There was post-stock market crash “beanery” in an old political town of mine. People would line up around the block and get beans for a few cents during the Great Depression.
I found it one day, a dive, my favorite, with nice owners and waiters. They probably only had twenty tables. It was tiny but cooked the best corned beef and cabbage on rye in town. Brown deli mustard on the table.
After I knew them a bit I started to arrange all our staff lunch birthday, going-away, baby and retirement parties there. I’d call, land lines and rolodexes back in the day, and say I’d like a reservation. They inevitably said, “Ha! We don’t take reservations.” If the owner or his son answered they’d just ask me what I needed and were very kind to accommodate whatever I asked.
I’d tell the others it’s Dee! Oh, Dee! And please have a table for 14 at noon. They did and only did ordering for the few they didn’t know. Plus they always placed four quarts of Pabst Blue Ribbon on the table with glasses out before we arrived.
Tomorrow I’ll wear a green tee shirt I bought the other day. I got it for half what my new dog collar cost. Tomorrow our dog Zoe, age 11, (we’ve just had her for 11 years after shelter adoption on 3/6) will wear a birthday/adoption gift, a 1.5″ Asian silk hand-made Martingale collar, emerald green with cherry blossom pattern. There’s a party and she will look stunning after I comb her out. I will just be at the back of the leash while she greets her public…… [Oh no, paparazzi!! Please, no pictures! Security, just help me to the limo.] That last part was her dream. Her feet are moving and eyes blinking in her sleep. She’s actually thinking of treats, or squirrels.
Apparently they’ll have green beer at the party. I think not for me. I did that once at age 22. And I met a really nice guy in the pub, a high school science teacher who took me for a first date to a movie the following weekend, Caddyshack, which I hated. That and him getting a beep during the movie (he was on teachers’ student suicide watch that week) got me out. He was a nice and smart guy, but no more dates and in the end I got my prince, who also doesn’t drink green beer, or anything but Dr. Pepper.
Back then, everyone knew my name. Now they know my dog. Kids stand outside our door and whisper her name hoping she’ll bark and ask to come out. These particular ones arrive later this week. We’ll be ready.
I hope my Greek friends don’t mind reading this for celebrating St. Patricks’ Day and that my Irish friends would perhaps try moussaka. It might be closer to a Shepherd’s Pie than one would think. Add a bit of eggplant and and a rich, eggy bechamel on top. I love it and it’s great to do in advance to actually enjoy guests instead of spending all my time in the kitchen. My husband hates eggplant.
So raise a pint to St. Patrick, wear your green and enjoy a bit of conviviality with your family, friends, colleagues. Darn, I wish I could have found a Piper. Bagpipes, I miss the sound of the streets of Scotland. Slainte, Dee