Featured, Theory & Essay

Saginawesome In Saginaw, Part II

(When we left our super hero, he had returned to his hotel room to go to sleep at 4am!)

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd…I was up at 8am. Because I hate myself and because I can’t sleep in late to save my life unless I’m blackout drunk. But it was a good thing that I was awake because I was one of a few folks (all involved in the wedding) who had to go and actually SET UP the wedding venue. Now, this isn’t information I knew before I got there. Or even at 10pm the night before. No, this is information that I found out as I was taking a shot off of a ski at around 130am!

D’oh well.

Now, while I may not have enjoyed having to set up the wedding ceremony and then the chairs, etc. for the reception (it was an outdoor wedding), I found a certain joy to being outside and chillin’ in the cool Michigan breeze at 930am. Plus, the venue – the house of a family member of one of the bride – was gorge. You don’t realize how big somebody’s backyard is until you set up 150 chairs in half moon configuration AND have a huge tent that fits nearly 200 people with chairs, tables, and buffet tables. The dance floor was right outside of the tent. Point is, this yard was bigahelshawty. After the set up I went back to the hotel to wait for the homey, The Great, to show up. Now this is one of my drankin’ partnas/real life debate partners. We shared a room and as soon as he walked in (around noon) the drinking started. We nearly killed a whole bottle of Bulleit BEFORE the rehearsal at 4pm with another compadre, JBreezy. And we’re drinking amidst on-going discussions about police brutality, Ta-Nehisi Coates book, James Baldwin, etc. You know, the important shit.

Let’s scoot on up on a few hours to the important stuff. Now, my crew of friends, we’re the type that like to party. A lot. Especially out of town. After the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner was a party set up by the bride and groom.

At a funeral home.

I’m gonna let you sit with that for a minute.

(*cues up* Dr. Dre’s Compton and waits for somebody to call it a classic)

You done marinating on that one?

Lemme ‘splain.

The bride grew up in this funeral home. Her family owned a mortuary in Saginaw for many, many years and now still runs and operates the location though they apparently sold it some time ago. Now, for her family, and my boy who is marrying into the family, that’s just another day in Saginaw. For the rest of us, there was a bit of “bro…there are caskets around. And we’re partying.”

So yes, from about 9pm-1230am, we had a party complete with dancing, drankin’, FIREWORKS, and shenanigans at a funeral home. In Saginaw, Michigan. With caskets around. Since I know you want to know, there were no actual dead bodies in the spot seeing as there were no active funerals to prepare bodies for…

…to my knowledge. One of my peoples remarked that she’s basically gonna lose every game of “I Never” from here on out, because if anybody throws out “I never partied at a funeral home…” well…you get the point. But if you think partying at a funeral home is crazy…fam….b….my nigga….

Let me tell you about the Elks.

Saginaw – bless its heart – has a lot of Black folks. But one thing they don’t have is a lot of Black clubs. In fact, when we asked about going to the club, nearly every Black person from there said one place and one place only – the Elks. And for those of you who have lived in cities with an Elks Lodge…that’s exactly where we went. To a motherfucking hall with with a DJ and the oldest women legally allowed to serve liquor as bartenders. Like, your grandmother was serving drinks, my nigga. My boy…got in wearing flip flops.

Let THAT marinate. I got to the door and was like, “yo, we’re a wedding party from out of town…there’s a lot of us….we might not all meet the dress code…”

Dude basically said, “say no more (yells to somebody else) WE GOT OUT OF TOWNERS!” which in retrospect sounds like a robbery chant.

Let’s describe who was partying in this locale: niggas. Really old niggas. That sums it up.

That was rude. And racist. Let me try again. You know how folks see folks they ain’t seen before? Yeah that was us. We were all dressed…reasonable. Folks in the Elks? We’re talking about chicks in all white that they should have left at Dollar General. Old timers dressed for the player’s ball…that wasn’t happening. Middle aged dudes who looked like they legit might rob at least one of us when we walked out. I’m talking about FUBU, du-rags, K-Swiss, plaid with oversized shorts, white tees with way oversized pants. You know what it really looked like? A bunch of teenagers going out on a date.

IMG_1659You know how the dudes never dress right? They dress like they straight off the block in their best, straight off the block apparel, which is really just a step up from wife-beater and shorts. And the girls tend to over dress for Olive Garden? I’ve seen this tons of times…especially at Olive Garden. To be fair, I remember when I thought Olive Garden was fine dining.

