We recently went out to eat with friends at a restaurant, now before you say that one cannot eat in a restaurant in Michigan, our harridan has allowed outside dining, and the dining area can be enclosed, but it must be outside. I understand that it sounds like double-talk from a Marx Brothers’ film, but it is true. The state just closed a restaurant in the Upper Peninsula, but had to use a court in the Lower Peninsula that was in favor of making a woman stop earning a living for her children and couldn’t get the response that they were looking for up north, so they had to “court shop.” If you think this is strange, it also happens in California, and the governor there could not tell that he was breaking his own mandate eating with a group of friends at the French Laundry, and he claimed that he thought he was eating outside, even though they were clearly indoors. All of this reminds me of dialogue from Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22” that I will present at the end of this article.
We were going to a Coney Island restaurant that is located on a semi-private par-three golf course in a residential subdivision. For the uninitiated a Coney Island restaurant can be a small singular storefront that historically sells Detroit style Coney-Dogs, which is a hot dog or loose hamburger placed in a hot dog bun covered with bean-less chili, onions and yellow mustard, a Detroit tradition with plenty of arguments to go around of who has the best Coney Islands. I have my favorite and have made it point even to take my grandchildren there, if they are in town, but I am digressing. The majority of Coney Island Restaurants have evolved into multi-page restaurants with most meals served at any time of day, including breakfast choices. We sat outside of the restaurant, as the real restaurant was only being used for carry-out orders which are legal. The back patio of the restaurant overlooking part of the golf course was surrounded by thick plastic sheeting, with corner flaps left dangling open for fresh and cold air. Inside the patio area were these big propane space heaters in a couple of different designs, but all cranking up the heat. It was quite toasty, as they were a multitude of hardware store backyard thermometers placed all around the plastic enclosed dining area, and they were showing temperatures of eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit, in fact I had to take off my suede coat as I was getting hot. There was an assortment of different dishes orders and the food was so plentiful that everyone took food containers home with them, and also the rice pudding that was part of the entrées that no one had room left to enjoy a dessert.
I had wine with my meal and the waitress could recite the brands of wine; Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling etc. I decided to play it safe and order a Pinot Grigio and of course I requested to see the bottle, which was brought out for me. I had a full glass of Salmon Creek California Pinot Grigio 2018 which came in the handy magnum size that is popular with catering companies and some restaurants. Under the Salmon Creek label there are at least twenty-five different varietals and blends offered, and the label is considered one of the least expensive wines from California, and this winery/label is a division of Bronco Wine Company. Bronco Wine Company is one of the largest wine producers and vineyard owners in the United States of America. They are located in Ceres, California and they have ownership of about sixty different labels, including perhaps there most famous brand Charles Shaw (Two Buck Chuck). They also own facilities in eleven other countries. The company was founded in 1973 by Fred, Joseph and John Franzia after the sale of the Franzia Winery. By the way it was not a terrible wine, perhaps a bit sweeter than I expected, but I find that the case with most bulk wines.
Maj. Major Major Major: Sergeant, from now on, I don’t want anyone to come in and see me while I’m in my office. Is that clear?
First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir. What do I say to people who want to come in and see you while you’re in your office?
Major: Tell them I’m in and ask them to wait.
Towser: For how long?
Major: Until I’ve left
Towser: And then what do I do with them?
Major: I don’t care.
Towser: May I send people in to see you after you’ve left?
Towser: You won’t be here then, will you?
Towser: I see, sir. Will that be all?
Major: Also, Sergeant, I don’t want you coming in while I’m in my office asking me if there’s anything you can do for me. Is that clear?
Towser: Yes, sir. When should I come in your office and ask if there’s anything, I can do for you?
Major: When I’m not there.
Towser: What do I do then?
Major: Whatever has to be done.
Towser: Yes, sir.