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» Saturday, March 25, 2017Other People Meet at Bars, We Meet at Bookstores
Well, slept a little bit better, but not much; still the hip problems and had to get up at seven to use the bathroom and then hoped to get back to sleep. When I did get back to sleep, it was a Louisa May Alcott-like dream where I was someone sent to take care of a young cousin and didn't find out until I got there that I had to stay a month. I was so upset in the dream that I called out and scared the family dog. Thankfully the alarm rang.
Came into the conference room to find a big table almost full of folks eating; we got our own food from the breakfast area and brought it in and helped clear a space for Lin as well. No French toast this morning, so I had extra regular toast. (I see the curse of A Discovery of Witches goes on.)
During the end of breakfast, Alice and Aubrey were talking about going to a little bookstore in Cornelia that we'd never heard of. After they left, I asked James if he wanted to try to go to it, too, and John Campbell was interested, as well. So we rushed into our room to finish getting dressed and grabbing money.
Because we were in the truck, John unfortunately couldn't ride with us, so he was following behind. Cornelia was about a half-hour's drive away, turning left at the big field where a big herd of Holstein cows are always grazing. It was cloudy again today, but not quite as chilly as yesterday, so we just brought our flannel shirts in case. Didn't really need them today.
Unbelievably, we caught up to the Spiveys about a third of the way there, until we got to someplace where the police were escorting a long ride of motorcyclists; we and John ended up between the police cars and the motorcycle riders, so we pulled over until the latter passed. A little further on, as we approached the Walmart, for no reason John got in the turn lane and turned around and went back. We hoped there wasn't a problem back at the hotel.
The GPS led us a merry chase as we got into Cornelia, which is a fairly large town with chain stores and a megachurch called the Torch, telling us the bookstore was on a street around the corner from the public library. It was, in fact, in a shopping center before the public library, a tiny little place that was also a notary public. And, sure enough, the Spiveys were there.
I didn't find anything (all that I was interested in I already had; they had a pristine copy of The Little House Cookbook!), but James got a nearly untouched three-volume set of the history of 20th century sea power for only $30 and another book of interviews with fighter pilots. Then we were all feeling peckish, so we went to a place that the elderly lady running the store recommended, Fender's Diner. This had an old diner vibe and was definitely a vintage place that is well-beloved by the folks in Cornelia. It was a nice lunch, too! I had roast beef and onions au jus with onion rings (truly I will need to pay) and James had a hamburger steak with vegetables.
We'd decided that when we finished at the bookstore we were going to detour to Clarkesville to go to The Art-Full Barn, which is part pottery shop and part comic shop and part art shop and part model shop, and Alice and Aubrey couldn't resist an art store. They used their GPS and we used our phone, and we made it there first, despite the phone telling me initially that we were going in the same direction. Whatever, we made it, and I had to go out and admire the animated metal pinwheels in different colors and styles that are out front. They remind me of the metal sculptures made by Aunt Meg in Twister. Really, they are not so expensive; the most expensive one was $150.
Alice and Aubrey did indeed enjoy this store, and so did Ken, who stocked up on comic books. James also found a comic, and, although the model department is now very small, he got two models. I bought a set of oil paints.
The Spiveys went on home, but we continued onto Cleveland and then turned back toward Helen so we could stop at the Mount Yonah book store. Surprise! Ron and Lin, their son Neil, Bill Ritch, and Charles Rutledge were already there. Some folks meet at bars, we get together at bookstores (and I do still miss those Friday nights at the Borders Books on the East-West Connector!). Bill had turned up a really neat find: there's no copyright on it, but it's a hardcover copy of Swiss Family Robinson with an inscription to a person for Christmas 1918! The pages are browning, but it's in super condition. (He let me look at it back at the hotel. I thought I had a complete version, with a different translation, but no, what I have must be still abridged, because there are some parables Father tells the boys that are not in my edition. Franz is called "Frank" in this edition, but I was delighted by the footnotes, that explained to the evidently younger reader what things like trigonometry and oil lamps are, and how when the book was written there were no trains. Plus it still has the color plates!)
Anyway, James turned up a book on fighter pilots and I found the next book in Gerald Johnson's history of America trilogy for young people, the first which I bought here a few years ago, and then on the way out I found a copy of Mercedes Lackey's A Study in Sable in paperback. James bought both for me.
After a short stop at Nora Mill Granary for James to get some white gravy and start on this year's Christmas surprise for Mom and Candy, we finally arrived back at the hotel. Turns out John thought we were going to the Mount Yonah store and turned around because he didn't recognize anything. As he said, a failure in communication. But I swear we said it was in Cornelia.
Saturday night we usually eat at the German restaurant, but James said that this year he thought the German food would be too heavy. Well, there I was typing and the next thing I knew James was asking where we wanted to go for supper, and when I looked around almost everyone was gone. Juanita and David, though, were about to head back to Wendell's for supper and asked if we wanted to come with them. Well, we'd love to!
