Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2017

Archive for the category “Restaurants”

Pass The Croutons 

WE, MEANING MYSELF, MY WIFE, THE LOVELY AND COLLECTIVELY WONDERFUL, DAWN, OUR EVER YOUTHFUL BOY, ALEX, and whichever of our friends will go with us, enjoy lunch together every Sunday.

Where we go to eat changes weekly. Some weeks we go out for pizza. The next week we might hit one of the 70,000 chain restaurants that have found a home in Terre Haute (That’s French for “What’s your soup today?”). You name a franchise eatery and it has a store here. Good, bad, or ugly, if they have a plastic menu they can make a buck feeding the residents of the Hautian Ocean.

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A Basket Of Brisket

WELL, HERE WE GO – OFF TO TEXAS! Surprisingly our flights were uneventful – which is what you want. Eventful airplane flights make the news and that is never a good thing. Things even went smoothly in our dealings with the TSA aerobic organisms. I think they were having an “On-The Job Slumber Party. They were just waving people through without even looking at them. I bet I could have walked through there toting a Howitzer and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. It always makes me feel so safe.

Once we got to our ultimate destination (Corpus Christi) we did what any sensible person would do – we stopped for lunch at Whataburger. It’s a tradition that goes back to the days of the Alamo and Davy Crockett I think. A Family thing, you know.

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A Walk On The Wild Side

I DID SOMETHING TODAY THAT I HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE in all my 120 years. It was risky some people told me. A close friend pleaded with me not to even try to do it.

“You may not get out alive.”

Don’t you just love a little Hyperbole? At least I was hoping it was Hyperbole.

I decided to not take any unnecessary chances – so I took my wife, the lovely and ever so courageous, Dawn, with me.

On our first travel day, as we headed off to Georgia, we threw all caution to the wind and – brace yourself – had dinner at “The Waffle House.”

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Congratulations To Heather

I WAS DRIVING AROUND TOWN YESTERDAY, taking care of errands and chores – the usual stuff. As I drove past the neighborhood Taco Bell I noticed something on their marquee. It read

“Employee of the Month – Heather.”

Nothing really unusual about that except that Heather has been the Employee of the Month for two months in a row there. She must be something special. Perhaps she can make tacos faster than anyone else. I don’t know, and to be honest – I don’t really care. Anyway I offer my Congratulations to Heather. I just hope that her obviously superior skills don’t have a negative impact on the other employees. People can be so petty sometimes.

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Thank God Texas Has A Lot Of Room

TAKE ME TO THE BUTTER CHURN is a cry I hear on a regular basis when we go south to visit family. “The Butter Churn” is a restaurant/feeding station aka buffet just a waddle or two away from the family home in Sinton, Texas. And every time we visit, along with an assortment of several generations of nieces and nephews, we go to The Butter Churn.

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Throwback Thursday from March 2016 – “One Person’s Trivia…”

One Person’s Trivia Is Another Person’s McRib

mcd firstSOMETIMES THERE IS A BENEFIT when the conversation takes a turn to something boring. This morning over coffee one of the Usual Suspects started to talk politics. My brain glazed over and my eyes began to wander. It was then that I saw a teeny-tiny mention of no import.

 

“McDonald’s opens restaurant in 120th country.”

Sonovagun. I never would have guessed it was that many.

While voices muffled by politics faded in the background I read on.

The newest nation to allow Ronald the Clown to cross their borders is – (Fanfare!)

KAZAKHSTAN.mcd kazak

I do have to admit that my knowledge of Kazakhstan is rather limited, but as a McDonald’s stockholder for the last 30+ years I feel obligated to learn what I can. So, here goes.

Mcd pres

Nursultan Bazarbayev

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked nation on earth (ergo: not much of a navy).

It has a population of about 18 million souls, and now, 1 McDonald’s.   The Capital city is Astana. The President of Kazakhstan is Nursultan Bazarbayev. He is generally considered to be an authoritarian ruler (read “dictator”). It is unknown at this time whether or not he likes the McRib mcd mcribSandwich.     

That’s it. That’s all of the relevant information about Kazakhstan I could dig up.

McDonald’s, with its new restaurant in Kazakhstan, has well over 36,000 sets of Golden Arches worldwide. They employ 1.9 million people. I would wager that most of them are either teenagers, senior citizens, or people who were just not Taco Bell material. I may be wrong, but my personal observation of the McD’s here in Terre Haute (That’s Kazakh for “Where’s my Shamrock Shake?”) tell me that I’m not wrong.

