The plan was simple enough: Invite some friends over for an afternoon of gaming but move things outdoors so we could enjoy the lovely weather, use the BBQ to avoid heating the house up unnecessarily, and generally have a backyard bash, albeit small. I was inspired by the Dr Pepper #BackyardBash blog, actually, which you can find at DrPepperBash.com.
When the day came, however, the games were ready, the snacks were ready, the drinks — Dr Pepper all around! — were chilling, but it was not only ridiculously hot (97F on the thermometer) but ominous dark clouds were heading our way and the wind was picking up just prior to people showing up. Not so good for enjoying the great outdoors.
Enter Plan B — Our Outdoor Party, Indoors!
Since we didn’t have the wind to worry about, it also allowed me to set up some other games, including a favorite WWII wargame called Memoir ’44.
But let’s back up, because to start this adventure, I had popped into the local Walmart to pick up Cheez-It snacks, a new Coleman ice chest and an 8-pack of my all time favorite soda, Dr Pepper.
And as is common here in the States, there was a crazy wealth of choices:
We Americans sure love our options, even if it can freeze us into complete deer-in-the-headlights indecision. I mean, “let’s grab a box of Cheez-It snacks while we’re at Walmart!” turns into this:
That’s not even all the options. But the “Duoz”? Love the idea, so that’s what we got, both the Sharp Cheddar & Parmesan and the Smoked Cheddar & Monterey Jack. My 10yo shopping assistant had a very creative pronunciation for the last flavor too: “mon-terrier jack”. I went to correct her, but ya know what? Cute won. So that was one of our flavors, mon-terrier jack.
Turns out that Walmart also carries quite a range of Coleman products. I always think of the brand as associated with camping, sort of everyday entry-level gear for people who want to car camp or equip their children for those exciting campouts in the backyard that invariably end at 11pm or so when the weird noises of the neighborhood finally get to the exhausted little ones.
We picked up a great little ice chest that’s not only perfect for our little backyard shindigs but will be ideal for hitting the game with my son’s basketball team, a dozen or more cold beverages in tow.
Here it is, filled to overflow with Dr Pepper:
You can’t tell from the photo, but like smartly designed airport travel luggage, this cooler has an extending handle and wheels, making it great for dragging across athletic fields, ready for an afternoon of lacrosse or a post-basketball picnic. Or a backyard bash!
Remember those boxes of mixed Cheez-It snacks? I like mystery, so I mixed both boxes into a single bowl, four flavors combined:
It was remarkably popular with my friends and since it was hard from looking to know which flavor was which, the consensus was that the “white ones” were better, which could mean that it was the parmesan or the mon-terrier jack flavor. 🙂 I will say that by the time we were done gaming, we’d eaten just about every single cracker from two boxes of Cheez-It Duoz.
And finally, here’s the Memoir ’44 game, set up and ready to play:
I got to play the Allies, advancing up Omaha Beach towards an Axis stronghold. While enjoying a cold Dr Pepper and my own personal bowl of Cheez-It snacks. Or was I eating and drinking while being distracted by the game as we all just chatted? Either way, definite fun with our games, and some terrific snacking too.