Tuesday, December 30, 2008

all the way to Timbuktu

Did I ever mention that I played soccer in college? OK, so I went to a pathetically small college. If you were male and breathing, you could start on the team. The real emphasis was men's basketball, but apparently there was some rule about needing to have so many different teams in order to play intercollegiate. So anyone could play on the men's soccer team--anyone. (I mentioned that I played, right?) We were usually lucky to have one sub on the bench. (Basically, our only rehearsed skill was endurance--most of our practice time consisted of running.) Our coach's day job was working at a restaurant. When they scheduled him in conflict with a practice or a game, his pregnant wife would fill in. (Those were the rough times.) When neither one could make it, our team captain was the coach.

Did I mention that soccer really wasn't the thing at that school? Our furthest away game was at Washington Bible College. They gave us some kind of "sack lunch" (which I think included baked potatoes) for the ride down and a few bucks for supper on the way back. There were no drivers, so players drove in shifts. (Picture a reformed dead-head druggie teetering on the edge while driving through miles of concrete-barrier "cattle chutes," in the dark, after a long afternoon of no-sub soccer.) There were no overnight accommodations, so we drove down from NY and back in one day. We arrived with a few minutes to stretch before the game, and when it was over, we piled back in to head out.

By that point, we were starving, so we started watching for somewhere to eat. The signs in MD didn't show you what was off the exit--just the standard fork and spoon logo. So our first attempt led us a few miles down the road to . . . Timbuktu. Seriously. No clue where we were or where to get food, and we ended up at Timbuktu. It looked like more time and more money than we could afford, so we turned around and kept going. Oh, I should mention that the trip wasn't all bad--we scored our one and only goal of the season. Didn't win--but scored. We acted like we'd just won the playoffs or something.

Fast-forward 15 years. To celebrate my birthday and a promotion at work, we drove five minutes to . . . Timbuktu! Yeah, the first time we set foot in the place. We've lived within driving distance for years. Overheard some neighbors talking about it--seemed like a good place but a bit pricey. Now we practically live around the corner, so how could we resist? It was definitely a good decision to skip it on the soccer trip. But it is very good food and a very nice, local restaurant. It's no longer quite as out of the way as when they picked the name, now that Rt. 100 runs right by. But it would still be worth visiting by camel.

1 comment:

  1. Julie's post about this very thing hasn't appeared in my feed yet, but I just saw it after I wrote mine. At least it looks like we both went on the same trip :-)