Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dining Around

Dining around.

This morning, my wife and I made a trip to Ukiah. The day before I told the crew at the store that I would be coming in late, about 1:00 pm. They asked why I would be gone. I told them that I had to take my wife to Ukiah because she was getting a couple of implants. They just looked at me with strange looks until I said, “What?”

They asked me if I knew what I had just said. I said “Yes, I taking my wife to Ukiah because she has to see the dentist about a couple of implants”. They started laughing. Still puzzled, I asked “Whhaaat!”  again. They replied, “you didn’t say dentist the first time that you mention implants”. Still, somewhat puzzled I said “well what other kind of implants are there….  OH.” So we had a good laugh ay my poor unsuspecting wife’s expense. She came into the room and said “What!” ……………. I guess this is one that you had to be there.

I kinda’ enjoy little trips out of town, I get a chance to try new places to eat. It seems like everywhere you go anymore the only thing that you can find are the fast food formula eateries. So it’s kinda’ fun to find a place that has great food like momma makes, where all the locals eat. Sometimes we find it, and sometimes we don’t. So, we found “the spot”, and stopped to eat.

The thing that I find to be almost universally the same, is the waitpersons. Food servers are all the same. They used to call them waitresses, but now there are too many “Food Servers”. So, I have to get into the modern world. Usually the servers wear name badges, and the gleefully tell you, “HI, my name is Tiffany, and I will be your server” Great, now that my server and I are on a first name basis, I won’t have to wonder how to address them. I can just say “Excuse me Tiffany, but my wife can use some more butter”, or whatever we might need. That works well for me, that I’m on a first name basis with somebody that I would probably not even have met if it weren’t for the fact that my wife and I were hungry.

The reason that I say that “servers” are all the same, is it seems that they are stuck in their routine, and that they have “server hearing”. Being a guy, and having all kinds of preconceived notions and ideas, In my ideal world I have this notion where we walk into a restaurant with a pretty good idea of what we are going to have, but we take at least a minute to look at the menu before we order “Coffee, ham and eggs over medium with whole wheat toast.” After the server takes your order you look for the restroom, come back for a few sips of coffee, then your breakfast is placed in front of you, then you eat, pay the bill and give at least a twenty percent tip and leave. Oh yeah…You find a tooth-pick to get that annoying little ort that always hangs up in that place that always catches that little bitty ort that you will wear your tongue out on if you don’t get rid of it. I’ve even been known to stop and cut down a tree with my pocket knife, to make a tooth-pick, to get rid of that little tiny ort between my teeth. As I said, that’s my ideal world….

Well, that’s the way that I said that it should happen. The way it always happens is someone in our group, of me and my wife, has “to go to the bathroom right now”. (Hint: Not me, I’m the one that wanted to order first, remember?) So, I sit at the table and wait. I usually make a paper airplane out of the napkin. When I look up people are staring at me like- you aren’t really going to toss that thing are you?- I gently unfold it like- of course not!- Well, my wife finally comes back from the bathroom. I look around for Tiffany so I can hold up a finger like- I’m ready to order now. Strangely, Tiffany has her back turned, or is rushing back and forth to the kitchen, and eye contact is out of the question. She has “server hearing” also. So even if you called for her by name she wouldn’t hear you.

Well, mild annoyances always make me hafta pee, so I can’t hold it anymore, so I get up and rush to the bathroom. I get back and sit down. My wife said that Tiffany came by and said that she would give us a few more minutes. Damn!

Finally, tiffany comes back and asks us if we would like to order. We say yes. She says would you like coffee? We say yes, and she leaves, after a few minutes we get our coffee and she asks if we would like to order and I say yes… but my wife is still looking at the menu, so tiffany says that she will give us a few more minutes……….NOOOOO! As tiffany rushes off with her pot of hot coffee. I stare at my napkin and wonder what it might taste like.

Finally, tiffany comes back and, polite person that I am, I always let my wife order first. She asks about how everything on the menu is prepared and finally orders the vegetarian dish with a nice little green salad, “With the dressing on the side”. Now, I know what Tiffany is going to ask me, it’s almost like I’ve ordered breakfast before, like what are they going to do, after all this time?, are they going to come up with something different? When it finnnnallly becomes my turn to order,  I order: “huevosrancheros,scrambled,wholewheattoast.” And Tiffany says “How would you like your eggs?” I answer “Scrambled,withwholewheattoast”, then she asks, “what kind of toast would you like”. “whole wheat”. So much for saving time! I don’t know what Tiffany was trying to tell me, but it was plain that she has her own routine and she wasn’t about to change it, no matter how much I had everything figured out.