In my own personal experience I have been in McDonald’s all over this country and in Ireland. I have no intention of trying to visit all of them. There are people who try to do that, traveling all over the map in a quest to visit them all. These are people who will eventually work at McDonald’s. Who else would hire them after looking at a resume with a twenty year gap during which they ate breakfast, lunch and dinner next to Ronald the Clown.

In an effort to gather information for this snippet of reality I went to the McDonald’s Corporate website to learn more about their worldwide operations. Fascinating.

mcd irelandMcDonald’s has blanketed Europe. There are more than 50 Mickey D’s in Ireland. While I’m there (leaving for Dublin in just a few days) I may visit one to satisfy my need for fries (chips), but I think we will eat at home most days.

I learned that there are 11 McD’s in Lithuania, ancestral home of my mother’s side of the family. Europe is definitely well served.mcd lith

The one glaring gap on the world map is on the continent of Africa.

There are about 23 McDonald’s in Egypt – more than I expected.

There are 200 stores in South Africa. That is way more than I would have guessed.

That’s it. Egypt on the north coast of the continent and South Africa at the other end. In between – nada.

If you live, let’s say in Burkina Faso (another landlocked country) and you have a craving for an order of Chicken McNuggets – you are SOL – Snack Out of Luck. You are going to have to hoof mcd burkinait across the Sahara to Egypt or, if you’re not in a hurry, pack a sandwich and head south, way south.

 

I admit that I have not delved deep into the subject to determine if there might be a Burger King or even a Subway (Sans Jarrod) in Burkina Faso. If there is – all I can say is “You deserve a break today. Boy, do you ever.”

mcd nuggets

Fiction Saturday Chapter 29- “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued

Fiction Saturday

Chapter Twenty-Nine

 

escherHorton Plaza looked like the love child of Rube Goldberg and M.C. Escher.  Seven levels high with a hundred and forty shops, restaurants and touristy boutiques, all connected by stairs, escalators, ramps, and glass elevators.  The entire structure was painted in a full palette of pastels, with multicolored banners, flags, and flowers fluttering in the soft ocean breezes.

High up on Level Seven, in a choice corner location, was The Captain’s Table restaurant.  It had everything that a family on vacation from Nebraska could ever want—a  six page menu offering seafood delicacies named for every exotic locale on the globe, several tons of nautical-looking adornments made in China, and decals on the front door promising the acceptance of all major credit cards.

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It Has Been A Slice

pizza1WHO SAYS WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE SOCIABLE? We can be just as sociable as any other group of semi-civilized men who spend their Golden Years discussing the important issues of the day: Which was better – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” or “The Bionic Woman?”

The “Usual Suspects” as I call them, or my “Play Group” as my wife, the lovely and sarcastically fine tuned, Dawn, calls them, hold our meetings in the Chapel at St. Arbucks almost every morning over coffee.

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Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

joy1HAPPY! HAPPY! JOY! JOY!

The sun is back rising in the east. Up is up. Down is down and Baseball is soon to reappear and…

My favorite little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant is open again. It was closed last August when two “youths” decided to burn down the Dollar Store next door. A brilliant move it was not. Not only did the fire gut the Dollar Store, but smoke and water damage destroyed my favorite little family run restaurant. All of this just a bagel’s thrown from St. Arbucks. But now…

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Fiction Saturday Chapter 28- “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued

Fiction Saturday

Chapter Twenty-Eight

 

atlantaLaura gathered up the dishes as Davis toweled himself dry in the bathroom.  She had showered first, standing under the steaming water for fifteen minutes, crying there so Davis wouldn’t see her fear manifested yet again.

“Davis, while you’re getting dressed I’m going to take the dishes back to Vivian.”

“Okay,” he called from the bathroom, “and thank her for me too.”

Vivian saw her coming across the parking lot and hit the door buzzer to let Laura into the small office.

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I Always Cry At Weddings

wed1THE WEATHER IS BEAUTIFUL RIGHT NOW and I am longing for Springtime. You know what they say – “Springtime when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of Chimichangas.” No, that’s not right, but then again…

Las Vegas, the Disneyland for Adults, is always striving to top itself. It all started out as a dusty desert gas station and has transformed itself into the tangible definition of “Will you look at that!” It is the only town where Elvis, Howard Hughes, and Liberace all felt at home. And they’re all dead.

