chair watching me… He’d come up from time to time during my set. (I had to keep looking up at him to make sure he wasn’t moving…)
I had a blast. And then, there was a rain delay in the 49ers vs. Seattle game and I got to listen to it all the way to Cincinnati! It was a great football day. 😀
Well, I’m going out to the store to buy a Bengals shirt and get ready for the game tonight! I’ll see you guys in Cleveland at Wilbert’s tomorrow!
Don’t let the clowns get you.
Jeff also filmed this from my show in Des Moines. Hope you dig it!