The service in most places is usually good, so the meal showed up fairly rapidly. “Who gets the “Nice Little Green Salad?” Uh….. That would be the lady… (DUH) Guys wouldn’t eat a nice little green salad unless they call it “The Man Salad” or something manly-man.

The food was delicious, and as usual, I ate the whole thing. My wife had a few scraps of “whatever” on her plate that she proclaimed would make an excellent lunch, so she asked me to get Tiffany to bring us a box. I held up a finger, but Tiffany had her back turned, and she was rushing back and forth to the kitchen. Finally I helped my wife scoop her nice little lunch into the box. We had the right amount of money, but to leave a twenty percent tip, we would need change. The amount of the tip ended in 55 cents and we only had a dollar. So. I held up my finger for Tiffany.

By the time that we left the restaurant, it had started hailing viciously, and I was concerned about driving and whether or not we would be able to make it home safely. Being the gentleman that I am, I opened the door for my sweet wife, she always appreciates that, then I rushed ahead to unlock the car and open her door. She has to put her purse in the back seat so that takes awhile. Then, she can’t decide whether or not to leave her coat on. She decide that the car will be warm enough and she takes the coat off. Of course it has to go in the back seat. I notice that rain and hail was starting to run down my neck and into my shorts, but I remembered that I am a gentleman and politely held her door until she got in. I ran around the back of the car, slipped in the hail and almost fell down. I got in the car and was silently congratulating myself for not falling down. My wife asked me what I was grinning about. I told her that I almost slipped and fell in the mud. She gave me that quizzical, judgemental look that only a wife can give and she said “you are getting strange, did you know that”. I pretend that I have “server hearing" and ignore her.

At about the base of Ridgewood hill, on the way home, I noticed that I had a little bitty piece of food in my teeth, and my tongue was getting raw from trying to lick it out. All through Willits I licked at it. I got as far as the rest-stop at Longvale, and… Well, remember that fir tree that used to be there? The one that looks like somebody whittled it down with a pocket knife…..

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gads!!! That brings back memories of being married.
About the only place I ever eat out at is Jaws in Ukiah. I usually always "make and take" my own lunch for on the road and I always am done with breakfast before anything is open in a town. Not restaurants, but stores that I am going to shop in.
My truck has one of those little clicker thingy's that opens both doors when clicked upon.
Oh yeah, I also carry dental floss in my truck, it comes in handy for more than working on my teeth.

Oregon

Carol said...

Ernie, you write a funny story . . .

Ernie Branscomb said...

Oregon
I'm still confused about marriage. I know that there are good things and there are bad things, I just haven't taken the time to figure it all out.

No Carol, it's my reality. but my wife says that I live in a different world from most folks. I guess that explains a lot.

Rose said...

Better be careful, Ernie. You know you're not allowed to cut down a tree alongside the road! Why you have unleashed the hounds of hell/HomeDepot and all kinds of unimaginable horrors out of Pandora's Big Box, the north coast will be overrun. And Muskrat will be picketing your house.

LOL

kymkemp.com said...

Ernie, that was the Paul Bunyan meets Breakfast at Tiffany's! Thank you for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

Ernie, your writing style reminds me of my favorite story teller, Patrick McManus. I believe I have all his books and now I look forward to reading yours when they come out and if I am still living.

Oregon

Robin Shelley said...

Dang! Kym beat me to "Breakfast at Tiffany's"!

Anonymous said...

I guess I missed something, I never ate at Tiffany's.

Oregon

Robin Shelley said...

It's okay, Oregon. You wouldn't like it.

Ekovox said...

That's Ernie for you: The tooth had to be told.

Speaking of which, do you remember the Fjords Smorg-ette in North Ukiah? Right there at the off-ramp going south across the highway from Masonite. I read they bulldozed it. Freakin' Loggers!

Ben said...

A Swiss Army Knife has a toothpick, us anti logger enviros always carry one.
Next time in Ukiah try Super Taco, it's excellent.

charlie two crows said...

Ernie....Remember when you could buy a hundred pound bag of broken cookies at Mrs. Fields. And you almost wrecked the car driving back to Humboldt with that huge bag in the passengers seat, driving through the curves diggin for the dark chocolate ones. And you couldn't wait to get to French's to buy some milk.LoL

Robin Shelley said...

Mrs. Denson's Cookie Factory.

charlie two crows said...

RObin... Thanks for correcting me I had Mrs Fields double chocolate chip on my mind. We bought the cookies for the hogs. Wish I still had my 62 ford . We used to race two guys from willits. Loleta to the golden gate bridge in four hours flat. In 1970 that was fun.