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The Turkey That Gobbled Tokyo

food1I’M A CITY BOY. Well, a Small Town Boy who grew up in town. I’ve never been hunting. I’ve never been camping. I have no desire to do either of those things. My idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service. If I need food I go to the Kroger store. Stalking down a deer or a turkey is too much work and holds no appeal for me. If my turkey doesn’t come wrapped in a net bag with one of those little “I’m Ready” pop up thingys in it I consider it unnatural.

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No Man is a Thousand Islands

200wNO MATTER HOW MUCH PEOPLE HAVE, THEY WANT MORE. No matter what people have, they want something different. That behavior pattern may be deep seated in our DNA going back millions of years – back to the days of our “Hunter-Gatherer” subsistence world. If we hunted and gathered the same things millennium after millennium we might like a change. Given the odds that we might starve to death – we would want more. Of course, one does not expect to such behaviors exhibited today.

Oh, yeah? Have you been to a salad bar lately?

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Throwback Thursday from December 2014

Throwback Thursday 1

I Should Buy Some Purple Spandex

Baskin Gym

I LIVE VERY CLOSE TO MY favorite gym. It is only about a five minute walk from my home, but, of course, I don’t walk there – I drive.  It has all the latest equipment and a highly- trained staff that can help design for you a really healthy and vigorous workout program. You can also get top notch diet and nutritional planning advice there as well.

I don’t care about any of that crap.

It’s my favorite gym because it is right next door to a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream store. I can just imagine myself doing a really healthy cardio workout in the gym and then zipping next door for some hand-packed peanut butter and chocolate ice cream. I’m never going to do that, but I can imagine it. I’m so glad that the two places are so close. Talk about your city planning! I should send a “Thank You” card to the zoning board. They got something right for a change.

I really do love going to that gym – really, I do. I just stand outside, with my ice cream cone and watch the folks inside sweating and grunting. Every once in a while someone comes outside and joins me. I think they realize that I’m having a better time than they are.

One time some yutz came out from the gym and started to berate me for my dissipated lifestyle. That was his phrase – “dissipated lifestyle.” – And how he was a much better person than me. I licked my cone and nodded, but didn’t say anything. That really fried his Twinkies.  He flexed his muscles and got right up in my face and said that when we both get to 50 years of age I’ll probably have already dropped dead and he’ll still be healthy. I told him my guess was that he’d stroke out on his Stairmaster long before reaching 50, and that, anyway, I’m already way past 50 years old and “you can lick my Rocky Road.”

Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – Continued

Chapter Seventeen

 

table1“How’s the chowder, Jim?”

“Good.  How about your salad, Dear?”

“It’s a salad,” said Blanche.  “It’s okay, but I’ve had better.  But you know, we really come here for the floor show.”

Two baby-boomers, married for almost twenty-five years, were out for a night on the town, visiting their favorite restaurant in The Marina.

“Yes, don’t you just love it?  A nice little neighborhood restaurant,” said the husband, gesturing with his fork, “that has such great entertainment.”

“The people, the customers, are the show,” agreed his wife, waving her hand in a sweeping arc.  “This is the best place to people watch.  You get a real cross section of humanity eating here.

Anybody look promising to you tonight, entertainment-wise?” Blanche asked.

Jim scanned the room, looking over the tables and booths filled with diners.

“Yes, those two over there, in the booth near the window.”  He pointed with a breadstick.  A small piece broke off and fell onto the candle glowing in the center of their table.

“The blonde with the short hair and the cute guy?” she asked.  “What’s your take on them?”

“Let’s see.”  He adjusted his glasses, trying for just right tilt of his head to see that far clearly.  “Judging from the body language, I’d say that it’s not a first date, but they’re not married.”

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I Think I’ll Have Some More

foodA COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO I asked for suggestions about where we should go for a right fancy Thanksgiving feast. It has been our tradition to go out for our Thanksgiving dinner, but our usual buffet spot is closed for remodeling.

We got several good tips and a couple of wiseacre suggestions too – and thanks for the invitation to join you for dinner, but India is farther than I care to drive.

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The Untied States Of America

queen1IN THE MIDST OF ALL THE CHAOS and bitterness of the recent election season I came across one little item that, while not true, sounded plausible and not a bad idea.

Some clever Wag, I’m not sure if he or she is from the US or England, floated a big news story that Queen Elizabeth II had made a proposal.

