Tag Archives: beer


30 Apr

Apocalypse Ale Works

When the wandering ceases, when the traveler stops upon the path and unloads the heart and mind, in the slow breath there is allowing. The soul’s compass can realign, measured out against the horizon as dusk is wrapped into night’s blanket. Darkness comes, shards of stars in an indigo sky reflect low fire over the mountains. Stretching out the curled tendrils of perception, Beloved dwells in the stillness. This skill of being, of fully expanding the soul comes from an awareness of the field of time that is hard to explain to most. A spiritualist once told me that I had a tremendously large higher consciousness, but that trying to bring it all down here was the main conflict I experience on this journey. Feeling the world as I do can make it difficult to connect with others, to find those who also understand this way of perceiving existence. I’ve encountered many souls across the years, but there are only a few in whom I can intuit an understanding, an unstated sense of “being”ness. Like leaves burst forth from the branch upon which I also grow, the wind moves us both in tandem.

Saturday, I had the good fortune to share an evening with another wandering soul. Pausing in his own journey, a friend whom I had not seen in over a decade stopped in to re-connect. A wayfarer, like me, he has wandered the globe on his own path to becoming and it was a joy to share his company. We spent the early evening at a local brewery, Apocalypse Ale Works, sampling their Belgian dubbel and chocolate stout. The Ale Works is new to the Lynchburg area, and is as simple an establishment as they come. No menu other than their beer and perhaps some pretzels allows for me to bring my own favorite beer food, peppered almonds and walnuts or Dubliner cheese. What endears this taproom to me most is the genuine and committed company of folks who run it and the quality which permeates its character. I often write here on their large deck facing the tracks. A train will usually pass by, its roar and clacking cadence and high humming whine rushing by. The sky is open to wide winged hawks peering down as they fly over a grassy plain of a backyard.

I rarely take friends to one of my writing spots, but it has the feel of the tavern or the campfire; it is a place to box the compass. We caught up on life as much as one can, condensing the life events of thirteen years. The factual high points become moot after a while, but the stories that rise to the telling are the most importnant. Moments of significance tell of the journey. In the hours we spent together, I began to reflect on what it means to live fully, to follow one’s bliss for my friend does so effortlessly. He is tied only to himself. His eagerness to find the Truth in life and his resiliency to events as his path unfolds is testament to a way of living few can claim and many envy, including me. I am only beginning to see the unfolding and to feed the courage I use daily to seek my bliss despite societal pressures.

We are both multi-abilitied people with insatiable curiosities. Align that with a disdain for in-the-box living and you have individuals who seek authenticity and yet feel the pain of isolation and disconnection at times. But the way in which we both live places us in the same mind, the same understanding of being-ness. Simply put, we “get it” and in each other’s company, we find simpatico.

So the night spread out before us like the blue black expanse of a Southwestern sky peppered with stars. Beers were had upon a  lattice table with food, then stories and pictures from the road. We hopped over to a local pizza place and during dinner, he noticed my journal that I always carry with me. I generally don’t ready it when I am with others, but I think unconsciously I knew that there would be a moment where a thought or phrase would inspire me. From the first movement of conversation I knew I’d be learning from the connection and I tend to pay quite close attention when the Universe nudges.

“Is that your book?”, he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “I carry it with me when I go places by myself. The experiences go here in bits and thoughts …I hear lines or phrases…I have thoughts… then later, I write.”

I opened it to show him, flipping half folded and dog-eared pages, pen and multi-colored ink and pencil lines, colors wildly mixing in straight and diagonal shapes from page to page. I’m a third of the way through this one, bought in Staunton in March.

“I’ve started sketching again.” I said, showing him a pen and ink of one of the trees outside of the Ale Works I had drawn one Sunday a few weeks ago. I haven’t drawn or painted in a long while. A long while.


Flipping open to a blank page spread, I wrote his name and our position on the compass and then, Old Souls Unite

For that is the way of it. The awareness to wander comes after many years…many lifetimes.

My left hand was testament to the moment. And without a hesitation, after I sketched around its outline, he placed his right upon the page.

