Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Our house is old, say 100 to 120 years. The basement is unusable but for the laundry and storage and the one car garage, which has never held our car in the five years we've been there, has a gravel floor and a door that opens to the side like a bi-fold closet door. OLD!

We keep our trash in the garage and once a week I throw it in the back of my truck and take it to work and dump, in the big ram-powered dumpster, not in the boss's office.

Our outside door to the garage does not always get closed properly where it will stay shut and not swing open so we have had a problem with animals getting into the trash.

I told you that to tell you this.

I'm laying in bed the other night, having just fallen asleep maybe thirty minutes before, when Hana, our eldest, comes running in the room.

"Dad! There's a big possum in the garage getting into the trash! Lucy's going nuts trying to get at it!"

So I jumped out of bed, grabbed my housecoat, and yes, I do wear one sometimes, and ran down the stairs, Hana hot on my heels.

I get to the door from the kitchen to the basement stairs which also goes on out to the garage, and Lucy, our Rat Terrier, is sniffing and snuffling, barking and howling at the door, trying to claw her way through to get to this monster so that she can do her duty as our protector and kill it.

I shoo her out of the way, grab a broom (knowing full well not to approach a possum unarmed) and head out to do battle. I ease open the garage door and I see nothing but trash scattered on the gravel floor, a familiar sight by now. I see no possum. Maybe he/she is hiding behind the various and asundry boxes, implements, and empty paints cans that call my garage home.

So I start beating about with the stick, smacking boxes, cans, shelves, tools, counters, empty barrels, old fans, washtubs, doors, walls, table saws, thesaurusi, all in an attempt to disturb this varmint into showing him/herself.

Then it hits me. What's the expression, that idiosyncrasy, that mannerism that defines these minute members of the mammalian marsupial menagerie?

You guessed it. "Playing Possum!" And what does this mean. Well, for those city dwellers among you who are not familiar with the thought processes of the animal kingdom, a possum will roll over and act as though they are dead. Much like a middle-aged American Male.

So here I am, in my bathrobe with no belt, and the briefs that lie beneath, swinging my lance of choice around in the garage in the middle of the night trying to disturb an animal who has learned that if he/she just lays there quietly the mean old fat man will soon go away.

And then it hits me. What am I doing? And more importantly, WHY am I doing it? What do I care if this possum eats my trash? It's already made a mess. I can clean it up tomorrow and nail the garage door shut. It's not like he's gonna get into the house.

So with as much dignity as I can muster, I gather my robe together, and with lance in one hand and Rat Terrier in the other, I concede this particular battle to Joe/Jane Possum, and march into my house.

My daughter says, "What are you doing?"

"I'm going to bed."

"What about the possum?"

"What about him?" I ask.

"But he's still out there!" she squeals.

"Yes," I say. "He most likely is still out there. But the "Out-There" belongs to him. The "In-Here" belongs to me. And as long as we both respect each others territory, I think we'll be okay."


"I'm going to bed." And off I went. I get upstairs and Sheila says, "What was that all about?"

"There's a possum in the garage," I said.

"Oh. Okay," she said, and rolled over and went back to sleep.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Steel Trolley Diner

This past weekend, my wife and I were treated to two nights lodging, sans children, in a fine hotel in Lisbon, Ohio in exchange for me singing two songs in a young ladies wedding and DJ'ing her reception. I figured it was a fair enough deal and off we went to enjoy a weekend together, albeit with some other people thrown into the mix, but not the hotel room; thank you, God.

We arrived in Lisbon Friday afternoon and after checking into the hotel, we went with the bride's father directly to the church for the rehearsal. All went well and I enjoyed the quiet time with my wife. Since there was no actual rehearsal dinner, the bride's father and mother took Sheila and I out to a late dinner at the Speakeasy Casino located at the Mountaineer Racetrack in New Cumberland, West Virginia across the river from Lisbon. The restaurant was serving a buffet which featured Alaskan King Crab legs and we did our best to eat enough crab legs to make up for the $18.99 per person the casino was charging. I paid for it later but it was well worth it since neither of us had had good crab legs since leaving Maryland nearly twenty years ago. And these were VERY good.

Anyway, the weekend was wonderful, the wedding was beautiful , and the reception was a blast. We slept in Sunday morning and left the hotel about 11 to head for home. The following conversation ensued as we pulled out of the hotel parking lot.

"You got any druthers for lunch," I asked my sweet bride.

"Not really," she said. "Do you?"

"No. But I was thinking, if we wait too much longer we might hit the church crowd wherever we go."

"True. Why don't we go ahead and find something soon."

"Okay," I said and the conversation ended. (We're not usually this exciting but it had been a good weekend and our dander was up.)

It was about this time that we came upon The Steel Trolley Diner, located in the historic district (or so the pamphlets said) of Lisbon, OH. From the looks of the buildings that we saw I would say pretty much ALL of Lisbon qualifies as historic district. That being said, it was a lovely town.

I mentioned to my bride that we might try this diner and she readily agreed. Not two minutes after sitting at our booth, I knew I had to tell you all about it. So here goes my first restaurant review. (Be easy on me, AM.)

Are you interested in nouveau riche cuisine where the napkin weighs more than the food on your plate? Or maybe you'd like a light fresh Mediterranean style salad with Romaine lettuce, Crimini mushrooms, sardines, and garbanzo beans tossed together in an invigorating dressing of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice with a hint of garlic? No? Then maybe a thick chateaubriand steak with a peppercorn garlic spread and steamed vegetables on the side?

