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I couldn’t escape the curse

After a close brush with death last week, I tried to avoid people.

That was because of the way-too-long column about a father, son and grandson road trip to Minneapolis on a Friday night to see a pro basketball game.

The part of the almost-true account that attracted the most attention was our visit to a Hooters restaurant.

The attraction there was not owls. The restaurant employs — I have to be very careful here — healthy, beautiful and friendly waitresses.

Some people go there for the great food and cold drinks, too.

Let’s get this straight: Hooters is not a gentlemen’s club.

Speaking of gentleman’s clubs: Is it true one is going to open soon at Hollandale? That’s what I heard.

Anyway last Thursday’s column sparked more than a little interest. The reaction was not all positive.

Allowing a 4-year-old grandson to visit a Hooters restaurant was not something all grandparents (moms, too) thought was appropriate and a few critics vented their objections.

To be sure, no fathers or grandfathers were among the critics.

After the flareup, I did what any self-respecting journalist would do: I hid out in my apartment at Pickett Place senior housing.

When I did venture outside for a bike ride around my favorite Mill Pond Pathway, I tried to find a time when I would encounter the least number of people, the middle of a workday afternoon.

It didn’t work out that way.

There were five guys on the foot bridge over the Cedar River near the downtown utility plant blocking my path.

I didn’t know who they were.

They wore yellow helmets and could have been Mower County Commissioners for all I knew. Come to think of it, they couldn’t have been commissioners. There were only five of them.

They were walking side-by-side, so I had to stop, get off my bike and walk my bike across the bridge behind them.

The first guy said to his friends, “The fishing opener is only three weeks away. Last year, my wife wouldn’t let me go on opening day, so this year I promised her I would buy new drapes for the living room, and she said I could go.”

The second guy said, “That’s nothing. I had to promise my wife I would build her a new deck before she said I could go.”

The third guy said, “Man. You guys have it easy. My wife wouldn’t say ‘Yes’ until I promised to remodel the kitchen.”

The fourth guy said, “Tell me about it. My wife made me promise her a trip to the spa and a weekend with her girlfriends in Minneapolis.”

“I’m not worried about making the fishing opener in May,” the fifth guy said. “I’ll just do what I do each year before the fishing opener. I’ll set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. I will nudge her and say ‘Can I go fishing with the boys or visit Hooters?”

More Hooters! I couldn’t escape the curse, so I biked back to my apartment and had a phone call. It was from an old nemesis calling from Taopi.

“Bonorden,” he bellowed, “I thought you would give up writing that childsish stuff after the Taopi 150th celebration in 2003. Remember? That’s when you wrote there were no hooters in Taopi.”

“I was there, and I didn’t see a single one in a tree,” I replied indignantly.

“Well, you better pay another visit, son,” he said. “I can see hooters from my front porch.”

“You mean the restaurant don’t you?” I said.

“I’m talking owls, boy,” he snarled. “Big owls and when you look at them they just stare right back at you.”

“Ain’t that a hoot,” I laughed.