DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Saturday, March 11, 2017.
What A Day!

The older I get, the more I dislike calendars jammed with activities. Today’s was unusually busy. It began with breakfast with Mary Ann, who came up with a scheme for the rest of the day. I would leave my car in downtown Covington and return home with her to find my green jacket and green tie. At noon, she would drop me off in front of the Taproom, one of the social centers of Covington. There the streets were closed for a small, short St. Patrick’s parade from the Taproom to Jewel’s Cigar Shop.

I am the Grand Marshall of the parade, an honor bestowed on me two years ago, when it rained so hard that the parade was called off. It rained the following year too, but the organizers asked me to hold my post until we finally got the parade rolling this year. As if to make good, the weather was perfect today. Temperatures in the eighties, under blue skies.

I rode through Covington in the back of a Jaguar, waving at people, asking whether they knew any places to eat around there. But the most pleasant act of the crowd was in shouting “Happy New Year!” to me. For at least two decades, that mutual salutation has been one of the curiosities of my radio show. The only way a person could know that is to have been listening to the program for a long time.

A half-dozen bagpipers were in the parade. I told them the only joke I’ve heard about bagpiping. (The definition of “gentleman” is “a man who plays the bagpipes, but doesn’t.”) But they had another humorism. Q: “What’s the difference between bagpipes and a lawn mower? A:”You can tune a lawnmower if you need to.”

My participation ended at Jewel’s, where I was asked to give a short speech, after the one from the mayor of Covington.

But what about the car I left there? It was close by and easily visible, so I wouldn’t get lost, as I have in the past at the end of the Chef’s Soiree and other events. I made my grocery and dry cleaning stops, and returned home to air a two-hour radio show.

An hour’s walk. A nap. Then I drove across the lake to give a talk with a group of retired, emeritus doctors, who were having a meeting in town. This is the third time I have spoken to these men. But there had been enough time between them that I could tell my trilogy of jokes concerning soups du jour once again. I’ve told these three anecdotes (I saw them all play out in real life) for the last thirty years. Perhaps forty. But what’s this? One of the doctors was here five years ago, and he remembered the trilogy. I thought I was safe without revising them. Uh-oh.

The dinner was scheduled to have been at Tomas Bistro. I showed up a bit early, but nobody at Tomas knew about any meeting. They checked at Tomas’s sister restaurant across the street, Tommy’s Cuisine. Another blank reply. I began feeling like an idiot for not knowing the right address, and I was relieved to know that it had not been my doing. It turned out that the meeting had been moved from one parlor at Tommy’s to another one in an adjacent building.
We had an okay dinner, then I held forth on the importance of eating in our part of the world. We talked about restaurants for an hour, and went our ways. I couldn’t wait to get home to let the pressure go down (Literally and figuratively.)

What a day!

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