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Fred and Barney: Groinman's new friend
18 September 2009

This is Officer Lee Groinman,

That’s Right, Washington’s Most Questionable Cop…

And now I’ve got just one question for you, ya’ hear me?

Can you feel it? Can ya’? Not only can I feel it, I can sense it, taste it, smell it. If I close my eyes long enough, it could be 1984 all over again. There’s a Purple Haze in the air. Could it be “All I saw was purple” Déjà vu.

It’s funny how the years do take their toll. Back in 1984 there was about 15 guys in our group of fans, made for some all time tailgates, but that’s a horse of a different color. Last year, 2008, I was the last man standing. Oh sure, I still had a pair of season tickets, but traveled alone, sat by myself, and watched the team go winless. The rest of my Husky buddies, well they had all found other priorities.

So, I traveled alone, my buddies all elsewhere, and who could blame ‘em…

But now it’s a new dawn. I transferred to a different facility last year and got to know this funny lookin’ fella’. His name is Archie. He looks and sounds like a Mexican Barney Rubble, not sure if that makes me Fred Flintstone or not, but here goes.  Ya’ see Barney ‘er Archie had just one question for me one day.

“Hey Lee, I hear you’re a Husky fan, heard you have season tickets and want to sell one.” I sense an opportunity to cut my losses, maybe I’ve found a funny lookin’ fella’ to share game day expenses… “Why sure Arch, my last Husky ticket partner, well, I guess he moved away, yeah that’s it, he just moved away…”

“Well hell Lee! Sounds like fun! Count me in! I’ll be able to come up with some cash next month.”

That was back in March…

In April, Arch had to pay back support for his full grown kid, but it was his ‘last payment’.

In May, Arch had to pay back support for his full grown kid, but it was his ‘last payment’.

In June, Arch had to move and come up with a first and last month’s rent deposit.

In July, Arch was either on vacation or sick and a bit ‘low on funds.’

In August, Arch had to pay back support for his full grown kid, but it was his ‘last payment’.

“Hey Lee, I’ll have some funds for that first game, Lewisville State right? Tell ya’ what Lee, I’ll drive too, we’ll take my brothers ‘63 Impala, it’s like chopped down real low, with the dingle balls in the mirror, he owes me big time. You be lookin’ real good there Lee hangin’ shotgun in da’ Impala. It’s shiny black, like my pants.”

So we decide to meet at Freddy Meyers. I’ve packed a complete tailgate, with the Smokey Joe grill.  In the distance I hear a muffler dragging on the pavement, sparks fly as it scrapes across a speed bump. It’s Arch with some girl in a rusted Geo Metro, couldn’t decipher the exact year.

“Hey Lee, this is my cousin Rolonda, she needs the car, and my bro’ well you know, it’s like somethin’ came up. Don’t worry Lee, I brought a couple of twenties to help with the gas.”

And with that Arch got out of the Rambler and tried to close the door, it closed on the third slam. Arch then put his hand into his pant pocket. “Oh wait Lee, are these my pants? Oh, I left those pants with the twenties in the dryer! My bad, Lee!”

“Wait ROLONDA! I almost forgot my tailgate supplies!”

Rolonda rolled down the window and handed Arch a bag of Cheetos, the size you get out of a vending machine.

“We’re all set Lee!” as Arch plants himself in the passenger seat of my ‘new to me’ Jeep. “Hey Lee, I like this rig! I’ll help with the driving, but not on the way back, oh no, it’s like gonna be real late!”

“Ya’ know Lee, this is like gonna be real cool. You and me going to games and stuff.”

I decided it was time for a break. I pulled off the road and stopped at the ‘Cellar’. A mountain area Saloon. Plenty of strange looks there, in this mountain waterin’ hole. I saw the cold stares of their eyes, I could nearly hear the comments in their heads. “Who’s this new Mexican guy that Lee’s brought into the bar? Why he looks like Barney Rubble…”

“Let me buy Lee, it’s the least I could do.” We ordered up a couple of Coors Lights.

