Thursday, December 16, 2010

We Will Not Be Snow WImps

Early in the week, my friend Danny and I had made plans to have lunch and an outing today. By yesterday, the forecast was sounding a bit ominous, so I sent him an email letting him know that we were still on regardless of whether or not the sky fell. Of the same mind, he agreed.

But the weather wasn't making it easy. We got to our lunch destination only to find it closed for the day, the note on the door not even explaining why. Okay, fine. There are plenty of other restaurants in this town, so we instead went to Louisiana Flair, where the glowing "open" sign was like a beacon in the falling sleet and snow.

We were barely inside the restaurant before being enthusiastically welcomed by our server-to-be, who asked what we wanted to drink. At that moment, Danny remembered he hadn't fed the meter. We didn't know if the parking nazis worked on a day like this, but why take the risk?

Before he left to take care of that, he asked for coffee and our server graciously said he'd put a fresh pot on while Danny was taking care of business. Since it was going on 2:00 by then, I insisted he order before going outside.

That turned out to be the easy part. We glanced at the Daily Specials menu: smothered pork chop or meat loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and roll. I said I'd be getting the chop, so he wanted the meatloaf. Done.

By the time Danny returned unsuccessfully ("The meter's frozen!"), our server was placing our plates on the table and telling us, "You just made it in time. We were about to close." Wouldn't that have been tragic?

My large bone-in chop was lost under all that gravy goodness, but I managed to get every scrap of meat off the bone without ever really being able to see it. Danny shared a bite or two of his meatloaf and we agreed it was seasoned just right; Mom would approve. And my grandmother would have also given her blessing to the long-cooked pork-seasoned string beans. A perfect meal for a snowy day.

As we drove to our next destination, a church, Danny warned me that they'd probably be closed, too. Closed? Aren't they supposed to be open and available for sanctuary and solace at all times? Besides the website said they were open daily until 4:00.

Except, apparently, when it snows. The pink sign on the door said they were closed for snow. I could make a wimpy Episcopalian joke here, but I'll refrain.

Once back in the car, Danny said that we should have had a Plan B. True that, so we put on our thinking caps. He suggested the main library for their current art show, and with nothing else immediately coming to mind, I was more than happy to agree.

"Evolution of City Art" turned out to be paintings by RVA artists influenced by graffiti; the interesting part was the many directions the artists had taken from graffiti to their current works. We saw skateboard decks, what looked like a death mask and a detailed schematic called "Stereo," among other things.

My favorites were a couple of large-scale, intricate pen drawings overlaid with calligraphy. The contrast in the delicacy of the drawing and the wide brushstrokes of the calligraphy was truly beautiful. Sadly, they were also NFS, not that I should be thinking of buying art.

In the spirit of the season, it's book giveaway week at the library, so we couldn't resist stopping at the shelves on the way out and scoring a few freebies (the limit is one grocery bag, fyi).

My non-fiction nerdy side couldn't resist Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick and The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, a mere 1100 pages between the two of them. Both will make great beach reads.

Danny handed me a slim, tattered volume called Hiroshima by John Hersey, the story of six people who survived the atom bomb. The book is the text of the report to which The New Yorker devoted its entire issue of August 31, 1946. I couldn't resist bringing it home, difficult as I know it will be to read.

You see my point? Snow wimps would have missed out on smothered chops, urban art and free books.

Not this chick.

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