Unfortunately, Wendell's isn't open for dinner, and another place the desk recommended was only a breakfast place. So we decided to try Cowboys & Angels, which Shari had spoken of favorably. This was downtown, close to where we had parked yesterday.
Cowboys & Angels is a bar/restaurant with live music, so we kind of expected it to be loud when we got there. But when James and I walked in, the sound was deafening: live band playing not-bad music, but amplified in a small space, and with everyone talking over the music, it was awful. When David came in, we asked if he thought Juanita would mind moving outside. David thought it was too loud, too, so we went outside.
The tables and chairs outside are set on dirt covered up by pine bark. James sat down in a chair and immediately started toppling backward as the thin legs of the chair sank into the dirt. David and I had to rescue him, and he found a different chair and took a different place. About then Juanita walked up from having parked the car, and we explained about the music. Of course then we had to smell cigarette smoke, but at that point it seemed the lesser of two evils.
Juanita has lots of health problems, including a penicillin allergy, a cheese allergy, and a shrimp allergy. The latter is so bad that she can't even eat fish fried in the same oil that shrimp has been fried in. But the waitress told us that they did not serve shrimp. Juanita also has some other health problems and had bariatric surgery some years ago. She cannot eat dry foods (like crackers or chicken breast) because it makes her throat seize up and causes a lot of pain. So when she ordered the fish, she told the waitress the only way she could eat it was if it was moist. The waitress assured her they could cook it that way. She was also asked not to include the tartar sauce as Juanita is allergic. The place was very expensive, so James and I split a ribeye and had salads for our two sides and David had a hamburger.
Well, when Juanita's fish came, it was cooked in a very thick sauce and inside the fish was dry as paper. Plus the tartar sauce had been included in a cup and had spilled over the second piece of fish. Juanita called the waitress back and said she was sorry, but the fish that she could eat was too dry, not moist as promised, and that the other piece had tartar sauce all over it. The waitress said she would get her a new batch. James had had some mushrooms as appetizers, with a very light beer-batter coating instead of the dry cornmeal coating, and Juanita asked if when they made her a new batch, could they fry it in the beer-batter instead? The waitress went off for fifteen minutes, then came back with Juanita's cold plate and said if they did her a new batch like that she would have to pay for it again! Can you beat that? We had to talk to the manager and they finally gave her a new fish dish with the fish fried in the beer batter, and it was indeed moist instead of dry and Juanita said it was good, but it was too much work to go through, especially since the food was so expensive.
This place also reminded me why I don't like bars. The restaurant and the surrounding buildings are in a pretty area with paths and metal sculptures and grass and flowers. When we had been there yesterday we noticed two domestic rabbits hopping around, apparently "free range," a black-and-white one and a black one (I swear I'd seen a white one earlier, too, but didn't see it now). Well, while we were eating, the two different bunnies came out to graze; they disappeared when some little kids chased them, but returned and we were enjoying watching them.
The people at the table behind us were frankly getting flat drunk. So when the bunnies came back out, a woman screeched "Oh, look at the rabbits!" and honest to God got up and tried to chase them, in a pencil skirt and high heels. She kicked off the shoes and went staggering after the black rabbit, and of course he hightailed it out of there. She then came wobbling back and was so tipsy she could hardly get back into her shoes. When someone teased her about the shoes, she shouted back than she "had blood on them from beating her husband." (Once back at the table, she admitted loudly that it wasn't true, she wasn't even married.) Mind-boggling. Why people want to get drunk and do stupid things are beyond me.
So by the time we finished eating it was full dark. David and Juanita walked to get the car, and we walked as far as James could go to meet them at the street. Well, the black rabbit had come back and stood there about 10 feet from us, just eating and swiveling his ears back and forth as I talked to him. A few minutes later a guy just walked four feet past him and he didn't turn an ear. He's just put off by drunks. Me, too.
So games were in full swing when we got back to the hotel. I watched them play a game called Anomia, where people who pull a card with the same symbol have to think of an answer before the other person does. That looked like fun. Then I joined in when they played something called Karma. There's a passing resemblance to Uno. And, then, of course, we played a couple of games of Uno! Always fun. I love Uno!
The "kids" wanted to play Betrayal, so we cleared the table for them. James was reading on his baby laptop trying to find a certain model from a model show to show to John Campbell, and I sat next to him and worked on a cross-stitch while watching Oreta, Ron, Lin, Shannon, and Phyllis play a card game called "Once Upon a Time," which seemed to be about making up a fairy tale. Shannon was also working on a beading project. Some folks were still coloring and Bill and Damian were talking politics (Damian has served in Afghanistan, so knows the politics of the military a little better than the rest of us).
The Betrayal game broke up about midnight when the gamers found a flaw in the scenario they were running, the fairy tale ended, and people wandered off to bed. We weren't the last folks out the door, but it was close. 😊