Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Alrighty Then...

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.

Alrighty then...


  1. Here in OK, bad food and bad service are the norm. I assume Okies don't expect much. I, on the other hand, go over the edge when service people cannot provide good service.

    I posted some militry art on my blog thinking you might find it interesting.

    1. Bad food and bad service are the norm? Geez, what's it like when an Okie travels out of state and gets good food AND good service?

      I do like the military art, glad you left the link I'm behind in my blog reading since the weekend was so busy.

    2. Being from Oklahoma I have to say that we always received good food and good service when I was growing up
      and that still holds true when we go back to visit family. Could be the area where my family lives or we
      just know all the right places.

      Sorry to hear about Dunkin Donuts as they used to be one of my all time faves for a tasty treat. I quit
      visiting them when I started growing a rather large bagel around my middle!!

    3. It was just the one Dunkin Donuts (depicted above) which was not so good. The others of my acquaintance (and there are many) still provide good eats and coffee.

      I think the guy who owns that particular franchise is just a cheap sumbitch.

    4. Geez, what's it like when an Okie travels out of state and gets good food AND good service?

      Umm, they get down on their knees and start bobbing their heads... ?

      Sorry, I'll go away now.

  2. I can't enjoy a "pricey restaurant" unless I am prepared. I need a three day warning to overlook the cost and enjoy the meal. I also tip a little extra for good service, and a pretty smile and genuine nice personality counts as much as a pretty face and figure...naw I'm kidding; I tip extra for a flirty hottie.

    1. I was prepared. I'll do pricey now and again, usually when it's someone else's suggestion. If it were up to me, well technically McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts are restaurants. Right?

      One thing I look for with the wait staff is that they laugh at my lame jokes. Most do. Those who actually act like they find my attempts at humor get huge tips. Yuge.

  3. I've never even been in one of those upscale restaurants. Not in this country anyway. Been in a few overseas I think, or at least ones with multiple forks. That's an indicator, right?

    The service thing, ugh. Businesses used to train staff and I often wonder if they don't do that anymore or if it's a fundamental problem with labor pool attitudes.

    As much time as I spent in Italy, I don't think I ever had gelato. Always found superb meals in local establishments though, while most of my peers queued up at mcgiovanis.

    In this town you can generally get good, simple fare and not completely terrible service in a couple of places, but you don't want to veto the cornvenience store microwave burrito, either.

    1. Multiple forks and spoons indicates you've wandered into a fine dining establishment. As to which to use first? Start at the outside and work your way inwards. (At least that's what the little blue book of Air Force knowledge told me.)

      Italy, food, sigh... One can eat multiple meals in Italy, always be satisfied and never miss the gelato. While one does not need gelato, life is so much sweeter with it.

      I have never said no to a convenience store microwave burrito. If that's all there is, I know how to make do. Especially if I have hot sauce to hand. Hot sauce improves any microwave fare. (DAMHIK)

    2. That reminds me..... What about some liberty stories? You too Sarge. Juvat's would probably be in an different realm (you know, officer's throwing around all that money and such)
      Navy liberty stories could be the best recruiting tool - the Med, the Phillipines... See the world! Air Force enlisted... maybe not so much.

    3. Liberty stories? What are those?

      I was Air Force, I had more time off than I could handle. I was stationed in some of the biggest party spots in the world. I have stories. Epic parties, super models, Hell, been there, done that.

      But tell those stories to the world? No way, not now, not ever.

      My lips are sealed...

  4. "Hot sauce improves any microwave fare."
    Having had double digit years experience with convenience stores and the gustatory fare available, I will second that.

    Silverware without watermarks is a sign that one has entered an upscale restaurant.
    A half hour or longer wait for a table on a Tuesday evening may be a sign one has found a good restaurant.

    I have noticed that almost any community with a jail has more working against it than for it.

    1. Oh, I have it on good authority that it's one word, "Alrigbtythen!"

    2. Oh yes, concur on your last. Sort of.

  5. Going home again. Funny you should mention that. I was born and raised in California, specifically in the gold rush country up through my freshman year of high school. While wandering the web the other day, I came across this video (I am like a moth to a candle when it comes to live steam)---

    I was five years old when this run was made. At the 17:00 mark, the train passes through Auburn, and the background just jumped off the screen for me. That is the gold rush country as I remember it. Can you go home? If it was yesterday, yes.
    If it's been too long? Not really. The map coordinates are still there, but a lot of the buildings aren't, most of the people aren't, and the attitude is long gone. Thanks to modern technology, you can still catch a glimpse now and then.

    Now live in the DFW area (much prefer FW to D). Eateries here run the gamut, but the odds are very much in the patron's favor. If you like a good ribeye, BBQ, or tex-mex, any or all with a cold beer, well come on down!

    1. Ah yes, your talk of steam locomotives led me here. Back when I was a kid Steamtown was a cool place to visit. Got to ride the rails, it was a pretty trip to boot, feel and hear the clatter of the wheels over the rails, the smell of burning wood and, and ...

      It was just so awesome. There are parts of my old home town which don't look all that different, other parts, not so much.

      And you're not the first to indicate a preference for FW over D, I dated a lady a billion years ago who did a tour of duty as a nurse in FW, she much preferred it to D.

      Ribeye? BBQ? Tex-Mex? Cold beer?

      Count me IN.

      One of these days I need to get back down to Texas. Readers in the Lone Star State will be duly notified. (Juvat lives in Texas these days. I owe him a beer.)

    2. But who's counting? Apparently you are, ye of the many comments on your latest posts.


  6. aaaahhh. remember the original mre? it didn't come with a heater pak and one ate it at room temp, whatever it was. (squared) At McD's one can get a sausage macmuffin avec oeuve avec hash browns, all day and NOBODY can screw that up. I always opt for DQ when traveling. A milkshake makes a very fine meal.

    1. I'm not sure I ever saw an MRE, original or otherwise. On the gripping hand, C-Rats, saw a lot of those on Okinawa. While I was on active duty when the MREs were introduced (special issue starting in 1981, standard issue in 1986, according to Wikipedia) I never had one. I feel somewhat left out.

      You are absolutely correct on the Mickey D's breakfast sandwich. Ditto the DQ milkshake. Did you ever have an Awful-Awful during your time in Little Rhody?

  7. Do we have a case of legendary New England frugality here?

    1. That might be, add in the strong Scots ancestry and one could make an argument for frugality.

    2. Blood of the Scotsman, is it? Well, now ye've dune it, laddie! Click the link below and you will see one "Charles Downie, a scot," mentioned in the third paragraph.,_Texas

      He was my maternal great grandfather. His parents emigrated from Paisley, Scotland in 1848 and settled in Detroit, where he was born in 1851.

    3. Hoot mon! We're practically kin!

  8. Good post and comments. A fun read, thank you.

    Paul L. Quandt

  9. Is everyone being asked for their papers, or is it just me?


    1. Again? I did the Any Mouse thing myself and I see what you mean. Asked me for my papers it did...

      Geez Google. I'll look into it Paul.

    2. Thanks, not a serious problem, just an annoyance. I'm usually able to prove that I'm not a robot.


    3. I checked my settings, I have no idea why Cerberus is checking IDs at the door.

      Perhaps some new Google "improvement"?


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)