Sweet rolls taste better when tied to memories

Published 9:12 am Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club meeting

“I’m working the early shift at the drugstore.”

“The drugstore has an early shift?”

“I come in early and wake the sleeping pills.”

Driving by the Bruces

Email newsletter signup

I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: the price of a new car makes an old car run better.

Things I’ve learned

1. Any nut that appears to be 1/2” will be 7/16” or 9/16”.

2. If someone asks if food tastes funny, it does.

3. If the Yankees lose, it doesn’t matter what my horoscope says. It’s going to be a good day.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

Farming was an enterprise that varied in mood from battlefield to vacation. Baling hay wasn’t an unpleasant task but it came with hot temperatures and balky equipment. Things were broken. Things were fixed only to break again. We spent much time being almost done. I found the easiest way to find the finish line was to repeat the mantra,  “When you bale, you bale.”

You know you are getting older if

1. All you want out of life is a nap.

2. You’ve stopped looking like yourself.

3. You use your fingers to count just as you did when you were a tot.


I didn’t eat chicken in front of her.

No, she wasn’t a vegetarian or a card-carrying member of PETA.

She ate meat. Insects, mostly.

She was a chicken. She was a pet. Her name was Rhoda. She was a Rhode Island Red hen. She laid eggs.

I think she was proud of that.

I needed sweetening

There were stresses in my young life. The bus driver came at a different time each day. He didn’t want any kid setting a clock by him. He taught me that kids waited for school buses, school buses didn’t wait for kids.

There were words that needed spelling that didn’t want to be spelled.

There were bean rows that needed walking and they were more work than walking a dog.

That’s why places like Vivian’s Café and in particular, her fried rolls, were so important to me. Vivian’s was the spot where I munched on a heavenly fried roll while listening to my elders. I still connect sweet rolls with learning. Vivian, the café, and the rolls are nothing but memories today.

I’ve eaten similar rolls through the years. When I come across a delicacy that resembles Vivian’s tasty treat, I buy it. I have eaten lookalike rolls all over the country. None came close to matching the exquisite tastes of Vivian’s product.

Maybe a roll tasted better when it was surrounded by Vivian’s Café.

Driving past the past

I drove by the ball fields. They looked familiar. Years ago, I played in a state tournament on those fields. What I remembered most wasn’t the games I played. I remembered the umpire’s son. The yellowjackets were thick as we came to bat. The umpire’s son, sitting in the stands, took a drink from his can of Mountain Dew. One of the wasps had crawled into the can in search of sweet liquid. The yellowjacket didn’t like being swallowed. The boy had an allergic reaction to the stings. An ambulance arrived and took the boy to a hospital. The joy of the game was replaced by hopes and prayers for the umpire’s son. It was the first time in my life that I didn’t feel like playing ball.

Talking to the Holstein

I was talking to the Holstein the other day. The Holstein is a retired milk cow, so she has time to talk. The Holstein chewed her cud thoughtfully and said, “Moo.”

Nature notes

My wife’s favorite bird is the indigo bunting. It looks like a blue goldfinch. My father called them “blue canaries.” I watched a lovely indigo bunting at the feeder. As it flew away, I was reminded of the last words in a novel, Jitterbug Perfume, written by Tom Robbins. “As blue as indigo. And you know what that means: Indigo. Indigoing. Indigone.”

Mallards usually pair for just one season, but sometimes the same birds mate again in subsequent years.

If you want to discourage barn swallows from nesting above a door, tape plastic wrap over the area. It will prevent the nest’s mud from sticking to the siding.

Squirrels and blue jays bury many acorns and thus plant many oak trees. Their good work saves many workers’ compensation claims for back injuries.

Meeting adjourned

Richard Carlson wrote, “Choose being kind over being right and you’ll be right every time.”