Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ants: Fort Lauderdale 2015

So, when I visit Fort Lauderdale--really, my home town in many ways, along with Vancouver, WA and Des Moines, IA--I stay at Billy's. I always take the back, corner room in his house. I love his house, though I suppose some people would not. Anyway. There are two windows in the room that I like to open--unless it is summer--and there are tiled "shelves" at each window. There is an outlet along the bed, which is pushed up against the wall near both windows. I plug in my phone there. I put the phone on the inner windowsill of the north-facing window. I place my glasses, at night, there also.

And when I wake up, I put on my glasses. And I always see little doglike things running across them. Ants. Tiny ants that have their run around Billy's house. And I have to clean them off. And, my phone. Little see-through ants--mini-wiggly-furious-leg-moving-insects are running across its screen.


Thank goodness.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Ox: Missoula 1990

So I'm thinking of The Ox. In Missoula. Montana. That's The Oxford downtown--liquor, food and poker. And what I'm recalling are late nights, post drinking at Charlie B's and such. Stopping in The Ox for a final beer and an order of Chicken Fried Steak with Lone Star Gravy. Sitting at the counter with friends, crowded, the cook busy busy busy, the people smoking, probably us smoking, the noise of the poker games behind us, the tables full of others, the regular bar down the way full of drinkers. Noise and fried food, smoke and keno games. It would take forever to get your food. Some people would give up. But when you ate it?

The Ox. In Missoula.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Childhood Lunches: Vancouver

I've always liked lunch--my favorite meal. I'm not certain why that is, other than I like the informality of it, the noon hour, the foods associated with lunch. Sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads and such . . . But what I'm thinking of, along with lunch, is of my mother. Of my childhood with my brothers and sister, friends and places (South Dakota, Washington, Tennessee (not so much Iowa and beyond)).

I think it was in Vancouver, Washington where most of my notion of childhood lunches comes from, from things my mother used to prepare. I was in school then, so mainly I'm thinking summer lunches, which were the usual fare: peanut butter and jelly, cold cut sandwiches, tuna salad, spaghetti from a can (Franco American), hot dogs. Nothing special, really. My mother did make one dish--Tuna Stuff Over Noodles, we called it--which was essentially creamed tuna over chow mien noodles. I loved it, though, and still make it to this day now and then. And then we had salmon from a can.

That seems strange to me now, that we, as kids, ate salmon. From a can. Sure, living in the Pacific Northwest we had salmon--my dad would grill salmon steaks now and then. But I can't recall being crazy about them. But we all liked salmon from a can (though now I doubt I would, and it--salmon from a can--has not translated to my adulthood like Tuna Stuff Over Noodles has). I think she made salmon salad or other easy concoctions from the salmon--I don't recall exactly. (Oh yes--Salmon Patties: canned salmon mixed with cracker crumbs and eggs and fried with butter and salt!) But what I recall especially is that we kids would squabble over the bone amongst the flesh in the can.

Again, I don't recall why we liked the bone. It was just a soft, very white ring of a bone that got mixed up in the canning. There was always at least one, sometimes two inside. I'm guessing it was a vertebrae-type bone, small and easy to bite through. I guess we didn't really squabble, but it was just something my mother would ask: "Who wants the bone?" It's sort of like who got the salmon patty (or tuna patty, which eclipsed the salmon eventually) that was in the middle of the pan--the one that was always fried the crispest.

Nowadays, I suppose, I wouldn't much care to eat a salmon bone in a can. Or even the canned salmon itself.

I've had the real stuff. And I like wild salmon very much.

Okay. That's it. A salmon bone from my childhood.