Monday, September 23, 2013
It seemed that it would be the normal average Sunday for us at the restaurant - our cooks Melvin and D.T. had prepared our normal Sunday Buffet - which is a "old school" Northeast Texas Sunday Dinner. We try and make it like my Grandma Roberts did - fried chicken, pork roast, chicken fried steak, turnip greens, purple hull peas, mashed potatoes, fried okra, and southern cream gravy are usually the headliners, today's extra special was Melvin's Meat Loaf which everyone loves. We had our regular salad bar, but this week we had some extra Romaine Lettuce, so I had made a Caesar Salad - you don't see Caesar Salad around here to often. Or course, we had sweet rolls and cornbread muffins. For dessert, we served our standards bread pudding, peach cobbler, and our "soon to be famous" New Orleans Style Bread Pudding. Basically, it is what I call the "Soul Food" of Northeast Texas, nothing too fancy just good old home cooking from "these parts".
Early on, around 11:00 in the morning, some of our regulars had gotten out of church early and came into enjoy the Sunday Buffet. A little later on four very well dressed gentlemen came in after church Mt. Pleasant, Texas about 12 miles away. One of these gentlemen, asked me if I grew up around here, and I proudly told him, "Pewitt High School Class of 1973". That gentleman turned out to be Mr. Jim Welch, the father Cindy, one of my class mates from "way back in the day." I remembered Mr. Welch as a being tall and big - I was surprised to see that he wasn't even as tall and certainly not as big as me. His daughter, Cindy, was one of the prettiest girls in school, and married a really nice fellow named Landy Roberts. I was always sorry I could never get my nerve up to even ask her to go the the movies with me, she was just too pretty (and I was sure she would have rejected a mutt like me) and still is a beautiful lady. Cindy's daughter has a high-profile job in the fashion industry in Dallas with the prestigous company Niemann Marcus - and she is, of course, just a pretty as her mother. Mr. Welch's blue eyes sparkled as he spoke about Cindy and his lovely granddaughter in Dallas. I know he is very proud of both of them.
Another old class mate, Professor Gordon Betts came in with his son Joel. Joel, had just won a Blue Ribbon this weekend at the East Texas Fair for his beautiful BeefMaster heifer. Joel is a really neat kid, friendly, and not too shy ...my bet is he's going to be a chip off the old block and earn a degree from Texas A&M like his dad.. Gordon, got his PHD from Texas A&M and now teaches at Tyler Junior College. Gordon, has been working on "the old family farm" which is nearby and just dug a great big pond with a dozer. I know a great many college professors but, Gordon is the only one that I know that can also operate a dozer! Things were getting busy and I didn't get to visit with Gordon and Joel as much as I wanted to, but they are great guys - and Gordon says he will have a party soon down at the farm and that he will make sure I am invited.
The next thing I know, in to the restaurant comes Ms. Faye Vickers escorted by her niece, Anita Steadman. As it turns out, Ms. Faye, was out to celebrate her ninetieth birthday - at my restaurant. What a hoot! Ms. Faye gets around fairly nimbly with the assistance of her cane. They had just come from Church. Ms. Faye is one of the nicest ladies around and has a "coffee" every Wednesday at her house for all of the neighbors at Glass Club Lake. She is always quite elegant, and barely eats enough to feed a bird. As if this weren't enough, into the restaurant walks my Mom, Carmen Roberts (Mom lives at the Glass Club Lake and is neighbors with Ms. Faye and Ms. Anita. I didn't see her come in, but I found her sitting there next to Ms. Anita and Ms. Faye - in a booth all together. I always greet Mom the same way, "Hi Mom, You OLD BAT!" I could never really tell my Mom how much I love her. So anyhow, they enjoyed the buffet together, the three of them, Mom, Ms. Anita, and Ms. Faye. Since it was slow, I started gathering up the stuff to make them a special dessert in honor of Ms. Faye's 90th Birthday.
I have a special little cart and gas stove at the restaurant that I use to do "flambe cooking " table side. I probably would have made Ms. Faye "banana's foster" but we were out of banana's. So, I substituted apples for the bananas, and put a little cinnamon on top of those. When I served the flaming dessert (with Bacardi 151 rum) - you'd have thought Ms. Vickers was the Queen of England enjoying lunch with her three closest friends. When I came back to see how they were doing Ms. Faye exclaimed "delicious!...fabulous!". I am pretty sure she had never experienced a dessert cooked with flame at tableside - it was great to have the chance to make her day a little more special. Next thing I know, out comes all of the kitchen staff and waitresses to sing happy birthday to Ms. Vickers!
