I know, if Buffet is in the name of the restaurant I should not be grazing there. But, there I was—at the Pizza Buffet. And there she was—a little old lady— 70ish.
She bellies up to the pizza bar. There were 12 varieties of pizza on the bar. She tells the young man tending the buffet, “Why do all your pizzas have to be so weird?”
She, “They all have so many different kinds of stuff on them. You’re lucky I come here at all because of my gluten.”
He, feeling blessed, says, “We will make any kind you want and it can be thin, medium or thick crust. Even gluten free!”
She, “What do you mean?”
He, “Really, any kind you want.”
I, as I munched on my thin crust, sweet chili, chicken pizza, believed him.
He described one of his delicacies. She whined, disapprovingly, until he got to “green pepper,” then she, with force, said, “I hate green pepper.”
He said, helpfully — maybe hopefully, “I can leave the green pepper off.”
She: “I don’t want you to do that. It’s too much trouble for you.”
He said, “Tell me what you want on it and we will make it up for you.”
She, “You know you are lucky I even came here because of my gluten.”
He was now edging for the kitchen and escape, but still trying to help. He started another description and it was going well until he got to “broccoli.”
It sounded good to me. I will order it next time.
You guessed it. She, feebly, moaned, “I hate broccoli.”
He made the leave-it-off offer. She declined in full whine — a rich, full-bodied, with a hint of tannin, Muskegon whine, “I don’t want you to do that. It’s too much trouble for you.”
He escaped. She took pizzas of four or five different varieties came back to her table and said to her sister, “We don’t have to tip at a buffet do we?”
back in the 50’s. He is a baseball hall-of-famer who threw a perfect game.
Several weeks ago, I was watching baseball in one of its purest forms. Ten year olds dropped fly balls, let grounders dribble through wicket legs, threw balls to the wrong base, and ran amok. It was wonderful.
As usual, September can’t make up her mind.
Hang on to summer or kiss autumn hello?
Decorate with confetti leaves or,
Frame the sky with green?
90 or 40?
Wet pencil lead clouds or a ceiling of azure?
Oh, September just stay like you are.
Whatever that is….
I don’t like who’s following you.
I was recently reminded of how a woman, I never met, caused me such embarrassment. A stop light flashed red, and while I considered sneaking through, I didn’t. It might have been the music that sliced the edge off my aggressive driving.
I stopped. I was in the middle of three east bound lanes. The lane to my left turned north. The lane to my right required a choice of east or south. My lane was the only one without a choice. I had to go east.
If Pez spit out square pieces and not rectangular, if it were concrete and not candy, and large and heavy …… not tiny and light, you would think a giant Pez dispenser laid the sidewalk along my street. 4′ x 4′, the concrete squares parade in frozen formation down my perfect road. But.. wait a minute….hold on now– they are not quite perfect and not, really, frozen.
Just before 7:00 PM. I’m hungry. Too tired to think much about where to eat. I know just the place. It’s the kind of place you would choose only when you didn’t think too much about it, a place where nobody knows your name unless you are Dutch. Russes restaurants– Holland Michigan— where the menu always stays the same– in fact– the menu, specifically, the one that you are holding, is the same. A nine year old kid flips through the menu and says, “Hey, I remember leaving this ketchup stain here when I was little.”
Mom and Dad think back wistfully, “That’s right, you were about two and half when you left that.” Ewww.
I walk through the door. The sign warns, “Soup and salad bar close at 7:00.”
It’s 6:57. The old guy that is hosting is more interested in impressing the teen waitress than seating customers so he ignores me. A waitress motions me to the booth just inside the dining area. “I’ll be right back to get your drink order in a bit.”
In a “bit” the soup and salad bar would be closed, so I ask as she speeds by me, “Can I get the bar?”
Just as I knew she would, she looks at her watch and says, “It’s going to be closing soon.” Anywhere else in the world they would leave it open for a last minute customer— not Russes.
“Look,” I beg, “I will run over and get my soup and salad and then you can get my drink order.”
Graciously, she says, “Oh, go ahead.”
I groveled to get to this soup bar to choose from their four mediocre varieties all of which were, possibly, life-threatening. Remember the bar had been going since 11:00 AM (not a minute earlier). Two of the soups were too disgusting to remember, but I knew I could make something that I could choke down if I combined the two other, Chicken corn chowder and Chicken with rice. Combine them about 50-50 and they weren’t half-good but better than combining the split pea with anything.
My waitress was waiting for me when I got back to the table with my 50-50 soup and a salad of translucent slimy iceberg lettuce with a hint of carrot. The toppings were palpitating so I passed on them but the French dressing didn’t let me down. I could, showing how I classy I am, sucked that dressing down with a straw.
She shoved a glass of lukewarm water with three dice sized pieces of ice and disappeared until I would later, once again, beg her for something else.
Now, it was time to dine and enjoy the stolen ambiance that I could gain by listening to the conversations in the booths in front of me and behind me. Eavesdropping in Russes– an old Holland tradition.
Front booth– a sixty year old man and his eighty year old mom were holding a consult on skin cancer. He was reading all the different kinds of skin diseases displayed on his smart phone. He read in great detail of lesions, bleeding, itchiness and pus while turning his phone around so mom could enjoy the pictures too. I couldn’t clearly see the pictures on phone but one looked a lot like my lettuce.
Behind me, the foursome was expressing great concern over an acquaintance that had cancer. They never mentioned her in the very audible prayer for the food that was set before them. I couldn’t decide if it was more shocking that they could give thanks for the Russes’ food or that they ignored their dying friend in prayer.
The best was yet to come when they began guessing when she would die. It would have been like an NCAA basketball tourney pool but no money was mentioned.
There was a lot going for this meal. Lettuce that looked like skin cancer. Soup made palatable only by my alchemy. Conversation to the front and to the back that was worthy of adolescent boys.
So the waitress comes and says, “Do you want any dessert.” Anyone in his right mind would have said, “No, just the bill,”
I said, “Got any apple pie?”
She said, “No, here’s your bill.”