I've long felt it important to have fun at what you do, at least to the extent that such is possible. We have a few summers on Ha Ray's tobacco farm that I'll stack against anything you have and raise you two episodes of MASH. How else might you explain remembering working long days in the top of a 145-degree barn and still be able to manage, not just a smile, but a huge grin with a tidal wave of stories that'll be a kegger in the telling.
Of course, not all my appointments have been so good, and frankly, some have been better than others. I like to think of those less well remembered appointments as developmental opportunities, and I believe you'll understand if I don't list them here, especially since the management, if not the restraining orders, still live.
Nonetheless, there was the one during my first couple of years in Academic Computing at the University of North Carolina, the school in Greensboro, the school they once called the Normal College as you might recall, where a fine group of people came together for a very short time under a management structure with the self-confidence to tolerate a little fuzz around the edges. Bear in mind that I was not one of those fine people, but they did let me go to lunch with them.
Theodore Hildebrandt was the boss, and a fine man was he. He called computer disk drives “rotating media.” Why? Because he was there when they were created. His group figured how to record data to magnetic tape and do so without recording the local radio station. I can hear him bellowing “Neufeld!” as though he were again steaming mad in the chair next to me.
Think Bowling for Bimbos. Endless games of Dungeons and Dragons. Swimming around sucking the moss of rocks. Inspecting condemned houses. Not bringing Yum Yum hotdogs back to work. Salad sammiches. Olive breaks. The Book of Salt. Weekends with Monique. And one difficult Pegasus.
So I wake up this morning after a dream about dead people, some of whom were real at one time, in which the dead people were far more annoying than scary, and started a pot of coffee. Yes, at 2:30 AM. To attend to the reality of rising before many people go to bed, a group that included myself not so very long ago, I opened Facebook to see what I missed during the previous five hours. So what did I miss? Very little. It's Facebook, remember?
Well, except for one private message from an ex-colleague in that UNCG group, she being the gal who could actually ride the Pegasus, and this message made the early wake up worth the trouble. It turns out that life and reality in Richmond had conspired to make her forget my birthday, which she had admitted this in a previous note. Given her world, I'm more surprised that she remembers me at all. What follows here is a description of her JPBBCD (Jim Penny Belated Birthday Celebration Day). Careful: This is not for the weak of heart.
Note: I have changed the names to B and D, mostly because the federal warrants are still valid.
The unretouched Facebook message starts here. Well, I spaced a little after the copy-and-paste, and I suspect OpenOffice did something while I wasn't looking, but everything else is original, lest I be held guilty of Blaspheme. You were warned.
The rules for the day in order to properly celebrate YOU were:
1)no behaving allowed.
2)no vegetables allowed. (I was willing to permit chives if they arrived on the loaded potato skins.. but someone must have given a list of the rules to the kitchen as there was not a speck of green anywhere in sight)
3)the required basic food groups a)very hot grease, b)bacon, c)cheese, d)salt were all amply met
4)fiber for the day was provided by a FiberOne chocolate/caramel/oat bar - it gave an ever so slight nod to behaving but is tastey enough to not really count and we did have to prepare a little for what we knew was coming later.
5)vitamin C for the day was provided by the 1st official Jim Penny Celebration item of the day - a hand squoze lime aid made by a lovely, dear girl named Kat (mobile munchies cart and their site is www.ruffbong.com- seriously - although Jahn the hippie guy who makes the wraps maintains the site I think. The text sounds just like he talks. Kat is his gal - she's great. You'd like her nose ring. She always remembers my name and how I like my lime aids) Kat makes the best Limeaids you ever slurped up a straw. Some days I make it a double - but the cup is about a half gallon cup - seriously. By the time I considered a rematch, it was 4 pm and the cart leaves around 3:30. But the limeaide was a glorious start to JPBBCD.
6)Dinner with B to help me celebrate at O'Charley's. We saved you a seat. We started with Loaded Potato Skins - crispy as advertised. Lots of melted cheddar and real bacon cooked just like you like it. Sour cream for dipping and we got a second cup of it because the first tiny cup was NOT enough for the three of us.