Despite this, we turned the fuck up. The DJ played a lot of southern music (at the request of our party) and then played some local Saginaw shit that turnt the club out at one point. It was lit like a motherfucker. Except for us being told not to drink on the dance floor. You heard that right. Saginaw needs to get its rules together. Apparently this is common knowledge because our crew was legit the only folks drinking on the dance floor. But the drinks…AGAIN…my G…6 bucks for a Henny and Coke. #wheredeydodatat #saginaw

You know how when you’re in LA and you’re from a real city (shots fired) and the club closes at 2pm so the lights come on at 145 and they start herding niggas out? Saginaw is just like this…except the lights came up at 140am. Needless to say, we weren’t ready to stop partying. So somebody suggested what sometimes amount to final words: “there’s an after hours spot we know about!”

Listen to me. Seriously.

We went to the after hours spot (after having lost at least 10 people from the crew – we shall call them the smart ones), called Old Timers Club II. Which means there was an Old Timers Club I. Picture your living room. Then picture a bar, some tables and chairs, a DJ, and one of those spinning lights you can buy at Spencer’s. Now, I’m not shitting on this spot. It’s owned by the uncle of the bride – her family is apparently deep in the SagNasty – but my eyes are STILL burning from the cigarette smoke. Now picture everybody who was in the Elks, and add 20 years to them. To each person. That “Old Timers” shit? Real deal, Holyfield. I think I managed to make it for about 30 minutes as my eyes were bleeding. Also, one dude walked in who looked like he was likely to take all of our money. AND some woman in there kind of flipped out about people touching her…except nobody was touching her…then she went to hug somebody. I think there were maybe 40 people inside and it felt like the most packed night The Park has ever had. 40 felt like the night Drake had his party at Sax in DC.

IMG_1801With that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed myself at both places. I wanted to experience Saginaw…I experienced Saginaw. I partied with the locals for real and that’s all I ever really want to do when I’m out of town. My boy, The Great, was asleep in the car, which in more retrospect was probably as bad an idea as one can have in a city you ain’t from.

After a night of real shenanigans, we all ventured back into the Saginaw night to prepare for the big day! I hit that pillow at about 330am. You know how we do it.

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Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Aly

    I weep for your poor liver. Sounds like a fun time, though.

    • Lea Thrace

      Was just about to say this. Not sure how he is still standing after this kind of partying. lol

      • ChiChi

        He could be standing… but you’re not about to convince me that the alcohol wasn’t seeping from each and all of y’alls pores the day of the blessed event.

        • panamajackson

          It wasn’t though. Amazingly, I wasn’t “drunk” the entire trip. I was tipsy at one point, but never felt “drunk” at all.

          • That sounds like my entire time in Barbados. When you’re constantly drinking, your body adjusts.

          • ChiChi

            wedding adrenaline?

    • brothaskeeper

      The liver is resilient, though.

      • Aly

        Is it? Ok.

        • brothaskeeper

          For some. I’m speculating.

    • LadyIbaka

      Pretty avi!!

      • Aly

        Thank you!

    • nillalatte

      I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking about PJ’s liver. :/

  • brothaskeeper

    “there’s an after hours spot we know about!” = true death. When someone utters those words, you can ex out all your next day plans.

    Holes in the wall are the best time ever, and it’s either the Elks lodge or the old armory.

    • ChiChi

      right! You really have to take a cold hard look at life and make a choice.

    • VFW

      • brothaskeeper

        Yezzir!!!!

        NCO club, Ft. Jackson.

    • panamajackson

      Yeah. while I’ll never go back to this place EVER, I’m glad i went. I feel like i took full advantage of Saginaw.

      • miss t-lee

        You got to! Gotta have the full experience when you travel.

      • Roy Harris

        I lived there for 6 months or so. Only thing you missed is hooping at The High.

      • Chris Steward

        I haven’t read Part 1 yet, and I definitely will, but I was born and raised in Saginaw and I think I know the family you’re talking about. I mean its not a ton of funeral home tycoons in Saginaw. Great piece. On to part 1.

    • Dani

      And the most dangerous here in Chicago but it’s great people watching

    • LadyIbaka

      Sooooooo….can you like give us an update. You got any lace panties your way or nah?

      • brothaskeeper

        Simp of the Year is still solo dolo. Stay tuned.

        • LadyIbaka

          Mmkay!!

        • HeyBooHey

          All the popcorn you been trying to share lately?!? You’ll be a taken simp soon enough bk

          • brothaskeeper

            Simp Daddy went to Sam’s Club last week. I got a 24-pack.

            • LadyIbaka

              They didn’t have a 6-pack?

