Funeral arrangements for Rhett Fleitz and Jeff Harkey

Ok, they’re not dead yet but I’m gonna kill em!

I hate to tell ya this story but I gotta. We finished up the “work” portion of FRI (Fire Rescue International)yesterday. We’ve had a GREAT week here in Atlanta. It started for me and Rhett with our 2nd 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.  It ended with us tearing down, wrapping, packing and loading the Better Angels exhibit for the National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation.

This is a HUGE exhibit. It’s heavy, bulky and VERY fragile. Every piece is individually wrapped before being packed for shipping …. EVERY PIECE. It took a group of about 12 of us nearly 3 hours to break down, pack and load it . IT WAS A HUGE HONOR ! If you haven’t seen this exhibit in person yet, you should. Dawn Siebel did an awesome job of honoring the 343 FDNY members lost that day. Here’s a short video from the Foundation’s site if you didn’t hit the link above.

So, after we got the exhibit loaded and secured, we headed back to the hotel. WE WERE ALL BEAT. Jeff Harkey of Daily911 Deals and Fire moved in with us for the remainder of the stay. We had all decided that we needed a few minutes of rest, a tall tottie and then a nice big steak for dinner! The only question was where to go. Jeff was on it … “I got a guy” he says. Immediately, he was on the phone finding a restaurant. His “guy” told him we should try this place “Cowboy” something or other. COOL !!  sounded right up my alley. About 15 minutes later, his “guy” calls back and says DON’T go to the cowboy whatever bar. He had gotten his names mixed up. The “cowboy” place was actually a local gay bar / restaurant. THANK GOODNESS he stopped us in time. He then advised to head out to this place called the ” Cow Tipper”. Cool …. again, it sounded right up my alley.

We catch a cab, give the driver the address. “Haven’t been there in a while” he says. Hummmm. We arrive. Neat looking joint. Seating inside or out. Christmas lights hanging and strung between the several palm like trees on their patio. It was a beautiful night so we elected to sit outside. Rhett and Jeff are in deep conversation.

My first hint was the two guys making out at the table next to us. The two gals holding hands behind us, the group across the way playfully smacking at the waiter’s butt was another clue (although I’m not sure if it was a waiter or waitress).

I turn to Rhett and he knows something is wrong. “What’s the matter Brother?” he says.  I lean over and whisper in his ear … “Psssssssst … we are at a gay restaurant”.  “That was the other place you idiot … relax” he says. I tell him … take a look around you.

I’m watching him scan the patio as his eyes grow larger and larger. The three of us are the center of attention….. “FRESH MEAT”. Everyone just watched me lean over, pull him close and whisper in his ear. Here were 3 reasonably good looking guys who came in together, having an obvious good time laughing and joking; we are setting together and now I’m blowing in Rhett’s ear.

I’m wearing a silk shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, my buckle and hat. The wait staff is fighting over who gets to bring our drinks. I am now like the best item on the menu!

I get “the speech”. Relax … it will be ok. We are already here. It would take 15 minutes to get a cab back to us .. lets just have a few drinks and eat … how bad can it be?

The longer I sat, the more uncomfortable I became. Then it hit me … we’re in Atlanta … HAVE SOME FUN. So, as they say .. “When in Rome … do as the Romans”. I scooted my chair next to Rhett and threw my arm around him. I thought the entire patio would break into applause.

Guys were buying Rhett and Jeff drinks ALL NIGHT. We were the hottest couple in the place and IT WAS PACKED. Needless to say, I’m gonna kill em. I’m thinking about just digging a hole on the farm some where but if I decided to do a little something more “formal”, I’ll let you know about the arrangements.

I’ll have a good update for the trip very soon. We are on the road to home this morning with a brief stop in Charlotte. Until I get back .. Stay Safe and in House!

Captain Wines