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Let’s Do Lunch

deer2WHAT’S FOR LUNCH TODAY? If you’re anything like me it is a last minute decision about some form of organic matter on a plate. After a quick scouting mission through the kitchen I usually end up with something that falls under the general heading of “Leftovers” – also known as “Muzgos,” – as in “If we don’t eat this today – it Muz Go.”

This morning while driving down to St. Arbucks Sunrise Service/Brewing I heard something on the radio that might change the concept of Lunch for millions of people.

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Going Back For Seconds 

turkey1A CRISIS HAS ARISEN.

For a number of years we have gone out for the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. With just the three of us doing it all at home seemed to be more trouble than it was worth.

When we dined out we headed to a local hotel that put on a buffet worthy of the Roman Emperor’s Palace. There was enough of everything edible there that it would make the Front Line of the Chicago Bears faint dead away.

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Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – Continued

pull-scotts-seafoodChapter Fourteen

 

The fog was in and the dusk was stealing the colors out of the day.  The neon signs in the Marina cast a fuzzy light.

By 7:45, most of the tourists had retreated back to the Fisherman’s Wharf area where the huge restaurants were shoveling frozen crab and other dubious bits of overpriced seafood into the folks from Iowa.  The Marina was now safely in the hands of the locals. Herbs and spices were mating to produce wondrous flavors that the tourists would never get to taste.

Dinner was scheduled for eight p.m. Davis had called Scott’s restaurant from the Safeway parking lot and made the reservation.  He didn’t want any snags.

He couldn’t explain it, but he felt like a teenager again.  He hadn’t been this excited about going out with a girl since his junior year in high school when one of the cheerleaders finally said “Yes.”  He hoped tonight would go better.  He double-checked the seams on his trousers, just to be sure.

It had been almost twenty years, but he could still feel his face redden at the memory.  It leaves deep and permanent scars when the seat of your pants splits open in the middle of a Bob’s Big Boy Restaurant on a busy Saturday night.

Why not just kill yourself and get it over with? he thought then.  You have embarrassed yourself by showing off your boxers in front of every kid in the school.

His date, the gorgeous cheerleader, was embarrassed because she was with the doofus who had just flashed his ass at the world.  Of course, everybody in the place had  laughed, partly out of all teens’ inborn sense of cruelty and partly out of the self-conscious knowledge that it, just as easily, could have been him or her with their polka-dotted butt hanging out for all to see.

Davis checked his seams one more time.

***

Sitting in front of her tiny makeup mirror Laura prepared for her new birthday dinner date.  Date?

“My God, am I going on a date?  No I’m not!  It’s just dinner.”  She shook her head, pushing the idea of a date out of the picture.  “It’s just dinner.”

She dressed in the nicest outfit she could put together from her shallow closet.  She wanted to look good for a dinner in a nice restaurant.  It was going to be a bit chilly out with the fog being in, but she refused to wear the denim jacket.

It was only a short stroll from her apartment to Scott’s restaurant, so she felt no need to rush.  She didn’t want to get there first.  She didn’t want to appear too anxious, although she was, terribly so.  It would be good to let him cool his heels for a few minutes.  He had made her break into a sweat in the supermarket, so a little turnabout would be fair play.  Let him think he’d been stood up.

No, she decided, he seems like a decent guy.pull-revolver

She flipped off the lights as she closed her door, checked the lock twice, made sure the safety was set on the revolver, and started toward the restaurant.

It’s just dinner.

***

 

He picked at his Dover Sole and she herded her scallops around the plate like they were little breaded sheep.

“Are the scallops okay?  We can send them back and get you something else,” said Davis, noticing her lack of interest in her dinner.

“No,” she replied.  “They’re fine.  I guess I’m just not as hungry as I thought.”  She looked at his plate.  “You’re not doing much with your sole there, I see.”

He looked at his fish and set down his fork.  “It’s really good, but I must not be all that hungry either.  Oh, well.”

Laura put down her fork and said, softly, “I want to thank you again for your help with that man on the street last week.  That took courage.  You didn’t know.  He could have been armed.  Thank you.”

Davis blushed a bit.  “I wasn’t raised to sit on the sidelines.  You’re welcome.”

“And…,” she continued, wanting to get all of this out, “I want to apologize for the way I treated you in the supermarket today.  I was rude to you and it was uncalled for.  I’m sorry.  Forgive me.”

She picked up her fork again and tasted a few grains of the golden saffron rice.  She avoided looking at Davis.  If she had looked up she would have seen him gazing at her with a thousand questions in his eyes.