Things seemed to start slowing down, as they should, it was getting close to closing time which 2:00 in the afternoon on Sundays. The kitchen had already shut down, we had begun cleaning up, most of the dishes were done. And I guess it would have been a good day had it ended here....but
I had walked up to the front of the restaurant, getting ready to "lock-up" when I saw a lady coming up the sidewalk and heading toward the door. As I opened the door for her, she asked "Are Y'all Still Open?". I said "sure we'll be open for another 15 - 20 minues come on in". She looked a bit distraught with my answer, and said "I have family coming and they won't be here for a little while." I am with the Jacobs family, and their granddaughter was killed in that automobile accident late Thursday night". To me, there was only one answer I could even imagine offering this lady.. without thinking I said, "Please come in - we are open as long as you and your family want to stay."
You see, when tragedy strikes a tiny community like ours - we all hear it - we all feel it - and we all hurt together.
I had heard about it the accident Friday morning, the accident had happened late Thursday night. Four teenagers, hurrying home in pick-up truck slammed into a tree on a narrow country road. Two dead at the seen, two others rushed to regional hospitals. Earlier in the day, I had seen pictures of the demolished truck the teens were riding in. Still worse, I spoke with relatives of the two survivors who had been up all night Thursday and all day Friday trying to take care of their loved ones. Worse yet, friends of mine who drive wreckers and are first responders had told me what they saw. Like I said before, when we are hurt, we all hurt together, we all pray together, and we all cry together.
Before long, about a dozen of the family arrived. We made them a special table in our banquet room. We turned everything back on, we kept the cooks, waitresses, and dishwashers there....and it was our honor to SERVE THIS FAMILY. I know that the finest food in the world could not possibly heal this family's loss - but it is all that we can do - no one complained about having to work late to help this family.
I met the Grandfather of the young girl, Chelsea, who had been killed in the accident. I cannot even fully imagine his sorrow. He looked to be around my age and told me his name was "Freddy Jacobs". I asked "did you grow up around here?" He said "no, I grew up in Irving, Texas." Still he looked familiar to me.
A short while later - I overheard one of the ladies talking about her Grandpa, Mr. Early Jacobs. And I knew right then who they were. Mr. Early Jacobs lived one door over from my Grandpa and Grandma Roberts in the government housing in Naples, Texas. Mr. Early had a business mowing lawns, selling fish and vegetables. This "government housing" was commonly called "The Circle" because it was a cul de sac with a circular drive in the center. I stayed there as kid with my Grandparents - W.L. and Effie Roberts. And Freddy Jacobs was Mr. Early Jacobs' Grandson. I had known him since I was 12 years old.
When I first had met Freddy Jacobs - we had played "sandlot baseball" together in the summers with all the neighborhood kids.....the Clark Boys....Billy, Bobby, Steve, Mike and David (who lived next door to Mr. Early). The Luttrell Boys - Terry, Lanny and Toughy. Glenn and James Barnes. Bubba Perkins and Charlie Smith. We played football together and we dug a "man cave" together in the side of a hill. We were all there in this small, poor, but very happy little community.
As I recall, Freddy had indeed grown up in Irving. I believe his parents may have been separated...he spent almost every summer with his Grandparents and all the rest of us at "The Circle". Those were great times. I can't remember anything that we ever worried about. Furthermore, Freddy and I were somewhat "raised" by our Grandparents. We were taught the old values.....to be fair and honest....I know now we were damn lucky to have that kind of upbringing. Many youngsters today, would benefit from learning first-hand the "old school work ethic and honor" of keeping you word and being a good person.
I had a good visit with Freddy and his family, we talked about the old times at the "Circle" - we remembered people that we grew up with and generally had a "reunion". The family stayed with us at the restaurant for a couple of hours.
When everyone had finished eating and visiting - we packed up all of the buffet for them to take home with them. They took home meat loaf, fried chicken and some of just about everything. I got hugs from just about all of them before they left. I felt truly sad for the loss they were suffering - I guess it was like a "shared sadness". I know for sure that we helped make an absolutely terrible day just a little bit better for this family.