7)the rolls were perfect and took their major role in the celebration seriously. They did not disappoint. They were HOT and BUTTERY yeast rolls and UNSLICEABLE - exactly as advertised. Even when we asked for 2nds and 3rds.. the 3rds came home with us... I think.. or were those fourths.. no one was counting as behaving was not allowed.
8)B was behaving slightly. Well he is the former cardiac surgery patient - so i didn't force him to follow the rules - the rules were really for me.. so he had Baja Chicken - you know with the black beans and rice and cripsy tortilla strips. He did help us with the potato skins (and the rolls) so half of the chicken came home with us. No picture as Baja chicken while tasty - doesn't really stand scrutiny when it first arrives. Maybe the blackness of the beans? and certainly not after migrating to the take home container. I hope I didn't hurt it's feelings by not taking a picture.. but I'm sure you will appreciate it's absence. Day 2 of the celebration will continue with that for Mister B tomorrow.
9)D couldn't find ranger chili OR ranger cookies on the menu - so the next best choice seemed to be the Ranch Hand burger.. with the cheddar and apple smoked bacon that they always cook just right - and the bun toasted just right. I skipped the barbeque sauce it normally comes with as I didn't want to risk my right cheek (face cheek, you goof!) swelling up again as it does when that pesky salivary gland blocks up - often from barbeque sauce. So sad. Amusing for you - painful for me. You'll just have to see it another time. Not tonight - tonight was for celebrating! The pickle slices were good but you know we always eat them separately anyway since they are better that way. Bread and butter pickles I do believe not quite as good as Mama used to make - but a close second.
10)the fries (yes I know more potatoes - but NO BEHAVING!!) were perfection. Hot, crispy, lightly seasoned. You know good fries are rare enough that they must be eaten. Good fries never reheat to be anything other than very, very sad and forlorn having missed their purpose in life. So these fries were consumed with a bit of ketchup and their destiny was fulfilled. They were happy. We were too.
11)The burger looked really really good - but you know it will heat up fine at home and it really needed some Duke's mayo and I didn't think they'd have it at O'Charleys. I know I have it at home and the fries had already made me promise the burger would go home and the fries WOULD fulfill their destiny. But we sliced a quarter of the burger off and ate it just to prove it was perfection also. It was. The applewood smoked bacon was exactly the way we like it. So good I even ate another slice by itself - still leaving 2 whole slices on the burger for tomorrow's phase 3 of celebration!!
12)B was full but will have breakfast as his next phase of the celebration as they brought him 4 cinnamon sugar coated doughnuts - WARM - with cream cheese icing to take home.. I tried to talk him into sampling them because THEY WERE STILL WARM!!! he doesn't understand about food and it's destiny.. probably because he doesn't cook. But he would not be swayed. I was tempted to try a bite - they smelled so good - but I too was FULL and they WERE his doughnuts and his breakfast - and supposedly his blood sugar is behaving again but my guess is he will not pick tomorrow to test it... Good thing he sees the cardiologist Wednesday and not the Nurse Practitioner who probably will materialize in front of him tomorrow as he eats those donuts to smack him about the head and shoulders. I'll know when I see the bruises later.
13)The piece de resistance - the dessert - The best ever dessert. I explained we were celebrating our friend who was afar off but needed a dessert worthy of a special birthday. I am pretty sure I even mentioned that said friend is likely the best southern writer of our time. Erica did her part. She decorated and festooned the Carmel Pie perfectly with whipped cream, tiny delicious chocolate morsels and many many of our favorite pecans (pronounced exactly as they should be). Not sure my phone camera does it justice and I didn't take pictures on the festive plates but in the to go boxes... but I assure you it is delicious.
Looks like I can't put a picture on this message because of the link - but I suspect I'm pushing all sorts of limits so we'll see if this sends.
Try not to go into a sugar/fat/cholestrol coma just reading this. You are worth the indulgence. Jim Penny day only comes around once a year and only lasts two... three... seven days at the most.. so ENJOY! We are!! :) Love ya! *HUGS*