Dining with Dad
Dad is an old timer who eats nearly every meal at a restaurant. He lives in Ocala Florida where he has for a long time. He has eaten at every establishment there and can tell you the history of each. He knows the waitresses, the owners, the managers, and sometimes even the cooks. Because I don’t visit often, he threw me a zinger, “This is my family.”
Well, that’s fine. I adopt people from my community to into “my family” so to speak.
While Dad’s favorite restaurant is Bob Evan’s, an Ohio-based franchise, he has another spot where he likes to go and I can detect the reasons why.
By comparison, Bob Evan’s is a clean and very well managed restaurant where there is variety that assures the opportunity to have fresh fruits and vegetables, for instance. For people who have to watch their diet, one can bank on Bob’s to find a healthy meal.
We especially like breakfast at Bob’s as that is where you would find us every day sitting with friends who have the same habit.
“I’ll order the light breakfast with a fruit cup, but replace the grapes with melon, please,” is one of Dad’s standing options. Or, “I’ll order mush with two strips of bacon, and I would like the mush crisp.”
Any number of waitresses’ clamor to take care of him and he likes that attention just fine. All through the breakfast there is waving and people stopping by to say hello.
Then, there is “the other place,” that is Aunt Fannies.
“Aunt Fannies,’ Dad says, ‘it’s like that old restaurant in Cardington, Ohio (his birthplace). I know what he means as it is a farm town establishment filled with lots of working people and farmers, and their families, all wanting a home-cooked meal that is also a real deal.
One peculiar thing here is the waitresses bring to each person one very large glass of water accompanied by a second smaller glass of water. Why? I haven’t a clue. I asked, did someone once choke to death here?
Right off the bat, I can tell you that 80% of the menu is fried. This is not a place that will make you healthy. In fact, look around, and you will see the big slice of Americana that is grossly overweight.
The waitresses bless them, could all be professor-level staff at the University of Waitressorous. They have personalities ranging from sagging, smirking, and sulking, to rye and rustic. (Are those personality types?)
Anyway, you have to approach a place like this with the attitude, “Hey, I am going to have something that I really like, the chances are I will not get it at home or anywhere else.” Then, you scroll down the four-page hand written Xeroxed menu for selections. Sure, there is a four-color menu, but no one orders from that.
Here goes: Fried green tomatoes, French fried ochre, Fried catfish, Fried grouper fingers, Liver and onions, Beef tips and noodles, Stuffed bell pepper, Chicken parmesan, etc.
And, all are served with three sides, and there is a list of a dozen sides, i.e., carrots, green beans, beets, cabbage, peas, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, cold slaw, French fries and on and on.
Of course there is a range of dessert, including tapioca pudding, but we’ll pass on that because Aunt Margie has already supplied us with two pies and a cake.
Now, I have to read the Ocala Star Banner.
“Trial begins for woman accused of illegal gambling cafe
By Suevon Lee
Published: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 11:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 11:46 p.m.
A Marion County woman is on trial this week for operating an Internet cafe in Summerfield that local law enforcement allege was actually an illegal gambling house.
Jeaneen Crisante is the second person to be brought to trial here on charges of keeping a gambling house, promoting a lottery for money and possessing coin-operated devices.
Crisante, 45, owned and managed Marion Internet Services Inc. on U.S. 441, a cafe that offered printing, copying and faxing services, and sold phone cards that came with free entries to play sweepstakes games on computer terminals. Those games yielded cash prizes.
Local authorities claim those terminals are no different from slot machines and therefore, a method of gambling, which is subject to strict state regulation.”