Nancy and I have only been in the restaurant business for a little over a year, and we may never make a nickle in the restaurant business....but I will guarantee you our little restaurant had at least one really good day and that was Sunday, September 22nd.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Tinnitus comes from the Latin word tinnītus which means ringing. How clever. It is further defined as the perception of sound within the human ear (ringing) when no actual sound is present. For some reason, this tinnitus is not considered a disease, but a condition that can result from numerous causes, including neurological damage, ear infections, was build up, foreign objects in the ear, and exposure to loud noises. Here's a picture of what one artist suggested it sounds like...
Up until recently there have been no know cures for tinnitus. If it was making you sleepless, they could give you sleeping pills, if it made you nervous they could prescribe a pill for that. Also I can say for sure the method I am demonstrating here....had no effect whatsoever.
I think I can track my tinnitus sound back to about 1959 or 1960, when I was 5 or 6 years old. My Dad was anxious to make a true Texan out of me and bought me a "Little Scout" 22 rim fire rifle as a birthday present. Make no mistake....this was real gun....with real bullets....it was just cut down to a size that a little kid like me could handle it reasonably well. Dad versed me in all the normal safety point of using any firearm. - Never point the gun at anyone. The gun is always loaded. Keep the gun pointed toward the ground when it is loaded. Here is the safety. Keep the safety on until you are ready to shoot. Dad, having been a U.S Marine, and every Marine a rifleman....plus all of his experience growing up in Northeast Texas - he knew all the safety stuff......almost.
A couple of things were missing - first and foremost - some form of ear protection - but I don't think Marines of Dad's era believed in that "sissy stuff". (after this is gets a bit technical - you can skip that by going to: After the Blast In MY FACE!
A second thing that we should have been on the look-out for was the "rolling block" on that Steven's Little Scout 22. The Steven's Little Scout was primarily met for firing 22 "shorts"...rather than the newer 22 long rifle shells. The rolling block, served both as a "safety", preventing accidently firing - and when rolled fully into place - it served as part of the firing chamber. See below...
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
It is not critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of good deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust an sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without and error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Theodore Roosevelt April 23, 1910
Friday, April 29, 2011
Today I received Sensenbrenner's "Weekly Newsletter" dated April 28, 2011, his subject: The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In a time that our nation is engaged in 3 wars, tornadoes have just killed 283 in the south, there is a nuclear meltdown in Japan, a major Tsunami recovery effort going on....Jim decides it's a great time to demonstrate his bigotry, by once again bashing the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transexual community. Don't you think he could have picked a more meaningful or timely topic like say uh......"Obama's Birth Certificate" or "The Royal Wedding" or even "How bout that Donald Trump's Hair?".
Now let me see if I can bring myself to discuss DOMA. First off I have substantial experience in DOMA!!! I have been married to somebody, or somebody else for virtually all of my adult life. In defending my first marriage, I found myself trying to defend against adultery, drug addictions, money problems, alcoholism, and bad jokes. Yep, you guessed right, I was responsible for the bad jokes, the rest of them were her issues. Not once in that 22 year struggle did any gay men attempt to lead me astray. Nor did any Lesbians appear and ask us about three-some. As far as the Bisexuals go, I have always admired them since it seemed to me they had twice as good of chance of getting a date as I did. Finally, on the transexual front, my buddy Pete and I ran into a pair of them in New Orleans. We'd been drinking hurricanes and as I recall they had long legs and very short skirts. When one of them said "hello boys", with a voice deeper than Bill Golden's....we sobered up quick and headed back home.... swerving down the sidewalk as fast as we could ....and on the double too. That's about as close as any GLBT person ever threaten me or my marriage.....however...the bad jokes....that's the straw that broke the Camel's Back.
Now we come to my second marriage. For 15 years, I have been married to the lovely Nancy Jeane Roberts a Chicago gal with a weird since of humor who doesn't mind that I am a slob and can tell some really bad jokes. Today, I find myself defending this marriage against old age, health problems, and the irresponsible behavior of our two wild miniature schnauzers. Maybe I am missing something, but somehow, the GLBT community seems to be ignoring me. Maybe it is just because I have a skinny little booty or maybe it is because I tell bad jokes. In any case, I still feel pretty safe, from attack by folks who have a different sexual preference than me.
