Happy to have had my first match in Canada be a damn fine fifteen minute time limit draw with the madman from Medicine Hat, Alberta, I was staring off into the space between myself and teenagers putting their hearts and souls into scoring goals, when my fellow touree Sigmon came and stood beside me.
Also staring awkwardly at hockey, Sigmon stated, “This is cool as f__k!”
“Tis.” I replied. Then asked, “How was your match? I was gonna watch it, but didn’t.”
“Thanks, dick.” Sigmon replied. Then added, “It was good… But I really shouldn’t have went so hard on legs.”
I tried to nod compassionately, but I’m sure it came off as smug as I felt.
Intermission was announced, so we returned to the wrestleside of the arena to try to exchange pictures of ourselves for pictures of Queens and Prime Ministers.
While the crowd wasn’t numerous, it was generous.
“Here’s your change.” I would say.
“No, you keep it. You worked really hard, tonight.” Would come a reply.
“Where are you from.” They would ask.
“West Virginia; in The States.” I would reply.
“Wow. You are a long way from home. I sure hope Canada is treatin’ you well!” They would say.
“Oh. It is.” I would say, realizing, as I did, that Canada was treating me extremely well through the kindness of Canadians like the ones I was talking to. I wasn’t graceful enough to say so, though.
*R. Kelly Voice*: After the show, it’s the after party.
But first, we had to make it to the after party, which would prove somewhat difficult since the sky had dropped many inches of snow on top of the many inches of already-accumulated snow, while we were getting our grapple on.
Sigmon looked at me like “you’re up”. I held my hand out for keys and received them.
During the event, we met two other Americans, from Virginia originally, but now residing in North Dakota, Mr. Incredible and Blake Jones.
“Where’s the after party?” I asked Danny.
“Just follow the other Americans. They know the way.” He answered.
I told Mr. Incredible, or “Q” as his friends call him, “Danny said to follow you.”
“Of course he did.” Q said with a pfff face. “I don’t really know where the f__k I’m going either… Well maybe I do… F__k I think I do.”
With that encouragement Sigmon and I saddled up into the Volkswagen and set course to the Gladstone Inn where both after party and hotel lobby were to be found.
Speaking of ‘wagen’s...well wagons actually, but close enough, as I was driving too fast for my comfort on the snowy roads, that our caravan leader from South Dakota was a little more accustomed to, I saw an Amish Man working hard to get his horse drawn carriage unstuck from a snowy ditch.
Hmm. That’s an interesting sight. Not very reassuring, but definitely interesting. I thought as I stared over snow white knuckles at the car in front of me that was barely visible in the flurry that was on the verge of a white out.
After the sketchiest u-turn of my life, our lives were thankfully still a thing as we pulled up beside the twenty-something buildings that made up the town of Gladstone.
Our hotel was easy to spot being the biggest of the twenty-something buildings and having a proper old school vertical sign that read Gladstone Inn No Vacancies.
No vacancies because the entire crew was staying in the small hotel, that was also the local eat-and-drink spot.
We walked into the bar area, which was all but empty, since we were the first to arrive (thanks to Q’s “living’s overrated” driving).
The hotel owner greeted us with a friendly-as-f__k smile and introduced himself as Gerald.
Gerald said, “I know you wrestlers are some cheap bastards. So, I’m going to feed ya for free, but you’ll have to pay for drinks. That alright with you pricks?”
I love this guy. I thought.
“Sure is.” Sigmon answered. Then whispered to me, “I love this guy.
I smiled and we took a seat at the bar tables that had been pushed together to make a dining hall style set up.
The rest of the crew arrived and much fatty foods and carb-heavy drinks were ingested with nary a care given.
I looked around at the hard looking, hard talking, hard eating, hard drinking, (sometimes) hard hitting men that were creating a ruckus around me.
Ah, your Grand Meadhall hath embraced me at last. For I must be in Valhalla. I thought.
Very full, and only slightly buzzed, since Gerald had been right in assuming that I am a cheap bastard and only a couple people bought me drinks (slow night), Sigmon and I climbed the stairs to our room.
We unlocked the door with a traditional metal key; none of that plastic card bullsh__, and were greeted with a room that Sigmon described with, “Holy Oldschool ‘Rasslin’, Beardman! This place is as “territory-wrestler-banging-rats-and-doing-drugs” as it gets!”
Even without the rats and drugs, we both loved it and enjoyed a fine night's rest, before heading out to Morden where I would meet the most bizarrely classic individual thus far in my travels: a man called Shaggy.