Left hand…right hand.

Two leaves, one limb….one tree.


As as we parted ways, the lesson in connection became clear to me. Each moment of living is significant to our own becoming whether we are aware of it at the time or not. Times of rest create a space for Truth and Beauty, for being lost in ourselves. In this pausing, the infinite lies. The now is so necessary, yet its significance is so hard to see. What a kindness from the Universe to share that space with a kindred soul and to rest on this journey, to re- align sights to the horizon, compass in hand.

The Epicurean Way

29 Mar

The art of living well and the art of dying well are one — Epicurus

As I dined Saturday evening, before one of the films of the Richmond French Film Festival, a waiter and I discussed the love of food and wine. “It’s following the Epicurean way,” he said. And I thought, yes. I do have a deep and abiding passion for tastes, but it goes beyond being a “foodie”. The sensuality of dining is one of my greatest pleasures, something I think most Americans do not practice nor understand well. If dinner isn’t served in less than twenty minutes at the local McRestaurant, they tap their proverbial toes. It’s devoured in half as much time and out they go, stuffed to the gills. Fine dining is Olive Garden? …seriously? Wine is sweet white or pink (ew…red) and mostly a feminine beverage. And the man drink, beer, is a watery pale which can be drunk by the half gallons. Over the years, it’s been amazing to me how little young adults know about food. I’ve had students who have never eaten a pear, nor a home made muffin, nor even seen a fresh fig. Most of them do not have families who cook or eat together. One poor soul did not know that pork was indeed a pig and these are academically bright, mostly affluent young people.

As a young person, I was lucky. A retired professor in my Italian class took an interest in me, recognizing a burgeoning love for culture. He took it upon himself to “train” my palate in both wine and food. I was learning to cook at the time, religiously watching episodes of Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet. Through my professor friend and Jeff Smith, the basics of fine food, fine wine, and spirits as well as the beauty of dining were absorbed quite quickly. My first drink lesson was within a Manhattan, and I was probably the only college gal who regularly drank Cinzano on the rocks alongside a charcuterie board. From quiche to spanakopita, I cooked the old way, my oven producing fresh baguette and the pasta machine churning out fresh ribbons. My beau of those years was ever so happily fed. In a short decade, I could cook anything, most dishes sans recipe.

I won’t go further into my epicurean development, but needless to say, this past weekend’s visit to Carytown reminded me of just how much I enjoy all sorts of cuisine. In spite of an overwhelming number of choices, I leaned toward experiences which were most familiar to me in terms of fare or venue. Four meals present themselves as memorable, each one, reflecting a meaningful aspect of food and food culture for me.

Friday evening found me on Cary Street under the brightly striped awning of Ginger Thai Taste. The dining room inside is small, but the enormous deck will be a coveted space come summer. Seated at a beautiful eating counter facing the street, the energy of Carytown’s strip seemed far away from my peaceful tucked corner. Buddha and I sat together breathing in the sweet sharp vinegar, nuoc mam, and ginger scent. Along with an off dry Riesling, eating began with fresh shrimp spring rolls. Crisp lettuce, carrot, and basil bite stacked inside the tender wrapper, dunked into fresh peanut sauce. Lemongrass Tofu with fresh red and yellow pepper, broccoli, zucchini and button mushrooms came next in a medium spicy curry with Jasmine rice. What I adore about tofu is its ability to soak in other flavors. The sponge and barely tender vegetables tasted like a spinning pinwheel of color.

Saturday, I shopped post mid-day film and after a successful haul at Ashby’s Consignment, I crossed the street, shuffling down to Secco Wine Bar. On my walking tour of Carytown in January, this corner cafe was introduced to me. But now, filled with francophiles and among late afternoon knoshers, it felt like home. I ordered a glass of Foucher Chinon (2011), and then a quick menu browse and consultation with the bar mistress produced a slate of San Simon, Cashel Blue and bresaola with toasted baguette, dollops of grainy mustard and apple butter on the side. This type of meal is my absolute favorite. As a tiny tummied person, snacking is my main way of eating. Lingering over the flavors in sips and bites is my preferred dining experience; however, what increased my pleasure was the constancy of hearing the patrons in conversation around me. French is a most beautiful and romantic language and to be immersed in it while enjoying this type of fare is divine. C’était merveilleux.

