Traveling for work, even under the best of circumstances, can still be a pretty dull affair. For every amazing new restaurant, or compelling brewery you find, there's a delayed flight, a hotel buffet breakfast. After a recent meeting, having already had my fill of Caesar salads and scrambled eggs prepared en masse, I made my way to Washington DC’s Right Proper brewpub. It's a frequent stop for me when I’m in DC, so I thought I knew what to expect. A couple good beers, and something to eat was about all I had in mind.
But what I didn’t expect was Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” played at a significantly louder volume than the song that preceded it. What I also didn’t expect was for “9 to 5” to be played after, accompanied by the bar clapping along to the beat. And I certainly didn’t expect to see a drag performer dressed as Dolly herself lip-syncing the 1980 classic.
The bar settled down after Dolly wrapped up the song, and she brought out her partner for the next part. Mama from Mama’s Family would be helping Dolly with the evening’s bingo festivities. Bewildered as I was at the recent turn of events, what caught me off guard was that this wasn’t any old Dolly & Mama Bingo Night at a brewpub. It was, instead, a special gathering of family and friends to celebrate Grandma Mary.
You see, Grandma Mary had just survived stage three ovarian cancer. Surrounded by her 10 kids, 23 grand kids, and the rest of the crowd at Right Proper that night, per her request, bingo would be played to mark her return to full health.
I'm so glad I left the hotel.