              • HeyBooHey

                The 24-pack is so he’s fully stocked and prepared. The better to simp with, my dear

              • brothaskeeper

                At Sam’s????? Sheeee, they sell dill pickles in BUCKETS. A 24-pack was the smallest I could get. *munches*

            • LadyIbaka

              I thought you were being metaphorically poetic. Never mind.

              • brothaskeeper

                You’re fine. :-)

        • h.h.h.

          #WelcomeToMyWorld #RelaxYoullBeThereForAWhile lol

          • brothaskeeper

            *settles in with a freshly popped bag of Pop Secret*

  • Holley Clark

    You sure this was Saginaw MI and Not my city Akron, Ohio because when you said the Elks I thought Oh God my uncle going be there trying to pick up woman. Lol. and the VFW always has the best drinks with old GM’S aka General Motor Plant Workers retired to pay for them for us there. Lol

    • miss t-lee

      Oh, the VFW halls…

      • Amber

        I grew up in Indiana and sadly we looked forward to being old enough to get in the elks or vfw halls lol

        • miss t-lee

          Been to too many parties, receptions, baby showers at the VFW…lol

        • panamajackson

          Y’all need more entertainment options.

  • LadyIbaka

    I’m too bougie for Saginaw. Lawd!!!! Rewind, I had a dream about you. I don’t even know what it was about, but I had a dream just like Martin Luther King! Kendrick have a dream too, no?

    • Giggity.

      • LadyIbaka

        No comprende

  • kimest3e

    I have lived in Michigan my whole life and have never been to Saginaw. I had to Google Map it to find out where it is. I have however been to varying cabarets held at Elks and VFW halls . A lot of UAW/County/City retiree parties are held at “The Lodge” or “The Hall”. There also seems to be a lot of old people ballroom clubs at “The Hall” per my Dad.

  • Dani

    Your tales have inspired me to want to go to my homecoming this yr in good ole Allendale, MI. That’s about an hour outside of Sag Valley and probably an even smaller town

  • miss t-lee

    Oh the after hours spots…always a good time. If you can actually remember what happened the next day. It’s always a fine line between having a good time, and being worried about your life.
    Also your description of the Elks club sounds just like a function I went to once at a lodge.
    A wild time indeed.

  • uNk

    “And the girls tend to over dress for Olive Garden? I’ve seen this tons of times…especially at Olive Garden”
    Let me tell you how many times i have silently judged women ive seen coming in on dates that overdress for this place lol

    • All the time, B. It’s always sad to see the disappointment on her face as she expected to go somewhere worthy of that dress and beat face. It’s like watching a player fall in the draft

      • uNk

        There has to be some sort of mass communication to alert folks “it aint that type of place,” and fellas should know better lol I went one Friday only because i wanted their breadsticks. At first I felt like a bum, then i had to reevaluate.

        • I kinda expect for a young dude, pockets kinda hurt, we all been there. It be the older dudes who bring the girl they met on tinder that’s it’s like come on son, hov did that so hopefully u don’t have to go thru that

          • That young dude date struggle is REAL. When your pockets ain’t popping like that, dinner at a spot like that, some OJ and a bottle of Smirnoff are EVERYTHING! At the same time, there’s a difference between college nice and grown up nice. If you don’t know that by 25,there ain’t much I can do for you.

    • Don’t I know man.. DON’T I KNOW! It’s like I want to show them the better life. I remember back when I was married, the Mrs. and I went there and saw this chick come in with her furs, best dress and full face of makeup. We were both sitting there looking perplexed.

      • uNk

        Right!! like i think the one and only time i was dressed up like that for Olive Garden was for Prom lol

    • LadyIbaka

      What is being overdressed?! It’s a first date, I don’t want to look like I don’t care, because clearly I do to have accepted the date. I’d rather be overdressed than underdressed.

      • uNk

        This is true…but then again i guess the guy in question should be informing you of when and where the date is happening….so you dont have to go through that Olive Garden attire struggle lol

        • LadyIbaka

          Oh honey, I’m that babe who would be decked in furs on furs on furs, just because OG, is just the beginning of the night. We gon step in the name of love afterwards, ya dig?

    • HeyBooHey

      But you haven’t lived til you’ve seen a couple overly dressed up ordering “the best moscato” at the Red Lobster and prominently displaying the bottle throughout the meal. I still pray better for their lives

      • LadyIbaka

        Lmaoo!!!

      • MALynn

        But them cheddar biskits are rumored to be sure panny droppers tho…

        • HeyBooHey

          WHAT?!?! Let a man bring me a basket o’ biskits of the cheddar bay variety. Pannies will be handed to him at the door

          • MALynn

            Exactly!! My bff’s husband brings back the basket o’ biskits home to wifey whenever he knows he’s effed up major. F*ck flowers and chocolate!