Well, if any of these are what you are looking for then I would highly recommend that you go.....NOWHERE NEAR the Steel Trolley Diner. Seriously, stay far, far away. My heart was screaming "NO! NO! GET ME OUTTA HERE" even as we were walking in the door. (Silly heart). This place has four basic food groups; fried, deep-fried, griddle-fried, and ice cream.

At The Steel Trolley Diner the hamburgers are thick, juicy, and cooked on a griddle that's about two foot square, right there in front of you and all your patronly friends. The menu is eight pages long and features breakfast foods, all fried, griddled, or toasted; hot dogs and hamburgers, which are prepared in any number of condimental combining manners; desserts, which were mostly pies, ice creams, and shakes; and four dinner entrees-Meatloaf, Chicken Fried Steak, Fried Chicken, and grilled liver and onions. (I don't know how they cooked the meatloaf since I saw no actual oven anywhere.)

We're talking the penultimate "greasy spoon" here. But oh, what a diner. Had it been in a larger city I would have expected Sam Spade to come walking in any time in his trench coat and fedora, smoking a cigarette, and asking Trixie behind the counter for a hot cup of Joe, then settling himself in a booth where he would read the paper as the rain fell outside, the car tires sizzling on the pavement like bacon frying in the pan, the neon lights of the dance hall across the street glowing like cheap jewelry on a...but I digress.

Sheila and I both decided on the BBQ Burger, which won first place at the Fourth Annual National Hamburger Festival this year in Akron, Ohio. It was not a complicated burger, consisting of a half pound patty, grilled onions, shredded cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce, but it sure was messy. I consider myself a man's man and seldom lower myself to cutting a burger in half in order to eat it. But this baby was saying either cut me in half before you start or drop half of me down your shirt front, your choice, go ahead, I'll wait.

So I cut that puppy in half and started in. Oh my, it was a taste to behold. Bright, engaging, and woodsy, with a hint of steel mill thrown in.

We ordered fries with our burgers, why bother with anything else, right, and since Sheila is an onion ring lover, I thought I'd be nice and order some of those for the both of us. Big mistake! The burger came in one basket, and the hand-cut fries came piled high in another basket all their own. The "side" of fries was probably half again as large as the "basket" of fries you buy in most chain restaurants. And then there were the onion rings. Hot, juicy, and crispy.

Sheila barely made a dent in her fries and I could not finish all of mine, a first for me, I assure you. I was so full I had to stop for a nap while I walked back to the car.

But rest assured, if the Award Winning BBQ Burger is not your cup of tea, forgive the mixed-metaphor there, then you can order virtually any combination of burger, cheese, and condiment that you can imagine. And if it's not on the menu, I'm fairly certain they'll throw together any combination you tell them to.

Some of the more interesting burgers included the "Elvis Burger, "a juicy half pound burger topped with bacon, Jif peanut butter, and homemade banana jam, just like the King liked 'em", I kid you not; or the "Johnny Appleseed burger, a half pound burger topped with homemade apple pie jam, grilled onions, and shredded cheddar cheese"; or even the "Burning of Atlanta burger" which was "smothered in peach bbq sauce, topped with pepperjack cheese and jalapeno peppers." There were too many for me to remember, but all were capable of stopping your heart on a dime and giving you a nickel in change.

The diner was first opened in 1954 and has changed hands a few times since then. Also it is one of what I believe is only 2000 trolley diners still in existence in the US today. This is a truly a down home place. If this place were located in my town I'd be either broke, weigh 500 pounds, dead from a heart attack, or some combination of the three. And as the commercial would say, "they don't take American Express". Nor do they take Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, or Discover. And they won't take personal checks either. So bring your appetite and bring your cash. Because when you leave you will have left some of your cash and all of your appetite behind.

It was fun to say the least.

And Jackie, our server, was fabulous. She made us feel as if we came in every day.

Thanks, Jackie, for a wonderful time.

I'm sorry

In my last post I commented on the 70 year old fellow getting married to a 46 year old lady. I also made the comment that I wasn't sure that I could marry a 70 year old woman.

Forgive me, I beg of you. It was not a smart thing to say, and I meant no disrespect to those ladies out there that have reached, or are close to reaching this quite seductive age.

You will also note that I stated that I needed to get to bed. Truth be told, I should have gone to bed before writing that post. Then maybe I would have thought more clearly about what I should say regarding Mr. Young and Ms. Harbin's upcoming nuptials. Or whether I should have said anything at all.

And yes, I would agree with Mom. There are a number of "very hot" 70 year old women out there. In fact, I am currently married to a very hot 45 year old woman right now. Maybe that's why the thermostat in my house is set on 54 all the time.

chuckle chuckle

Monday, October 5, 2009

I was perusing my Google Reader, where I keep up with the other bloggers out there, and I came across one from "Galion News", where I live. It said "The following marriage license applications were filed in Richland County Probate court between Sept yada yada yada. Being the curious type I wondered if anyone knew was getting married and hadn't told me. So I scanned the list.I didn't find anyone I knew but I did find this one.

"Newton Douglas Young of Lexington, 70, retired, and Gail Bullock Harbin of Lexington, 46, sales associate."

Mr. Young, ironic isn't it, who is 70, is marrying Ms. Harbin, who is 46. And then I thought, Hey, I'm 46! Could I marry a 70 year old woman? The fact that I am already married is a major deterrent, but I'm not sure I could marry someone who is 24 years older than I am. In this age of soccermommania, there are quite a few very attractive 46 year old moms out there. And my first thought, sorry ladies, was You go, dude!

My second thought was I really need to get to bed.

Goodnight all.