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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Be Prepared to Walk!

It’s called Drive-Thru BBQ, and today from 5-8 p.m. is the open house, with Saturday the first day of regular business--but out-of-towners, beware!!! It’s only called “Drive-Thru.” You can’t really. There is no driveway and no take-out window! You have to park on the street or in a parking lot (across the street or down by the harbor), walk up and go inside to place your order. (Hint: Park down by the harbor, walk up to get your ribs or chicken or pulled pork or whatever, and walk back down with your take-out meal to enjoy it by the water. That’s what I’d do if I were visiting Northport for the day. Of course, if you have a big group and are ordering lots of food you may just want to settle in at the on-site picnic tables on Waukazoo Street.) So why’s it called Drive-Thru? Well, that’s restaurateur Bruce Viger’s story to tell. I’ll simply predict that everyone will be happy with the lunch and dinner options to be offered this season by Bruce and grill-master George Twine. Still having a problem with the name? Remember, people, this is Northport, home of the dog parade, famous for a light-hearted, fun-loving take on life.

David stayed at the bookstore with Sarah while I walked up Nagonaba Street late this morning to Bethany Lutheran Church, where the church ladies were hosting their annual salad luncheon. One of the first to arrive, I got there in time to see all the salad bowls and plates piled high and beautiful and to have first pick of everything for my take-out lunch. I was so excited by the food, in fact, and so hungry that I almost left without taking a picture and had to backtrack to get this one.

And now I’m looking at two different books, wondering which one to open and start reading while waiting for the UPS truck to bring my latest order. When that box arrives, there won’t be any question of what to read, as it should contain Doug Stanton’s new book, Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan.

In my dreams last night, I was back at Western Michigan University. This time as an instructor rather than a student, I was on the bottom rung of the faculty and not surprised to be given a very basic office--not much more than bare walls, a desk and a chair. After making myself at comfortable in this office as possible, I went out to do errands and returned to find a man had taken possession of my desk, leaving me no place for me to sit except on a milk crate by the side of the desk! I felt like a dog! He then told me I had to give exams the very next class period. I had not written my exams yet. “And no essay questions,” he added. “But I always give essay questions! I want my students to think!” I protested. Changing the subject, he asked me what books I’d been reading lately, and I couldn’t remember any of the titles. Back in my car, I picked up one of the books I thought I’d finished to see what it was called and realized I was only halfway through it. Just then, behind the building, a huge cruise ship pulled up at a dock. Go figure! Unaccountably, it appeared that WMU was now on the shore of Lake Michigan instead of a hundred miles inland. The ship had come from Mackinac Island (which was also in Lake Michigan, just offshore), and some faculty who were also summer shopkeepers disembarked, all excited about merchandise they’d been able to get for free from gift shops on the island from shopkeepers there turning over their inventory for the season. I was dubious, as the jewelry all looked like last year’s fads, nothing anyone would want to buy this year.

In the wake of that dream, I feel fortunate to be a bookseller and not a hawker of costume jewelry. I’m also happy not to have to write any “objective” philosophy exam questions today.


Anonymous said...

"Drive-thru" bbq sounds like a great addition to Northport's quirk quotient. The salad luncheon sounds like it was great, as always. And the dream, wow!

P. J. Grath said...

It was certainly the place to be for eating today. And yeah, the dream was all over the map.

Dawn Parker said...

I think we chatted with Mr. Twine at the bar at Stubbs when we were up earlier this month. Big guy, Boston accent? Looking forward to sampling his wares over the 4th.

On another note, it was awfully nice to relax in one of your comfy chairs and talk! Hope all is well.

P. J. Grath said...

Yes, Dawn, look at the May 13 post for pictures of George and Bruce.

It was good to have you visit, too! Fun to have the season getting underway and see people in town again!