Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Give a Man a Fish, Teach a Man to Fish, or a Man Buys a Fish?

Economics, Life Is Good

My wife gives me a lot of rope. 


Some might suggest enough to hang myself.  That’s just one of the many things I love about my wife.  No.  Not the hanging part.  The long rope part.  For instance, we both get to do something this weekend that we like - but not together. 


I get the entire weekend with my Girlfriend.  All by ourselves.  Can any of the rest of you guys say the same for your wife? 


Yes.  Just me and the dog.


We had a pretty busy day today.  I topped it off by going into town for a fish fry.


My destination is the local café/watering hole; and the joint is hopping.


I find a comfortable bar stool and Meghan greets me as she hustles past.


You’re all by yourself tonight?


Yep, me and the dog.


One or two olives?




She brings my drink and her pad.




Sure, and German potato salad.


She sashays away.  There is something to be said for being a regular customer.  Your refreshing adult beverage and dinner materialize with maximum efficiency.


Funny, I can still remember some of my regulars from my Tosa bartending days.  There was Howard who dressed well and drove a white Cadillac.  He tipped generously and was always a flirt with the girls.  He drank a whiskey old fashioned.  And there was Polly.  I will save that story for another time.


Anyway, the local small town café is doing a brisk business.  All the tables are occupied and the phone is ringing-off the hook with people calling-in to place their carryout orders.


My neighbor Erv comes through the door to pick-up his carry-out.


Hey, Tom.  What are you doing all by yourself?


What does it look like I’m doing?  I’m having a drink and fish.  It’s just me and the dog for the next few days.


He gives me a wave, a smile, a wink and turns to leave with his carry-out. 


Erv’s grandpa owned our farm at the turn of the century.  Erv and his wife, Mildred are good people to know and include in your circle of friends.   She is on the town board. My other neighbor is the town treasurer.   In Tosa that would be the equivalent of being a close personal friend of the assessor, treasurer, city clerk, public works director, two-thirds of the Council and the Mayor. 


Fat chance of that ever happening here.   




So what’s with all this activity?   Meghan is the only server tonight, the place is packed and she’s scurrying-about like a dervish.


Haven’t all these people had their 401ks vaporize?  Don’t they know there’s an official recession happening?  What could explain all the smiling faces and jovial conversation? 


This is...


Gasp!  An unrestrained and spontaneous demonstration of commerce- one fish fry and one cocktail at a time.    


It must be the Lenten Effect. 


I’m beginning to wonder if I have stumbled upon a previously undiscovered economic phenomenon.  I will announce it to the financial world, command a book deal and retire with wealth on the order of that Joe the Plumber guy. I’ll probably have to pay more in taxes but I’ll get over it.  I’ll just write a sequel book about how Congress wants to pick my pocket and grow richer.  Not them, me.


 My notions of wealthy grandeur are shattered as Meghan interrupts my reverie.


Need a box?


Uh, sure.  Small one.  This will be lunch tomorrow.


Then it occurs to me.  The Friday fish fry is one of life’s last true pleasures.  It is something we’ll cling to no matter our circumstances.  If people ever stop going out to the local tavern, restaurant or their church for Friday fish, that will spell the end of times.  Metaphorically, our financial goose will have been cooked and fed to the ravens.


I head home with a vision of curling-up by the fire with a book and my thoroughly pooped dog.


I am reminded of another simple pleasure.


Seems a couple of really awesome, hand rolled, premium Dominican cigars grown of Cuban seed have come into my possession recently.


Maybe sometime this weekend I am going to allow myself another of life’s few decadent pleasures.


I’ll sit on the porch soaking-up the late afternoon spring sunshine.  I might have a whiskey.  Neat.  I’ll fantasize about spring turkey hunting and planting my garden.  Girlfriend will be at my feet looking at me with her intelligent brown eyes. 


 And I just might smoke one of those cigars. 


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