“Laura, it’s me who should be begging for your forgiveness.  I should have just let you have that ice cream instead of making a federal case out of it.  I don’t know why I behaved like that.  I didn’t mean to upset you.  Please, accept my apology.”

Laura lifted her eyes to meet his.  “Apology accepted.  Now we’re even,” she said with a shy smile.  She shook her head and said, “You must have thought I was crazy.”

“Well, for a second there, I thought you were going to go postal on me,” he said.  She didn’t hear him.  Her mind was searching for the right words to explain to him what happened.

 “It’s just that – It’s just that I – I’ve had some bad experiences with men and I overreact sometimes.  I’m sorry.”  That was as good as she could allow herself to say.

“I won’t pry,” he said, “but if I can help in any way or if you ever just want to talk, I’m in the book.”

“I don’t have a phone.”  She had thrown her cell phone into a storm drain in Boston.

“Then,” he answered, reaching into his inside coat pocket, “here is my business card with my address.  I’m either there or at the donut shop on Chestnut, most times.” He extended his hand across the table.  Laura hesitated, then took the card and propped it up against the edge of her bread plate.

“Thank you.  That’s very sweet of you.  I don’t want to be a bother,” she said, looking at his card, noting that his address wasn’t very far away.

“No bother.  I’m a good listener,” he replied.

In an effort to change the subject, Laura slipped the business card into her bag on the floor next to her chair.  It leaned neatly up against the pistol.  She then turned the focus away from herself.

“Well, Davis Lovejoy, accountant and late night hero to damsels in distress, tell me about yourself.”  She smiled and reached for the bread basket.

“Me?  There’s not a whole lot to tell, I guess,” he said, and for the next twenty minutes he gave her his life story.  She stayed silent except to offer the occasional, “I see,” or “Really?”

pull-steel-mill-1Davis began with how he had grown up as an only child in a lower middle class home in Cleveland, Ohio.  His father was one of the last of the lifelong steelworkers, a man who went to work in the mills looking for a decent wage and job security.  By the time he was 55, there was neither for him.  Thirty-five years inside the hellish world of the mill had taken his strength and his health.  The only job he could do anymore was as an inspector and his failing eyesight was letting through too much flawed product.  By his fifty-seventh birthday he was on full disability and lost in the oddities of idleness.  By age sixty he was dead, in a sense by his own hand.  Because he could no longer produce, he consumed.  Alcohol finished the job that the Hot Mill had started.

Davis’s mother had doted on “her boys” for decades.  She loved her husband and missed his presence in her life.  She confided to her sister that she felt that she never saw her husband because of the hours he was working.  Later, when he could no longer work, she saw his body at home on the couch, but it wasn’t the same man she had married at St. Columbkille’s church when she was young and three months pregnant.

The Lovejoys were decent, hard working people, reliable to a fault.  They loved their son more than they had words to express.  They were determined that his life would be better.  That was the bedrock of their existence.

“No son of mine is ever going to set foot inside a steel mill,” vowed his father.

“I’d like Davis to be a doctor or a lawyer,” hoped his mother.

Dreams are promises chipped in whipped cream.

There was a needlessly long steelworkers walkout when Davis was 17 and a senior in high school.  The lost income was just that: lost, never to be recovered, no matter how good the eventual contract raises were.  The strike crippled the family’s finances.  Plans had to be changed, dreams deferred.

Davis had to get a job and the only work for a young man that paid above minimum wage was in the mills.

There were a lot of young boys looking for work with the steel companies, but having a relative already on the inside was the only sure way onto the employment rolls.

Four days after his eighteenth birthday Davis and his father went out for lunch and made two stops on the way: the first at the post office where Davis registered with Selective Service, and the second at the union hall to get his card.  A week later Davis was operating a ten-ton crane loading steel pipe onto rail cars and big rig haulers.  He was making fourteen times the wage his father had made when he’d first walked through the mill gate decades earlier.

On Davis’ first day, his mother saw her two men off to work.  She had packed them identical meals in their matching lunch boxes.

When they pulled the Dodge out of the driveway, she proudly waved goodbye to them.  When they turned the corner and headed down into the valley toward the mill, she went into the bedroom and cried like a new widow.

It seemed that, no matter how tight things got, the one bill that his father made sure got paid was the monthly premium to Met Life.  The insurance was always there, “just in case,” he said.

Davis stayed on in the mills after his father died.   He died in his sleep on the couch, in front of the television.