Snow began in Carytown around mid-day Sunday, a wet icy shawl over the street which slowed the day’s pace. In the early afternoon, I stopped into Don’t Look Back, an upscale taco bar across from the Byrd Theater. I’m not a huge Mexican restaurant fan, as most are little better than a TexMex McDonald’s. However, I happened upon DLB’s first anniversary bash, including drink specials and free Dixie Donuts. Score. Local craft beers are a trend in fresh food establishments these days, and a Hardywood Chocolate Heat was my choice. A rich full bodied stout, it delivers a surprise hot pepper finish. A quick consultation with the bar man and fifteen minutes served up the most amazing fish tacos I have ever eaten. Traditionally prepared corn tortillas were filled with medium rare spicy seasoned cod cubes, pickled cabbage slaw, fresh lime, and sour cream. Two tacos were just right and only six bucks. Fresh food at its best, all the textures, colors, and flavors were in play together, even the tequila lime donut for dessert. This is bistro. . . Mexicano.

By far, this last meal was the most pleasurable, both for its sensory experience and for the company with whom it was enjoyed. A visit to Amour Wine Bistro had been the plan since meeting the owner Paul on my walking tour. What was most impressive to me about him was his excitement for the nuances of food and wine. He is like me in that respect. Each dish is like a poem for him, every word dense with meaning and connotation. In his choice of wine to serve with dishes, similar intuition and understandings of subtle flavor and character governs. He selects what best enhances both the food and the wine in balance. I could listen to him describe cuisine for hours, his delightful Bordeaux accent perfectly seasoning the description. I had no hesitation in allowing him to select the wine pairings with my menu choices. And when in an establishment focused on serving local seasonal food in authentic French style, the special of the day is the way to go. My three course dinner started with a savory mise en bouche, then an appetizer of grilled shitake. Paul chose Domaine Segiunot Bordot Chablis (2010) to accompany them. The lightly grilled mushrooms retained their firmness, nutty comte’ and sweet tart balsamic reduction rounded their earthy edges.

After another mise en bouche of watermelon and mint, fresh sautéed shad roe with lemon and capers served over sautéed brussels sprouts and golden smashed potatoes was my elaborate entrée. Having never eaten shad roe, I had no idea what to expect from what is often called the “foie gras of the sea”. I cannot describe its deliciousness, sea rich without fishiness, amazing mouth feel without heaviness. The slight bitterness of the capers balanced against the tart of the lemons all grounded on the potato base with a slight cabbage crunch. Paul chose a lovely fuller bodied Sancerre to accompany it. Délices célestes.

By the time dessert arrived, unbelievably, I was not overly full. That is the test to me of fine dining, to be satiated, yet still able to enjoy a tiny bit more of a loveliness. The films were running an hour or so behind, so I enjoyed the company of the waitstaff and Paul as well as fellow patrons. A warm salted caramel dark chocolate crème brulee was served with Made by G’s sparkling full berry Gamay. Raspberry cherry notes in a fully dry sparkling wine set off the smooth dark chocolate richness of the crème, salty caramel bits on the finish. The spoon was tiny for a reason, allowing me to really enjoy every bite.

So, you might ask. How in the world do you eat this sort food and still stay a proper weight? Well, I don’t eat it every day and I exercise… a lot. And I realize that to dine daily in such manner would be hedonistic at best. Like life, enjoyment in all pleasures should be held in balance, all the elements in harmony. One day, I won’t be able to revel in the world’s collage of sensory gifts and I must balance the “now” with the “then”. For that is the truest form of living . . the art in life and death.