            • HeyBooHey

              Lol, that’s a smart man. He be knowin

        • uNk

          The horrible thing about Red Lobster and Olive Garden is that the first thing that pops into maybe 95% of ppls brainsupon either of these words being mentioned……..is Chedder biscuits and breadsticks

          • HeyBooHey

            Because, honestly, aside from those borderline tasty treats….why else would you go?

          • MALynn

            because they are delicious and you can take ’em home and eat for days!

      • panamajackson

        It’s been a long time since I’ve gone to Red Lobster. I may need to revisit to see folks order Moscato.

        Ohh…story time. I used to date this woman, very nice girl who had a propensity for ordering moscato everywhere we went. She really liked it, but also felt like it was quality wine. Le sigh. She even ordered it at Busboys & Poets in DC once, which is not the moscato spot. I told her that she just spit on the grave of Langston Hughes and the entire table behind us busted out laughing.

        • HeyBooHey

          To get the full effect, you have to go to an area where Red Lobster is considered “fine dining”. Like Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, NY. Or someplace like Suitland.

          But the more important question is….did your misguided moscato connoisseur of a date know who Langston Hughes was to catch the shade??

          • panamajackson

            She absolutely did. That’s what made it so ironic.

          • First, I swear that the Green Acres Mall location of Red Lobster is one of the most famous in the chain. It stays getting mentioned. Then again, when you were the only sit-down spot for food that was also not too far or in a sundown town, you’ll have everyone’s heart.

            But yeah, I’ve been DELIVERT from that. LOL

            • HeyBooHey

              Because Green Acres Red Lobster is the stuff of legend. I try to go back there to wait 1.5-2hrs to sit and eat mediocre/average seafood at least every 5th visit to see my family in NY. Everybody aged 29-47 had at least 1 first date there before/after a movie at Sunrise (RIP). Somebody you know ran out on a check. And you’ve witnessed more then a few rude yet hilarious waitstaff somehow stay employed. Red Lobster is fun, it’s true. Especially when they sing for you.

              • I must be the only one never to have taken a date there in that age bracket. Then again, once you run the numbers you get a bigger bang for your buck in Manhattan anyway…

                • HeyBooHey

                  Manhattan was for the ballers with metrocards and disposable income. Me and HS bae would meet up on Archer Ave, hop a $1 van and snuggle in the backseat while we rode out to get some biskits. Young Queens love at its finest

              • Sunrise was always trash

                • Kema

                  No it wasn’t!!! Back in the day most people would dress up to go to the Green Acres Red Lobster.

        • Reading this almost makes me not want to order moscato everywhere I go. Almost. Like, it might be tacky if it weren’t just so insanely delicious.

          • panamajackson

            Folks are judging you when you order moscato. Trust me.

            • I can try to class it up by getting pink or red moscato, but I’d just be lying to my self #phillygirlsbelike

              • HeyBooHey

                What’s funny is my old roommate who’s Philly-adjacent (s/o to Chester, PA all day!) is the one who intro’d me to Moscato. Her sophistaratchet kicked in and she switched to Reisling after she got side-eyed one night at Haru (RIP)

                • YeaSoh

                  That’s pretty funny

                • Oh man, moscato to wash down a Red Lobster crab and roasted garlic seafood bake is an event worth over-dessing for. You’re gonna have to pray for me too, but I’m not sure it would help.

                  • HeyBooHey

                    Prayer works. I’m not sure how much it would work in your case, but Imma lift you up at altar call anyway, girl

            • nillalatte

              *puts down the bottle of moscato she was intending to buy at Sam’s because, you know, quantity*

          • YeaSoh

            The “BETTER THAN THOUs” think of it as like the SODA or “Cold POPs” of the wine family – which who are we kidding – it is…

            I usually just ask for Riesling… it’s about as sweet and uppity enough to go undetected by the “aristocrats”

            • Yeah, if moscato were a soda, it would probably be the Costco brand. But darned if having that Costco soda doesn’t come in handy at a party.

              Riesling might still be a little too bougie for me, but if I ever have to get upper crusty I’ll keep this in mind.

  • h.h.h.

    Olive Garden isn’t fine dining?

    pfft. y’all too boogie for me.

    • I can get some Marie Callanders, day old salad and breadsticks at Stop and Shop

    • HeyBooHey

      It’s at peak boogie when the Unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks is on. Ball out til you fall out

    • YeaSoh

      No

  • Only time I’ve been to lodges is for family reunions and or birthday parties for people over 55…i always wondered what went on outside of those events.

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