Now let's get back to my Congressman James Sensenbrenner. Here's my suggestion to help Old Jim out.... Jimbo why don't you correct the name of your weekly publication - that is to say; give it a more appropriate name something like The Crown Prince of Kotex's WEAKLY Newletter??? I hope this helps.
All the best!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
- Is it an advertisement? I had 100's of emails from American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Grocery Stores, etc. Why, because I like to get cheap airline tickets and buy stuff o n sale. So all you have to do, is type in EddieBauer.com and hit search. What comes up is a list of all of these adevertisements I never had the time or interest to read. Worse yet, I found one from Pajamagram.com, from when I bought Mom a Christmas present two years ago. I have been receiving these every couple of weeks now for years. I deleted most of these suckers first since the sales from last August are more than likely to be over and honestly, I don't buy a whole lot of women's pjs.
- Is it an "Autoreply"? These are things that say "Autoreply. Jim is out of the office and won't return until the 4th of July." These are aggravating, because it means your message isn't going to be seen until some future date and secondly you get the "stupid autoreply". A search of "autoreply" enabled me to kill several hundred unreads in one shot.
- Is it a Newspaper update ?- I subscribe to several different newspapers online. Honestly, I don't have time to read all of them most of the time. But I always tell myself, I'll read that when I get around to it. Problem is, I never get a "round toit". So long, Dallas Morning News! These things come daily and somertimes more often, they add up fast.
- Is it some Political Stuff ?- I figured out, if the email said "from the Whitehouse" or "from Senator So and So", that it probably was not an invitation to dinner, but more than likely a request for cash.
- Does it say "Accepted / Rejected"? - if you are in business or use your email and calendar to schedule meetings and events, you get an email everytime someone accepts or rejects your invitation. One thing for sure, you don't need to keep these if the meeting has been over for a week or more. Give em the eighty-six.
- Unopened Email from your Boss or Coworkers - Yikes! How can this happen? Well, about half the time or better, I have already found whatever the email says before I get the email. This being the case, why bother to open it? If it is something you already know. Is it because I am clairvoyant, Hell No! It's because they call me first and tell it to me and then the dummies feel the moral obligation to remind me in an email. Kill 'em.
Using these techniques, I whittled down the "unread to just 12 unread emails". These were important, so I saved them in a folder called "important". Now what about the other 3600 emails in my inbox that had been read, but never deleted? Here's how I approached this monster batch of emails;
- Is it from a friend? A lot of my friends send me jokes, which is great, but I always kind of felt obligated to keep them since they came from my friends. Further, my friends and family share important stuff either in person or on the phone. I deleted all of these. So now, you can email me an old joke and I'll probably laugh again. But this time I'm deleting it after I read it.
- Is it from a business associate? OK, now some of these can be important. What to do? Tag all of the ones that are older than 90 days, and store them under a file name or label on your email. "Archiving" works also.
- Unsubscribe - to emails and newsletters that are no longer of interest to you.
- Practice the 4 D method - when you check your email: 1. "Delete" any obvious junk. 2. "Do" any tasks that will take less that 5 minutes. 3. "Delegate" the task if you can. 4. "Defer" more lengthy tasks, until after you have cleared your inbox. Obviously, I didn't think this one up; it is very unlike my usual habit of using #4 exclusively.
- Create a "read later" folder, for things you may be interested in but don't have time to read now.
I hope this was helpful and I hope I haven't bored you to tears with this effort. However, I am kind of amazed that I got through the mess.
All the best,
Monday, February 14, 2011
Monday, December 13, 2010
Damn Mean God - decides that man has it too good (still hasn't gotten over that stunt Eve pulled in the Garden). He therefore decides to shorten the life of "man's best friend" so there is the constant threat of losing at least five of your best friends during a normal person's life time. I don't care what you say.....that is Damn Mean. See picture on right.....
Incompetent God - far from being mean, and far from being perfect and all knowing, God made a shit load of engineering errors. It is possible that he attended the Galaxial equivalent of Texas A&M. As such, God designs dogs first (this is actually in the Bible), and then after several days hits upon the idea of creating man in his own image. But he had already finished the dog....so he just shruggs his Aggie shoulders...and says tuff....you have to get a new best friend.