Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Grins and Guns Weekend

We enjoyed a long weekend in Columbus which was planned around two very different events.

First, it was a Shadowbox doubleheader. I’ve written before about this unique Columbus version of something a bit like Saturday Night Live, and we absolutely love this place! By taking some time off on Friday, we made it there in time to hit their weekly Friday lunch show (a shorter version that allows working folks to get some entertainment with their lunch). During this time of year, their music/comedy shows have a valentine’s theme, so this was the Love Shack Lunchbox (and yes, the grand finale was a rousing rendition of the B-52s “Love Shack”). We returned on Saturday night for the regular two hour show (entitled “Between the Sheets”), and it was great. I especially liked the two related skits about phone apps that translate what women (in the first version) and then men (in the second version) are really saying in relationships.

These folks are so friendly to us! It comes from the personal connection that is made when the stars are also bringing your food and drink. It is a non-profit business (which refuses government grants) where everyone wears many hats to put on an amazing show, from star to accountant to cook to selling tickets to cleaning the floors. Most of their performers can also multi-task as singers, musicians, dancers, and/or actors, and they are so creative! We are looking forward to their upcoming original musical entitled “Underland.” It is loosely based on “Alice in Wonderland” but is set in 1967 as a Vietnam vet comes to San Francisco to search for his daughter during the “summer of love” and features a lot of great music from that year.

Some of my friends in the Columbus area know about this talented troupe, but I would encourage others to check them out. We were seated next to a young couple on Saturday night who had never been there before, and we enjoyed “preaching the gospel” of Shadowbox to them. They left as big fans, and will be coming back again soon. If you check them out, you will become a fan, too.

After the Saturday show, we ventured a few blocks over to the German Village area and enjoyed a late visit to Schmidt’s, a longstanding German restaurant (which appeared in an episode of the "Man vs. Food" TV show). They had a German band playing, and the food was great. If only my diet would have allowed the Bavarian crème puff dessert! A nice memory will be walking across the cobblestone streets with thick snowflakes falling down in this historic district as we headed to the car.

The other major reason we go to Columbus is to visit with family up there. But this visit was unique. My Significant Other's Brother (despite the initials, he is not an SOB) is a certified instructor for the NRA, and we spent all day Saturday as students in an NRA safety class he taught. Then, on Sunday afternoon, we went to an indoor shooting range to complete our education (for some reason, mine was the only Prius in the parking lot). It seemed weird to be shooting a gun for the first time inside a building! Both of us were successful in attaining our certification, and we left very impressed with her brother (and his wife) regarding how serious they take this job.

Right now, the whole gun control/2nd amendment arguments are burning white hot, and I like to avoid political controversies in my blog postings (although I have a hard time understanding how some gun control advocates think that they can "put the genie back in the bottle" after it has been out, just as I have a hard time understanding some of the lobbying positions of the NRA). As with many issues, this is much more complex than most people realize, and needs to be approached from a rational basis rather than an emotional basis. Regardless of your stand, I’d like to think that everyone can appreciate the efforts made by NRA instructors to teach gun safety to people across the country.

I’ve not been much into hunting during my adulthood, but just like most West Virginians, I’m grateful I had the experience while I was growing up. It was fun to give it a try again. The best news from the shooting range was that I had not completely lost my aiming ability over the past several decades, plus I got an “A” on the 50 question written test. Then, Sunday evening was spent with the smell of gun oil as all the firearms were duly cleaned after a day on the range, which took me back to my younger days with my dad.

Oh, and we had time to hit the Eddie Bauer Warehouse store near Hilliard on Friday afternoon, and then the Rocky Boot outlet in Nelsonville on Monday afternoon, where several bargains were scored! All in all, it was another a fun weekend.

A close-up of the fantastic Shadowbox band, showing our friend Katy belting out a song and our friend Andy rockin' the bass.

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