That’s What You Do

7 Mar

You never know who you’re going to meet seated up at the bar…or who will want to meet you. It’s been interesting, the people with whom I have crossed paths and their response to me. And to be perfectly frank, men seem to be the most affected by my solo seating in a variety of ways. For the large part, I don’t have issues. Most are respectful, friendly and/or interested in what I am doing so they ask questions. Other times, though, it seems I’m impeding on their private world by sitting there all on my own, pen in hand, not requiring assistance or soliciting company. I’m not antisocial by any means, nor unapproachable. I’ll talk to anyone if not deep in writing or my internal GPS warning doesn’t fire up. I try my best to add to intelligent conversation when engaged; the pub is like United Nations of the common man. I try to blend, adding as much as the next diplomat.

Sunday night, I stopped at Blue Mountain Barrel House after my day in Charlottesville. Post Wine Expo, I was in need of a little beverage change and Blue Mountain crafts it’s own range of beers. The bar area, toward the back of the restaurant, is definitely not the main feature, though. The outside Tiki Bar and patio are. In the summer, I will definitely be there socializing. The wide landscaped patio has an amazing view of the Blue Ridge and when it’s not 40 degrees, I can imagine an evening there is one of the best parties in Nelson County.

I could easily tell the bar area was a “man zone” upon approach. Basketball on TV? Check. Pretty plain and angular in décor? Check. Mostly men seated there? Check. A lot of pubs are like this, but it doesn’t really phase me much. Blue Mountain’s atmosphere was lively, but not obnoxious. Comfortably seated between two gentlemen, I pull out my gear: smartphone, notebook, pen. Trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, the big girl camera often stays in the car if there’s the sense it may be crowded. Three young men in ball caps and jeans were next to me huddled in story and confidence, enjoying each other and a few pints. Ah, the lads, I thought. Good places always have a group of regular lads, they add character.

The bar mistress brought me a Dark Hollow first, a bourbon barrel stout. Sweet, smooth, and chocolaty at a whopping 10%, it arrived in a ladylike goblet. We chatted briefly about pizza, one of the main features of the menu. She recommended the local sausage, but it’s large and there’s only me. I do like leftover pizza for lunch, but not for seven days running, so eventually I ordered chicken wings. Blue Mountain’s menu has the pub spirit, offering burgers, hotdogs, and sandwiches as well as gourmet pizza. And when in Rome, eat as the gladiators.

After some time, I drifted into sporadic conversation with the lad next to me while scribbling notes, but when the bar mistress arrived to say they had run out of wings, “Lad” went into action. He was actually one of the chefs, enjoying his day off, but began a quest to find more wings for me. I was content to order something different, but a lad on a quest is not to be denied. Wings were found and sent to the main kitchen, but as all frozen items prepared quickly in anticipation of pleasing a customer, they were underdone. I understand the mechanics of cooking, and it wasn’t an issue, but what I appreciated most was the commitment to serve what I wanted. I reordered differently, though, and the staff began to make up for the experience …something not necessary, but greatly appreciated. The manager paid for my beer that night, and I enjoyed another of their brews, a Local Species, fruity and oaky, it was lighter but just as full- bodied and balanced as the previous stout.

When I finally dove into my dinner, (Caesar with Crab Cake) Lad queried me to make sure the food was to my liking. It was apparent that the kitchen should reflect his level of commitment and we chatted about last summer, the outside crowds and bar action. He reminisced about the derecho of 2012, how they worked in nearly 100 degree heat, but all the while having a grand time together. Our conversation was light, as he traded lines back and forth with his friends and the bar mistress, patting me on the shoulder at times in friendly banter. One of the cooks in the back, clad in an Angry Birds hat characterized the jovial spirit there. Lad commented upon his never taking it off and went to retrieve him later for a picture at my request. Anything I asked for that night was gladly provided and the service was genuine and wonderfully friendly. They even sent me home with a half of a local sausage pizza on the house, just to make sure I had tried it. The pizza was delicious. Whole wheat thin crispy crust with Double H farm spicy sausage, thinly slivered red and green peppers, and mozzarella bubbling on top. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of pizza, but for pizza and beer in Nelson…there’s only one place I’ll go now.

