About a year ago the former buffet-turned-thrift store a mile down the road opened as a new restaurant. Its bright sign announced it as “Buck’s: KC’s Original BBQ & Italian Restaurant.” The establishment’s mascot-slash-logo is an unusually muscular male deer.

It didn’t exactly seem like my kind of place.

First of all, Buck’s? I don’t know if you’re aware, but Kansas City has a few other BBQ and Italian restaurants. As in, famous ones.

Second of all, thank you for featuring such a macho buck on your sign. Had I been confused about what kind of customer you were looking for, this would have certainly cleared it right up.

Strangely enough, my husband and I have different opinions on both of the above points. He’s of the opinion that Buck’s might just be the first one bold enough to offer both BBQ and Italian food under one Kansas City roof. And since the day it opened, he’s been convinced that he is, indeed, the type of person who would enjoy such a place. We’ve had many rounds of this conversation:

Mary: Fine, let’s just go out. Where do you want to go?
Mark: Well, we could try that Buck’s.
Mary: Um, NO.

Last month, I realized I hadn’t used a gift certificate I’d earned from Swagbucks. When I saw that I could buy a gift certificate to Buck’s, I decided to be An Awesome Wife and buy it for Mark’s birthday.

He had to work the night of his birthday, but we had time for dinner together. After we gave him a cute daddy card and a mushy husband card, we surprised him with dinner at Buck’s.

And it was Not Awesome.

First of all, we could smell the grease when we got out of the car in the parking lot. Second of all, we could smell the smoke – the stale smoke – when we opened the door.

But I was determined to be An Awesome Wife, so I didn’t complain. After we ordered our food (and suspicious sounding – and, to be honest, looking – BBQ Nachos), we sat at our table. In between birthday hugs, Annalyn was pointing out everything of interest in this new-to-us restaurant.

  • “Look, Mommy! They have bottles of water!” (Also known as wine coolers.)
  • “Oh noooo! He’s got a smoker! It’s going to stink!” (Yes, the man was lighting a cigarette.)
  • “Aghhhh! I can’t breathe! It smells so baaaad!” (The bathroom did smell strongly of sewage.)
  • “Look! They’re playing a game!” (Pool.)
  • “Yay! He hit the ball!”
  • “Are they married?”
  • “Did the boy win? Why did the girl win?”

Luckily, our fellow patrons of what had turned out to be much more bar than grill were amused by my innocent and mouthy little girl and not offended. Unluckily, my dinner was neither BBQ nor Italian and could be better classified as “bar food.”

After wolfing down his BBQ (which was, reportedly, very good), Mark headed off to work, while Annalyn and I went home for the night. The moment we walked in the door, we stripped off our smoky clothes, made our way into jammies and turned on the music for a dance party before bed.

Because after that night it seemed apropos to jam to a little Lynyrd Skynrd.

(As in Sweet Home Alabama. As in the song and the movie. As in the source of my title’s quote. In case you didn’t catch that.)

All right, put your Mom of the Year candidacy aside and tell me: Have you ever had “a baby . . . in a bar”?

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