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Done's Guide to Living in Savanna, IL
by Michael "Done" Sardone

    Savanna (from the Sioux Indian phrase "Who let that fly in here?"), Illinois is a small grotto of roughly 4,000 people, nestled comfortably next to the Burlington Northern rail lines which lie next to The Big Drink - Old Man River - that body of water that the little rapscallion Huck Finn ran away on - the river Tina Turner rolled on - The Mighty Mississip. Now to see where Savanna is, a good idea would be to take a map of the United States, preferably wall-size, and find New Orleans, Louisiana. That's where the Mississippi River ends. Take your right index finger (or left index finger if you are a lefty weirdo freak), put it on New Orleans, start following the curvy blue line north, and get set to take a fantabulous journey. Well, at least your finger will think it's a fantabulous journey, cuz fingers are stupid (except the magic ones). Anyways, continue along northward until you get towards northern Illinois, right next to Iowa, but not actually in Iowa, for all those of you who think I live in Iowa, which I don't. On the right side of Iowa you'll see Dubuque - all over the place. Classic vaud-e-ville. Dubuque is reasonably close to here, say 45 minutes. To get to Dubuque, you can go through St. Donatus, Iowa. Kooky, huh? Anyways, you're in the general vicinity of Savanna proper, so as long as you ask a local who isn't drooling, you could pretty much find your way here.

What To Do In Savanna
    So, you've made it to Savanna, what do you do now? If you're a Done (pronounced "Doan"), you make sure you've paid your cable and electric bills and get those electrons flowing. (This is a really good option no matter where you hang your hat.) Well, the signs on the ways into town tout Savanna as "Sportsman's Paradise- Hunting - Fishing - Hiking - Golfing - Lodging - Antiques". Yes, there are plenty of good places to hunt (I can't see it in my heart to shoot Bambi or Bambi's mom - I guess I don't have that killer instinct) and fish(I can't see it in my heart to hook the Incredible Mr. Limpet - I guess I don't have that killer instinct), and there is a nice state park with a few miles of good trails, and while the golf courses are out of town, they are close enough to enjoy. But I'll say it - when the *@&$!* did lodging become a sport? I don't remember seeing the 100 meter nap at the Atlanta games. Or is the real sport in trying to find a room at a reasonable rate - "I'll give you $24 a night but only if there's HBO included."? Plus, if any of you ever came to Savanna, you could stay at my place, and there's really no sport in that. And don't get me started on the "sport" of antiquing - the legendary sport of queens. (By the way, the antique shops are kind of cute, but you won't find anything special there - not that I ever go into those shops - and not that there'd be anything wrong with that if I did.)

What To REALLY Do In Savanna
    Those are the official Chamber of Commerce things to do in Savanna. But what do you really do in town? Like a president in the game of Asshole says, "Drink!" Drinking in this town is a professional sport, like baseball. Just like Major League Baseball*, there are many places to play it, no time limit, can be downright boring if there's a small crowd, and can get bogged down by frequent pitcher changes (ooh, that was a good one - I even surprise myself sometimes). Let me see how many places I can remember - there's Schroeder's, Charlie's, Manny's, Gene's Oasis, O'Canavan's, Green's, Tip & Sip, Whiskey River, CJ's, Pool 13, Mississippi Steamer, Upper Deck, and I know there's at least three more I'm not remembering. I usually go to the last two - the Steamer has good appetizers and dinners, a really good bar, $.75 drafts, and not too many people go in there; the Upper Deck has $.25 Tuesdays and $.50 Thursdays - nuf said. And if I had $150,000 , I could buy it right now! Just about every place has one of those bar trivia/game machines that sit on top of the bars; there's no better way to get rid of those pesky quarters.
    There's kind of a tradition here called "The Crawl" where you have to drink at every place that serves alcohol, and that includes like all the restaurants and Pizza Huts and such. I think that that makes it about 19 places, maybe more. I haven't done it but there's talk of maybe trying it in a couple of weeks. As for actually drinking, there's not much to tell, except that the key is to have a base of operations, a place where they know you, and to get to know your bartender/bartendrix. Two key words - "free beer". (I can't actually type the Hallelujah Chorus, so you'll just have to sing it to yourself). Other than that, there's not much to tell 'bout Savanna, except that if you're driving, don't drink, and if you're drinking, don't drive. Goodnight everybody! I'm here all week, try the veal!

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*The use of "Major League Baseball" above was authorized by expressed written consent of the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball and is not intended for rebroadcast or retransmission; all rights reserved.

© copyright 1997 Michael Sardone