What I noticed most was the easy going nature and cameraderie of the people who worked there. They were attentive but not overly so, even in their attempt to make my experience the best. And Lad and his friends at the bar didn’t seem to mind me drifting in and out of conversation while eating and scribbling. These experiences make it easy to dine while traveling solo. However, this is in huge contrast to an experience I had during the writing of this post. Last night, seated at my home bar, iPad out and posting a few pics to Instagram on my phone, a gentleman on my left interrupted.

“You need to get a third now, huh…”

He was referring to my two mobile devices in use, but I could tell by his inflection that he was slightly annoyed for some reason.

“No, I use the iPad to write, and the phone for Internet…there’s no wifi here”, I say directly looking him in the eye, flat voice that said I minded the interruption.

“Yes, there is. My wife has wifi here. Hey! there’s wifi here right?” He shouts to my bartender.

His wife tells him quietly that a password is needed.

“Hey!” he shouts. “What’s the password?” And one of the waitresses standing at the bar begins to recite the password to me whether I want it or not.

“Yeah”, he says, “there’s the password”, as he motions for me to type it into my iPad.

The password doesn’t work because the signal is weak. He begins to talk loudly to the couple on my right.

He stops. “Hey! Did it work?”,  he interrupts as I am trying to go back to my writing.

“No.” I say, not looking up.

“Did you put it in right?” He repeats the password to me, insisting I stop writing to put in the code. As I begrudgingly do this, he begins to lean way into my left to engage the couple on my right again in a lively conversation over top of me as if I am not sitting there.

I sit straight up in my chair,in the exact middle of their conversational view.

“Excuse me.” I say, sincerely. “Would you all like to sit together? I mean, then you can talk. I’ll move down. I don’t mind.”

“OH”, he pipes up immediately “EXCUSE ME, I didn’t mean to BOTHER you with our TALKING…I mean it’s a bar… that’s what you DO…”


Maybe that’s what YOU do asshole, but I was here first writing, minding my own business until you commandeered my iPad to help me without thinking first that maybe I didn’t need and / or want the help.

I immediately stand up and move to another chair.

He calls after me. “Oh SORRY. I didn’t know you wanted to be QUIET”, he remarks sarcastically.

I go back, moving very close to him and say in my teacher voice,

“No, I’m not really here to be quiet. I’m here to write.”

I pick up my iPad, post half written on the screen.

“Its what I come here to DO.”

Times like these generally only happen with men my age or older for some reason and its happened more than once. I haven’t figured out why. Perhaps they have preconceived notions about why a woman would be by herself at a bar. Perhaps it’s some misdirected sense of chivalry. At one function, a kind older gentleman with whom I chatted admitted later in our conversation that he thought my picture taking was only an attempt to be comfortable in the room without a date. In essence, I was hiding behind my camera. Of course, after I stopped taking pictures and began to converse and dance, he changed his assumption.

Maybe its generational, but the most of the younger generation don’t see it that way. And while they offer to help or simply have a conversation, they generally don’t make gender role assumptions and then push on. In the United Nations of the bar, I suppose roles shift and change, but we meet there and it’s important. The pub is the community living room. The relationships there affect our experiences either positively or negatively. Hopefully, we’ll all get along enough to connect and enjoy ourselves….or simply just allow each other to be.

Instagram: wayfarinlass

A Common Feast

21 Dec


How do you stop wanting something? How, after seeing the possibility of happiness do you walk away before a first taste, letting fear of the end of a great feast prohibit your seating at a table. Perhaps it is the fear of the end, of the last bite which prohibits the first, the regret of having eaten at all.  – – Beloved

In traveling I have had the opportunity to eat, really eat and enjoy gourmet food and fine wine. Well, maybe not so much Gaffers Sports Pub in Ocracoke, but most definitely wine at Zillies and then, most definitely in DC.

One of the most memorable meals I have had so far was at Granville Moore’s. Delores and John had told me about the place because John’s daughter works there. That’s all I really needed to understand. They said I needed to go, so I went.

