Rather a whirlwind of a weekend. Up to western New Hampshire to celebrate Mother's Day with Madame Mère, met up with both brothers and had a fine time. That beverage in the opening photo was quaffed along with its twin. The meal was topped off with a scoop of gelato (if I closed my eyes I imagined myself in Italy - the gelato was that good) and a cup of joe which had been enhanced with Bailey's Irish Cream and Kahlua. A fine meal, though a bit pricey. If you've got the swag and are in Walpole, eat here. The food was superb and the service was excellent.
Madame Mère didn't really care for it as the prices rather shocked her, four people, price tag north of 200 American Yankee dollars. There was a rather large tip as our waitress (I know, I know, if you expect PC here, you're in the wrong place) was efficient, attentive, and attractive. Yes, I am a sucker for a pretty face, especially when she's that good at her job. (My brothers are as well.)
My other dining experience that same day was far less pleasant.
A many of you know, I am a huge fan of Dunkin Donuts. Yuge. Now it was around the lunch hour on Saturday and Mom and I were off to the big city to purchase cat food. (Long story there, I shan't bore you with it.) On our return I was feeling a bit peckish. So I suggested we stop at Dunkin Donuts, so we did. The one pictured above.
Once inside I asked for a sandwich on a wheat bagel and was told that they only carried four types of bagels, for to speed up the ordering process for the customers, so claimed the young lass behind the counter. While I was quite ready to throw the BS flag, after all, why not just one type of sandwich, remove all choice you socialist bastards, I was a stranger in this strange land so I played nice.
When our sandwiches arrived and we sat down to partake of them, I immediately noticed that our sandwiches had been liberally (pun intended) coated with rather a lot of oil, or grease (I didn't do a chemical analysis). Also that my bagel had rather a lot of sesame seeds attached, embedded, and encrusted upon what was supposed to be a plain bagel. Sesame seeds are to me what kryptonite is to Superman. Might not kill me but will cause intense pain in the digestive tract.
Heading back to the counter, I restrained myself from bellowing "What the fire truck are sesame seeds doing on my plain bagel?!?!?!" and dropped the "fire truck" portion and any number of exclamation points from my interrogation of the young lady behind the counter. I pointed out that sesame seeds and I did not get along (I may have said that they were a deadly poison to me) and "please, ma'am, might I have another?"
It was pointed out to me that I should have warned them that I had an "allergy" and then the lady preparing the food would have "changed her gloves between orders."
It was flabbergasted I was. I thought that that was a fire trucking law or something to change gloves between orders. Now I had an explanation for the extremely oily bagel (handle sausage, rub gloves on bagel), and was quite ready to nuke the entire place from orbit.
Instead I said...
...and drove on. No sense pointing out to the employees that their boss was a cheap sumbitch and was probably in violation of several laws and perhaps Dunkin Donuts has lower standards in the Granite State, but I doubt it.
Now limiting the number of types of bagels one has in stock probably causes fewer of those bagels to be thrown out at closing time (yes, Virginia, they are supposed to throw them out). So Scrooge McDuck is no doubt saving a few bucks on having to throw away food at the end of the day and on gloves. I wonder how many people they've poisoned along the way?
Now you may have noticed that I made mention of me being "a stranger in this strange land" and perhaps have found that odd, if you've any knowledge of geography and have remembered my tales of growing up in the Green Mountain State.
My parents both hail(ed) from New Hampshire, just across the river from Vermont, where I was born and raised. So I grew up in the area to which I occasionally venture north to visit. But it has changed a great deal since the days of my youth. What once was a thriving town with four-plus factories churning out equipment and machines for the machine-tool industry is now a rustic backwater populated by a few hardy souls and a great number of ne'er-do-wells and druggies visiting those incarcerated at the local correctional facility.
Said correctional facility (which I prefer to call "prison") was not there when I joined the United States Air Force some 42 years ago. (Which would have coincided with my original planned graduation date from college, which did not occur until some years later and through simple math and a careful reading of Juvat's Monday post might lead you to believe that Juvat is, indeed, younger than I. Though not by much I'll wager.) In fact, the prison was opened in 2003, four years after I had retired from the Air Force.
"Vote for the prison," they said.
"There will be jobs," they said.
"The streets will be crawling with heroin addicts and petty thieves," they neglected to mention.
So my old home town is now pretty much a wasteland compared to its halcyon days.
Yes, I grew up in those parts but they are now strange and foreign to me. There are still good folk left in that town, my brother and his tribe among them, but I don't know how they stand it. Perhaps you really can't go home again. Especially if they've totally changed the place. Then again, it also depends on what you define as home.