Anonymous said...

I never stopped for the 100 pound bag of cookies, I would have to find another place for my ice chest if I did that.

Oregon

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ben
I had to laugh at your Swiss Army toothpick.
You are the kind of environmentalist that I could support anytime, anywhere, anyplace. You are an HONEST environmentalist, without any greedy or private agendas. You don't even have a website to send donations and accept credit cards. If you ever decide to do a tree-sit I'll help you climb the tree.

P.S. Whittling down a fir tree might have been one of my small exaggerations.

Ekovox said...

Charlie...remember the pink and white cookies that no one in the family would eat? Nasty little buggers...

We used to always stop at the Willits Cafe on the way down. Typical coffee shop fare and my mom would have liver and onions....(shudder) and my Grandmother used to stop at the 101 Cafe in Laytonville. Of course, traveling from Trinity County in the old days, we had already been traveling about 4 hours by then so those greasy spoons were a welcome stop.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Talking about Ridgewood Grade, (the one at Mrs Dennson's cookie factory) I know truck drivers that, back in the 50s, used to race their trucks from Garberville to San Francisco. The Guy that always won was the one that kicked his truck out of gear going down Ridgewood and out into the flat at the bottom. He said that he was able to keep up his speed all through the Ukiah valley.

Oregons "Ice Chest" was pretty common back in the fifties also. I never knew a logger that didn't have a beer between his legs while driving down the road. When they first came out with the insulating sleeves call beer can coolers the loggers called them "nut warmers".

olmanriver said...

100lb bags of cookies for hogs?!
I am stuck on that line Charlie... how much of the bag really made it to the hogs?

Fun story Ernie...good expose of the hazards of eating out as a couple... thass why I eat alone and take a counter seat for quicker service.

charlie two crows said...

Olmanriver.....Let me tell you how the hogs got drunk off the cookies. My dad went to the grade schools on thursdays,that's the day the kids had corn for lunch. We got barrels full and mixed in cookies and skim milk and let it set for two weeks. Those hogs would get so drunk they would fall down and pass out. You should hear a drunk hog laughin and staggering and trying to fight. Oh yeah the hogs wouldn't eat the pink and white ones either.

Anonymous said...

It has been my experience that hogs will eat just about anything from roots to snakes. Ernie and I used to feed the pigs beer and wine, about 8 gallons at a time. They would get drunk, fall down and couldn't get up. Just about like 2:00 AM at Tommies Joynt in Hayfork back in the early 80's.

Oregon

olmanriver said...

Thanks for the good laugh charlie2crows.

olmanriver said...

Hey Oregon and Ernie, how was it you could afford to give 8 gallons of beer and wine to swine? That was a tease.

Anonymous said...

Well it was in a ten gallon milk can so the amount varied from time to time. The hogs seemed to like it, they made pigs of themselves.

Oregon

Ben said...

My memory of Mrs. Denson's Cookies is positive way back in the 70s but I tried them again many years later and they tasted like the main ingredient was sawdust... Stopped at the Long Valley rest stop to see if I could find the legendary carbonated spring and found the whittled stump of a fir tree... Now I know!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ben
I can save you a lot of trouble. Grandma Rudy's famous soda spring is buried under the freeway, unless it popped up somewhere else, it's gone.

The only hint that I can give you is it was surrounded by an orangish slimy scum all around it. What we commonly call "iron stain".

charlie two crows said...

Ernie.....Meatloaf is my favorite. A few years ago I ate in a small cafe in Fort Bragg on the north end of town. There was only seating for four. The daily special was meatloaf and steamed veggies. The meatloaf tasted like top sirloin. I complimented the two women on the great meatloaf and was informed it was soy and nuts. I was really fooled. Now I've always been a meat and potatoes man. But this was the best meatloaf I have ever eaten. I dream of this place often. Does anyone know if these gals are still in business?

Anonymous said...

That orangish scum you mention must be some sort of red algae. I've seen it clog up spring lines in the summer sun and the whole line had to be discarded.
Solid as a rock... well almost. I'm still going to look for that carbonated spring. A neighbor on the Nielsen Ranch told me he had one but the folks who bought the place said it was fantasy. Could be, as the guy was chemically altered most of the time.

Ben said...

Somehow I became anonymous in the last post... and if you make the security word any harder, I'll need new glasses...

Robin Shelley said...

Charlie,
I've talked to a couple of my Ft. Bragg friends & they both say you might be thinking of Cafe 1... now owned by Mexicans, they say, so I don't know if it's your gals or not.

Robin Shelley said...

And still a good place to eat, my friends say.