The entrance of this Belgian style gastropub is nearly hidden. One could never tell that a restaurant was actually there at all; the cab driver had a problem even finding it. But when I walked in, I understood why. Originally a doctor’s office, the building is tall, two stories and very narrow, most likely a building from the early part of the 20th century. The bar is long, covering one side of each of two floors with a single row of booths on the opposite side of each bar. The first greeting from the doorman was sweet. He loves red hair. Story of my life.

But no room at the downstairs bar for a red headed lass to sit, so up the old creaky steps I went. The walls are barely painted, half wall papered, half scraped and the ceilings open to the rafters. A convergence of European pub and tenement house, the ambiance really works. This is upscale even in its unassuming wood and tarnished brass. I found a single spot at the bar and literally inserted myself into the eating crowd.  Quite quickly, I was reminded of the idea of the common table, of eating  surrounded in warm spirit by others. But also yielding to the vulnerability of eating. I had never thought about how fiercely vulnerable eating makes someone, but it does. We take off our defenses and sit at a fire and feed ourselves into life. We focus on our senses and take pleasure in them. It is something that must be done in safety, sometimes in quiet, but most times in communion. It’s why we desire to eat in groups, I think. To break bread together and to enjoy not only the flavor of what feeds us, but the act of eating with others draws them into our intimate life.

Granville Moore’s menu focuses solely on moules (mussels) and craft beers. And in the eating of this type of old world food, one dives into the nature of relationship, to others and to the planet. I ordered moules prepared with a sauce made of grand marnier, cream, duck sausage, and cranberries. Frites with curry mayo was the side along with crusty bread to be broken and plunged into that vat of sea-orange cranberry flavor. I ordered a beautiful beer. La Rulles Meilleurs Vouex, medium bodied, malty, not too heavy. Tasting brought to mind moss and dark soil, an image of Antaeus, strength in earth. Beer, like a tree, seems firmly connected to both ground and sky.

I sat there amid the crowd and ate and scribbled in my notebook. I broke my bread among the masses in intimate vulnerability. I listened to the couple next to me discuss her sister’s problems with home and parents. I watched the other couple beside me in their technological silence as he flipped through Facebook and she sat alone and dipped bread and ate, and ate, and dipped and ate. He flipped his thumb upon his phone screen in ignorance of her boredom, her sense of rejection, her beauty and vulnerability. If I had been brave enough, I would have told him to break a corner of her crust and feed her.

So how was the food? I held pale orangish pink moules, barely cooked, upon a tiny fork and watched them quiver before they hit my tongue in a salty revelation. Earthy and sharply citrus from a burial in cream, orange and berry, I felt and heard the bread crack and crumble under my fingers and then let it soak in all of the bottom of the bowl. Then, perching upon the top to my mouth, came a small morsel of duck sausage, rich and bloody and dark and filled with sage and the memory of a winter home upon a heath.

Perhaps there is something about a feast which doesn’t tempt some, but a feast IS meant to be shared. For in that sharing comes healing and life, growth and joy. One must share the table, the bread, the wine…and freely share. It isn’t a stolen moment. It is a gifted pause  to be able to meet another at table and feed the heart and soul as well as body.  We are invited to a common table. Its up to us to meet it.

Upon Having Arrived

20 Jun

So today, I rode Amtrak all the way to South Kingston Rhode Island from Lynchburg. With intermittant WiFi and a dumb phone, the only way to adequately describe my train riding experience is to share my Facebook stati as the day rolled on, and my wisdoms gained on a train trip:

8a.m. Pardon me boy….is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?……..

12:00 Eating on Amtrak is like eating out of the fast food case at Sheetz, except 3x more expensive….note to self always pack a lunch…..

4:00 Eyeing the monster Fosters this elderly gentleman has beside me…..can’t.wait.to get.off.this.train.so bored….ack!

