If you are from my hometown then you are more than likely familiar with JR’s. If you’re not familiar then let me give you a little background:
JR’s was this little bar – similar to a honky tonk, I’m guessing – that was dark and grungy and known for the people it attracted (if you’re picking up what I’m putting down) and the fights that broke out. It was not my bar of choice, in fact, when I turned 19 and was old enough to drink and go out to the clubs, my mother nearly forbade me from going to JR’s. She didn’t actually forbid me, which is why I did go to that spot on occasion, but it definitely was not my cup of tea. Nor my first choice of dance clubs.
One summer, however, my BFF Kim and I had planned to go to JR’s. It was her first time going and it was a big deal. It was the summer of Ghetto Superstar and we could hardly wait to rock out on the dance floor to that song. (Lord, I’m getting old!) The bar was packed. There is a military base just outside of our town and Saturday nights the boys let loose. JR’s was the bar of choice for these cats. There is also a lot of agricultural business in and surrounding my communities – lots of farming of many types. And a lot of farmers hired outside of Nova Scotia, back then mostly Bajans (read: Barbadians).
The military folk were cocky – arrogant SOBs who walked around like they owned the town, and the Bajans would hit on anything walking upright. These two groups clearly did not see eye-to-eye. (But then again, the military boys didn’t really see eye-to-eye with anyone.)
And then there was us: locals. Valley peeps just out for a good time, having a few drinks, dancing our butts off, and hanging with friends and people we knew from high school.
This night was special though. Kim was my best friend. I always felt like we were soul mates. I partly credit her for helping me bust out of my shell and becoming the hilarious girl I am today; and I had promised her for so long that we would eventually go out to JR’s and we would dance our dance to Ghetto Superstar and it would be a fucking blast! And the night went pretty perfectly. We danced. We had a few drinks. We mingled with friends. It was summer and the night was young fun.
Several times while we were on the dance floor, however, this young, drunk punk kept bumping into us. The guy wasn’t very big but he was completely wasted and he was perpetually on the dance floor (alone) bumping and knocking and grating on everyone’s last nerve. Y’know at first, everyone was like “Meh, it’s all good. We’re cool.” But after so many times you kind of can’t handle much more.
There was another young couple on the dance floor. The guy was clearly military and he and his girl were dancing and making out – but minding their business and having fun. McBumpy danced into them a few times and Military boy was obviously getting more and more annoyed.
When Ghetto Superstar was finally played Kim and I made our way to the center of the dance floor and broke out our dance moves. We were stoked and we were literally having the time of our lives! Then it happened, McBumpy bumped me again and again and again. I know the poor dude was just out for a good time and should have been cut off long before, but I was seriously irritated and when he bumped me for the last time I made sure it was the.last.time.
I shoved him….and bam! He cascaded right into Military dude and his woman. Needless to say, Military dude had had enough by this point and he shoved him back, and then he smoked McBumpy.
This is where it gets realllllly interesting. It was like a domino effect, but in reality, it was just the nature of JR’s. Because right after Military dude punched McBumpy, someone else punched someone else. And then someone else punched someone else….until a full-out brawl broke out. I’m not even kidding. It was like something out of a movie. Dozens of people were fighting. Even the bouncers were sucker-punching people (again, the nature of JR’s). It was REDONKULOUS!
I grabbed Kim’s hand and we made our way outside of the bar as we ducked and avoided getting the shit beat out of us. Once outside, the scenery was exactly the same – fights were erupting everywhere. Bajans and Military and Homeboys and Locals and Bouncers. It was chaos.
One of my friends, who happened to be a former boxer, got a tap on the shoulder in the midst of all this. When he turned around he got sucker-punched. Big mistake! I can still hear the sound of his fist connecting with the other guy’s face!
In the midst of this chaos Kim and I were trying to decipher what the hell we should do and how to get out of that bruhaha. In the distance, we could hear the sirens wailing, and they got closer and closer. Still holding hands, Kim and I bolted through the crowd, dodging fists and slaps, and ran through the back parking lot, through what can only be described as a tiny field back then; running, running, behind buildings, to safety – and far away from what was likely the biggest fight in JR’s history. While we were getting out of Dodge, we looked back and saw NINE police cars already at the bar!! I didn’t even realize our little town had nine police cars! I’m sure more came later.
We roamed, quietly, the streets for a while, staying out of sight, until the hoopla died down, and eventually made our way back to my car and headed home. But the night was so insane that, even though it was probably already 3am, we were so wound up from our crazy adrenaline rush that there’s no way we could have slept. So, we drove to my church parking lot and climbed onto the hood of my Chevy Blazer (Dave) and stared at the stars. The smell of summer is not something one can easily forget. And that night is still vivid in my memory. After a while of us just laying there in silence we cracked. Uncontrollable laughter of what had just happened. And all because we wanted to dance in peace. That night we were ghetto superstars!