We took Ned and Marta out to dinner a few weeks back, to celebrate Ned's birthday and while were talking, I remembered to ask Marta what she had given him for his birthday. We had seen them the week before and we knew she was taking him off on some secret adventure, and I had been wondering about it.
She told me she had taken him to a trampoline place, where the whole room was filled with trampolines, even on the walls and Ned could jump to his heart's content (he admitted that he learned that being 44 was quite different from being 15!)
Marta explained she had heard about the place through a Groupon offer. Now, for those who don't know, Groupon is like an internet coupon. They make fantastic offers, like 50% off of something. You pay for the coupon up front and have several months to use the thing.
I never bought one because they are usually for spa treatments or trips, or restaurants in Sacramento that we would never go to, or things like trampoline experiences or manicures and things that I never use. But Marta assured me there were sometimes things that I might be interested and so I started paying more attention to the Groupon offers.
Sure enough, the very next week there was a Groupon offer essentially 50% off of a meal at Ludy's Barbeque in nearby Woodland. It wasn't exactly 50%. You paid $15 for the coupon and you got $30 worth of food (but if you went over $30, that was on you).
Ludy's is right next door to the Woodland Opera House and we sometimes eat there if I'm reviewing a show at the opera house (especially if it's a matinee, because I'm always a bit leery about committing to a dinner when I have to be at a certain place at a certain time). Ludy's is also the place where the Putah Creek Crawdads perform frequently and we don't always get a chance to go and see them, but when we are free, I like to try to get there. The food is good and the music is fun. It's also the only time I see The Psychiatrist any more (he plays the banjo), since I no longer work for him.
Aside: I recommend reading the article I linked to above. I wrote it back in 2008 and I forgot what fun it had been researching, interviewing and writing the article! This was one of a few articles by Enterprise writers that contributed to The Enterprise winning the California Newspaper Publishing Award for Arts & Entertainment coverage that year. I was very proud to have been part of that!
Well, wouldn't you know that no sooner had I purchased my Groupon, then I saw that The Crawdads were scheduled to play there in 3 weeks, so I marked the calendar and we went. I've learned my lesson. The group plays from 6-8 and you do not want to get to Ludy's at 6:30 or the tables will be gone and the line for food will be out the door. We arrived ahead of the crowd
The band was already playing when we entered. I was disappointed to discover that The Psychistrist was not there last night--he and his wife were up in Mendocino County, but they had found someone to fill in, though not on the banjo, his instrument.
I managed to get a good table and Walt went to order dinner for us -- prime rib for him and tri-tip steak for me.
We settled in to listen to the likes of "Darling Clementine," "Camptown Races," "Tom Dooley," and other old popular folk favorites, enjoying particularly the blending of lead singers Ray Coppock and Oliver "Chip" Northup. Ray was 86 when I wrote my article back in 2008 and is still going strong. (He also plays a mean harmonica!)
I had to laugh when I got home and saw this photo of Kate Laddish:
In my article, I had written, "...Laddish conducts with her bow, her foot or a certain look in her eye. These musicians have a nonverbal communication that works well for them." I took two pictures of her during the evening and both of them look like this, so I guess I now know that "certain look in her eye."They were only scheduled to play until 8, and the restaurant was getting full when we left at 7:45. But we sure had a good time ... and the food was good, too. What a great first Groupon. Now I'm looking to see what other great deals I can find!