10:00  Things I learned on a train:

  1. Amtrak food sucks
  2.  Every woman on the train seems to be reading 50 Shades
  3.  Get a window seat or be prepared to barf
  4. Amtrak wifi does not work and I need a better cell phone
  5. Train and bus bathrooms are practice for a night in a country bar riding the mechanical bull
  6.  It takes just as many hours to get off the vertigo as it does the train…jeez I have ferry tomorrow.
  7. I love traveling solo..but having the phone helps

More adventures tomorrow…I love my life 🙂

The point of real departure to adventure was marked by arriving a bit later at the South Kingston Amtrak Station than I had expected and as I quickly muscled my suitcases to the platform, I began to search for a taxi. The host at the King’s Rose Bed and Breakfast assured me that there would be taxis out in front of the station to bring me to the accommodation, but when I surveyed the front of the station however, nope…not a taxi in sight. As a matter of fact, nothing was in sight. So I sat on my luggage and attempt to dial the host. Before I could finish, though, a taxi drives up and an elderly lady begins to load her luggage into the back.

I shout, “Will there be any more taxis?”

He shouts back, “Uh, heyas a numbuh…cooawl them” and some rambling mess of numbers comes out before I can even get my fingers to begin to dial. But I plug them in and call.

Finally, I get someone on the phone and he tells me, “Eh, I can be theya in a haf an ow-ah.”

Oh, okay Mr. Taxi guy, I’ll just sit here for 30 minutes and wait to go two miles up the road…sure.

Finally, he shows up and takes me to the bed and breakfast where I meet the lovely lady who is host at the King’s Rose. She has put me into one of the most lovely feminine rooms I have ever seen. Pink floral and calico, it’s filled with antiques and pictures from the twenties and thirties. And the bed is one of those high New England jobs. And I had to, I took off from the bathroom and leapt over onto the fluffy feather top and then jumped on the bed at least three times.But the real adventure was securing my first solo vacation dinner.

I ask the kind host where I might go eat.. It is already 8:00, and I ‘m hot, tired, and frankly I need a very cold beer. So, she tells me I’ll have to walk down to the University of Rhode Island campus about a mile away. There will be a food court with some choices and I can get dinner there. As I began the trip, I was tired, but feeling really sort of free, brave to the point of almost being, as Granny calls it, ornery. This is the first trip I have ever taken completely solo.  Sometimes it strikes me that I am a living lesson of sorts, as if others are sort of vicariously living in my adventure. Its a big reason to keep going and to be brave, to do what I’ve always wanted to do.

As I walked,  the heat came rolling off the pavement in waves. It was soooooo sweltering hot today. This has been the worst heat wave ever. The host told me that she had to put my air conditioning unit in the window yesterday.That usually doesn’t happen until July, she said.Upon rounding the corner onto the back part of campus, I see the International Slice Pizza Company. I’m not the world’s biggest pizza fan, especially since I have been training so heavily, but at that point I didn’t really care. Pizza has a companion: BEER and it’s cold and my God, I’m drinking the largest one I can find.

So I waltz into the shop, a perky blonde gal is behind the counter, and I say to her, “Please tell me that you have beer and that its cold and that you will give me the largest one you can muster.” She looks back at me and says “Oh, I’m sorry. This is the UR campus. Its dry” At that moment, a feeling mixed between murderous rage and hopeless despair wells up in me and the inevitable Valkyrie yell of “CRAP!” comes rolling out of my filter free Sagittarius mouth. What I hadn’t noticed was that a guy had come in behind me in line and the minute my whining began he says,

“Ay, I gotta beeyah out in the cah, ya want one?”

I whip around and look him straight in the face and with all the conviction of a freight train I utter my response.”YES……YES…. I …..DO.”

So I follow this guy to his late model Pontiac in front of the pizza place.

He says to me, “Its a Busch, hope ya don’t cayah”

I say, “No, thank you so much. Please let me give you a buck or two for it”

“Nah,  no prahblem…its cold” he says, as he rummages through a cooler in his back seat for a can of beer.

So he hands me this icy can of Busch beer and I slip it into my purse. I walk back into the pizza place and order two slices from perky pizza gal, BBQ chicken and pineapple ham. I request an extra styrofoam cup for the beer and then mosey out to the picnic table for my first solo feast. It strikes me. Of all the times in the past I have eaten out alone, this meal, THIS ONE is the best I can think of.

God Bless the State of Rhode Island.

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