For the first time in thirty years in the Lovejoy house there was money enough to live on without worrying about strikes or imported Japanese steel souring the market.

Davis decided it was time to go to college.  His standing in the union and with the steel company helped him get reassigned as a “swing man.”  He became a part-time worker who would be called on to cover different jobs and different shifts as needed.  This would give him some free time to go after an education.

The idea of doing both things at once didn’t bother Davis.  Hard work was a family tradition.  Plus, he didn’t want to continue the other family tradition of being crushed and shattered by a lifetime in the mill.

His mother was proud and happy that he was going back to school.  It was the only part of her dream left alive.

Davis enrolled at Cleveland State University as a twenty-three-year-old freshman.  His plan was to major in Accounting.

He’d always seen the company’s white-collar employees going into the red brick office building just outside the mill gate.  When he saw them leaving at the end of the day their shirts were still white.

He imagined them to be the accountants and the metallurgists that were at the heart of the company.  He knew nothing about metallurgy, he thought, although most veteran steelworkers are practical metallurgists, almost chefs.  Making steel is done by recipe, adding specific amounts of this or that element to obtain the properties needed in any particular “heat” of steel.

The life of the accountant seemed more attainable.

In time, the concepts of credits, debits and creative mathematics took hold and his grades marched upward towards the Dean’s List.

The other students were curious about the “old guy with the filthy fingernails” who often came to class exhausted, but who always had his assignments ready, and who never whined about the workload.

During Finals Week,  just before Christmas, in the middle of his junior year, there was an accident at the mill.

Davis and two other men were loading oilfield pipe onto skids for shipment to Oklahoma.  One of his coworkers was a new kid, a local football “phenom” who had managed to flunk all of his classes at Ohio State.  He was so lost in the classroom that even the head coach couldn’t save his athletic scholarship.  Now the “phenom” was working in the mills, just like all the other men in his family.

The new kid was adjusting the slings on the crane that would hoist the forty-foot lengths of black, oil-covered pipe up and into position.  When it was ready, he gave the signal to proceed.  The steel lifted slowly and moved toward Davis, who would finesse the pipe into place.  Within seconds, the load began to spin slowly to the left.  The kid had not centered the load properly and it was starting to slide out of the sling.  At this point, there was nothing anyone could do.  Six forty-foot long steel pipes were going to fall fifteen feet to the concrete floor of the mill.  All hell was about to break loose.pull-steel-mill-2

Davis yelled out a warning and ran toward the young football star hoping to rescue him before it was too late, but flying steel blocked his path.  The nineteen-year-old stood transfixed at the sight of the tonnage now headed straight for him.  He never moved until the steel blasted into him, sounding like a million church bells.  He disappeared underneath what looked like a giant’s game of pick-up-sticks.

Davis went to class that night.  He had an exam to take.

He graduated with more than respectable grades, and was given a transfer by the steel company out of the mill, and into the red brick office building.  There he learned that there are other ways to die on the job.

He went to work every day in the Accounting Department doing billings on the steel pipe that he used to make.  He wore a white shirt and took care of his mother.  It was the hardest job he had ever had in his life.

After his father’s death, Davis saw his mother’s life unravel.  No matter how many people dropped by to visit her, she was by herself too often, and in the end, she died of loneliness.

For the first time in his life, Davis Lovejoy was on his own.  No one needed him.  There was no reason for him to hurry home after work.  There was no reason for him to go home at all.  There was no home.  There was only a house on a side street, in a neighborhood too close to the steel mills.

After one more bitter winter of being alone in his childhood home, shoveling snow and watching the old neighborhood rot, he decided to make another change in his life.

He wanted to be where the sun shined more, where there was air that didn’t carry warnings, and where there was no snow to shovel.  He used his vacation time to scout out likely cities.  When he got to San Francisco he felt comfortable at once.  The cool breeze off the ocean carried a salty tang and the warm sun let everything blossom.

So, at almost thirty years of age, Davis said goodbye to what was left and planted himself in the town that proudly referred to itself as “The City.”

“So, I’ve been here almost five years now.  I guess that’s pretty much it,” he said with a small shrug.  “I hope I haven’t bored you to death.”

“Not at all.”  Laura looked at him and felt safe.

“Now, let’s hear about you, ‘Laura Smith,Woman of Mystery’,” said Davis, a smile on his face and in his voice.

“Another time, perhaps,” she said.  “But, now, I’d like another cup of coffee.”

to be continued6

 

 

 

 

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