Saturday, 23 September 2017
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GREAT READING

Laugh Along With Lee: Saint Patty's Day In Bradenton

Lee Volpe

Friday morning I spontaneously decided to meet a friend for breakfast at Another Broken Egg in Lakewood Ranch. After your typical pleasantries, we got down to the topic of 'what do I want to write about for The Sarasota Post?'

I proposed articles on "wacky, world news" and preceded to give an example.
"Did you hear about the guy in Wyoming who was found with 30 eyeballs in his anal cavity?" *
After Sande Caplin recovered, and his coffee with cream worked its way out of his sinuses and back down his throat, I explained my intent was not to write a story about rectums, or even eyeballs for that matter. Just crazy things you'd HAVE to share with your buddy at work; if nothing else, then for "shock" value.

Mr. Caplin advised me to stick with more "relatable" stories about local events and people.
So, Dear Readers, this is MY translation of what that means.

It was Saint Patrick's Day, and being the good German/Italian girl that I am, I committed my time to a worthy cause. My friend Gina Spicer, Director of Programs at Police Athletic League (PAL) of Manatee County, held the first annual St. Patrick's Day party at Ace's Live (Bradenton). Now I had never been to Ace's before, so when a friend cautioned me on my wardrobe choice for that evening, I paused.

"Don't wear anything that shows you have a chest,” he advised.
"Well, that's impossible,” was my reply.
"I know some of the 'characters' hanging around the bar.  Most go there because it’s within a few miles of home and they can ride their bicycles. I can't wait until one of them offers to buy you a drink - and a lift home on his handlebars."  
As my friend’s laughter drifted, all I could think was Jesus, Mary, and the wee donkey, this was going to be a long St. Patty's Day.

St. Patty's Day at Ace's Live Music

Wearing a muscle shirt, legging,…and sports bra, I unhurriedly walked into Ace's. It wasn't long before I met the "characters".  Harmless, hardworking folks, out for a beer, and a bike ride.  Sadly, not one of them noticed me - or offered me a lift.

The establishment itself reminded me of the bars I go to near my family's lake house in northern Wisconsin. Ace's Live didn’t have mounted animal heads decorating the walls, thank God, but it was clean, with a personable staff, great food options, and the best damn music I've heard since The Flying Dog closed.

The Jeff Jensen Band, from Memphis, Tennessee, headlined the event. They have a national  fan base, and I now know why.  It doesn't matter what genre of music you prefer, if you enjoy  witnessing talented professional musicians, you'll be as impressed as I was, and gladly call yourself a fan.

Bryan Lee, a.k.a Braille Blues Daddy, is a blues guitarist and singer who was based in New Orleans, and now living in Bradenton, Florida. An unbelievable honor, Mr. Lee was in the house supporting not only Manatee PAL's, but his fellow blues musicians. A 2010 Grammy Nominee, 2011 BMA Recipient, and referred to by his peers as a "Living Legend”, Bryan Lee joined the band onstage in an impromptu performance, and played the blues like he was back on Bourbon Street.

 As the evening closed, I got in my car to head home, and found myself pleasantly surprised with how Saint Patrick's Day turned out.  We raised over $1,000 for the local Police Athletic League, I got to spend time with my girlfriends, and not only did I really enjoy the atmosphere at Ace's, but I plan on going again. My only disappointment would be not seeing someone pedal off into the night with a hot date on their handlebars.

Lee Volpe, Gina Spicer Karen Goodman Cadou
Pulling out of the parking lot, I made my way past the empty bike rack, when an electric vehicle with green neon pulled out in front of me.  I had to laugh.  One of the "character" was heading home, but not on a bicycle, in a golf cart.

Live Music Bradenton, Florida

For more information on the Police Athletic League of Manatee County visit www.manateepal.org

*The story of the man in WY with 30 eyeballs in his anal cavity proved to be FAKE.

Photo Credits: Gina Spicer, Dreamstime, Deposit Photos

About Lee Volpe: Erma Bombeck meets Sex and the City:  Growing up I’ve always heard, “If it’s going to happen, it will happen to Lee.”  True as this statement has proven to be, I believe it all happened to ME, so I could share it with YOU.   Laugh along with me…. www.LeeVolpe.comLeeVolpe.com  …where laughter begins.

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