Arch paid the tab, 5 dollars, 50 cents, left Arch with 50 cents in his pocket, I left the tip…

“Ya’ know Lee, I gotta level wich ya’. Lots of folks think I’m Mexican, not true Lee. I’m a Spaniard, my families from Barcelona, like in the Olympics. Maybe someday Lee, you and me, go to Spain, run with the bulls.

Ever run with the bulls Lee? That’s when you know you a man…”

“Now speakin’ of bulls Arch, we gotta get runnin’ into the Stadium.”

“Yeah, but Lee, I was rootin’ thru your coolers and we have no tailgate juice, I was thinking some of those Coors would be good.”

So we stop into the local Safeway. Arch is feeling gracious. “I’ll buy Lee. I’ll use my debit card.” So Arch goes back and grabs a 30 pack. “Good grief Arch, it’s only one game!” “No worries Lee, we’ll save the rest for the next games.” Arch grabs a few more bags of chips and stuff, by the time we get to the checkout line we’ve made quite a haul. “Oh wait Lee, I forgot my ID! Give me your keys. I’ll meet you in the rig, we might need more ice.”

44 dollars and change, not quite priceless…

At around 3 pm. we roll into Husky Stadium. Now Arch had never been to a Husky game, and it showed. Arch would get all excited when he spied a pretty gal with LSU gear on. “Hey pretty lady! Join us for a cool drink!” In no time at all we had a half dozen or more Cajun females at our tailgate. In no time at all our drinks were gone. “Hey Lee we’re out of cold ones! There’s a QFC over there, I can’t find my wallet! The girls want some Diet Cokes!”

I’m back from QFC. Arch has got the burgers on the grill and is serving the Cajuns. “Hey Lee these fine Ladies has invited us down to their tailgate at LSU!” “That’s right Mr. Lee, don’t know what my daddy might say if he knew we were invitin’ Northern boys on down to our tailgate, but you boys have been ever so nice…”

Yeah, and I don’t know what my wife might say if she reads this story…

Well enough about LSU. That game was there for the takin’, but we left it right on the field.

I check the duty roster at work. I’m roastin’ mad. I’m on the schedule for Saturday the 19th, the USC GAME!!

I see the Shift Sarge’s shaven head sittin’ at his desk, he put a new shine on it this mornin’. I enter his office, there’s a box of Hostess donuts on the desk, white powder is on his shirt. The Sarge is singin’ the theme song to “Greenacre’s”

“I just enjoy a panty-hose view,

Darlin’ I love you, but give me Park Avenue.”

“Hello Officer Groinman, how can I piss you off today?”

“Sarge. I put in for Sept. 19th off 6 months ago! It’s the USC GAME!

“I don’t care if it’s the Beatles Reunion tour, we have three guys on AL (annual leave) and one guy in the county pokey (county jail). We can’t have any more gone on the 19th, and that includes you Groinman!”

“Sarge, you know if I can’t go to the game on Saturday, that’ll force me to send Arch off unescorted and without a driver into the wilds of Seattle, he’ll be on his own, as in alone Sarge, do you think this facility can take that kind of risk!

Sarge gave me a look that would melt ice, but I had him in a box. “Alright Groinman, you can have Saturday off, but it will cost you! See that Hostess box? Two more just like it, tomorrow Mr.G!”

And one more thing Officer Groinman. Somehow I don’t feel any better by having you as Arch’s escort and driver! Don’t you embarrass me and this DEPARTMENT!”


Yeah, that was close, even by my standards…But hey, I can still feel it, it’s a new game at Washington. We’ve come so close to beatin’ these cheatin’ Trojans in recent years…

Why not now?

It’s a new day. Why even Groinman here has found a new little buddy to help with ticket and game day expenses. Why just last night Arch called, he said he’d have 40 bones for me on Saturday, doing the laundry he was…




Lee Groinman can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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