I first posted this story on March 15, 2012… I thought it would be fun to bring back for St. Pat’s Day 2016… it was one of my first attempts at writing a Haiku…
Quill Shiv has a new Haiku writing prompt… A photo of Saint Patrick.
Corned Beef and Cabbage Tacos… In 1986, back in my Restaurant Days, I went to work for Jerry Franco. Jerry was a bit of a culinary impresario on the Sacramento restaurant scene. He had just reopened the Town House on 21st Street, down the block from The Sacramento Bee newspaper. The Town House had been a Mexican Food tradition and had been sitting empty for a few years after the owner retired. Franco had opened in a blaze of glory, courting the news hounds and the denizens of California State Government. Having just left a job managing The Fabulous Fifties Cafe, I was ready to mingle with and serve adults. So I went to work for Jerry as a waiter/bartender/manager.
It was a fun place to work, and we did some crazy promotions to try to make the Town House a success. Big lunch business, big after-work bar business. He kept a few Mexican items on the menu, along with the ‘Upscale Designer’ dishes he came up with. Each Happy Hour, we featured a Taco Bar, where the patrons could make their own tacos, to wash down with their Martinis and G & T’s. For me, that taco bar was a pain in the ass, since I had to leave the bar and run back to the kitchen to replenish the supplies. But the tips were pretty good as long as the food held out.
The challenge this week… Buildings and Trees. I remembered this photo I took on Oahu when I helped my son-in-law Declan with a building project four years ago in Kailua. This is what I wrote at the time when I originally posted the photo.
“Driving into Honolulu on the Pali Highway, we would see the top of this building peeking out of the trees…stopped twice to take photos, finally knew we had to find it, and see what it was. Located in Nu’uanu Memorial Gardens, a Japanese cemetery, the pagoda was constructed in 1966… an exact replica of the Sanju Pagoda in Nara, Japan, built in the late 1500’s. It is currently undergoing restoration, and was a beautiful sight on a rainy Hawaiian morning.”
Next to the Pagoda was the cemetery… perhaps this photo would qualify in a way… kind of little buildings, I guess.
If you want to share your photos… See Cee.
DIVING by Ula Grace
As we put on our bulky Scuba gear I smile in anticipation of the underwater trip we are about to take. I haven’t been diving in a couple of years so I’m a little nervous. But as soon as we get in the water that all goes away, and I immerse myself in the beauty and mystery of the ocean we are part, if only for a short time. We swim deeper and deeper toward our destination: a sunken ship. I am so enthralled by the fish that I fail to notice the huge shadow in front us until it looms up ahead recognizable as a boat. We swim over it. It is it’s own whole habitat, separate yet in union with the ocean. There is all kinds of coral and underwater plants growing on the hull and deck, and along the railing of the ship. Fish are everywhere, miniature purple ones swimming in schools, and large ones swimming solo. It makes me sad to leave this underwater paradise.
This installment in Ula’s Cuba Stories takes place in Playa Girón.
To read other stories… THE CUBAN DIARY
Photography for this story courtesy of Steven Gutmann
A RIDE AROUND THE CITY… by Ula Grace
The wind rushes through my hair as if in a hurry. We breeze down the ocean side highway in our neon pink Caddy at the start of our tour of Havana.
Our first stop is the Hotel Nacional, a hotel built in the 30’s and famous for housing people like Al Capone and others. We speed toward our next destination: Vedado. On the opposite side of Havana as Old Havana, otherwise known as Habana Viejo in Spanish. Next the Plaza de la Revolucion, with the black outlines of Cuba’s greatest now dead heroes: Ché Guevara and Camlio Cienfuegos. Below Ché there is his famous quote “Hasta la Victoria Siempre” (in English “For Victory, Always”).
We leave the plaza and drive onward. My favorite place is next: The John Lennon Park. I had been waiting to go here throughout the whole drive. We arrive at the park to find dry, scraggly, yellow grass and burning bronze benches, one of which a bronze statue is lounging with the words “Ustede puede decir que soy soñador pero no soy el único” (in English “You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one”). I rush out of the car to sit next to my Idol for a picture, but I have to sit on my bag because the bench is too hot. As we reach the bench we are met by an old man holding a pair of eyeglasses for the bronze John. He carefully places the glasses on the statue and waits for us to finish taking pictures. As we walk back to the car, I look back and smile to see how carefully the little old glasses man handles the little bronze glasses.
We go next to a lush green park and stop for a beverage. When we leave I decide to sit on the back of the seat and my auntie Krissy sits up with me. We ride like that to our next stop: a green house that my mom specially requested to see. But we couldn’t go inside. To end our tour, our guide took us through a tunnel under the ocean to a castle. All in all it was a fantastic tour in a ridiculous car and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Another installment from our Foreign Correspondent, Ula Grace, as she recalls her visit to Cuba with her parents Krista and Steve.
To see other stories… THE CUBAN DIARY
I was honored to be a contributor to Katherine’s fascinating blog. I hope my friends will take a look and enjoy her work. If you have any old strips around, think about sharing them with her… and the world. Now I have to figure out how to tell Cheryl I did this… but judging by the first comments, I don’t think she will mind.
I thought I would share this reblog with my friends at The Still, to introduce them to a most interesting blog by a friend Down Under… perhaps you too would like to share with her… check out her blog, and start digging through those old forgotten treasures and share them with Katherine at Photobooth Journal
p.s. I have heard from Cheryl… she remembered the Rainbow Club and didn’t mind at all…
One of the more exciting, and for me, unexpected aspects of being a blogger is the amount of enthusisam and generosity that comes to my inbox out of the blue and from all around the world. I have recently started following a blog by Ted Strutz of Friday Harbor, Wasington State in the San Juan Islands, USA. The blog is called TedBook and has some very amusing conversational short stories that I encourage you to check out. Ted emailed me the above photos and the following history a couple of days ago –
When I lived in Chicago in the 80’s and early 90’s, there was a bar called the Rainbow Room. It was quite large with a big horseshoe shaped bar, booths, tables and a stage, maybe a dance floor. They played 33 LPs on a phonograph. Kind of an artsy place. There was a photo booth as well…
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To start off the 2014… my first blog post on WordPress… and an entry in a new writing group for me…’ yeah write’!
When I was 15 my father thought it would be a great idea if I worked on a cattle ranch hauling hay… to teach me the lesson of why I should go to college. Well, I did go to college but not because hauling hay was hard work. (which it was) So, in 1958 I spent 4 glorious weeks on a cattle ranch in Modoc County near the town of Adin. Our family spent a few weeks each summer at our friends ranch… and I got an extended stay. The rancher’s wife took me to town in Alturas, and I got fitted with boots, jeans and a cowboy hat! It was Farmer’s Boot Camp for sure… they treated me as an adult and expected me to work. I learned how to do, and did, everything re: haying. I straightened and raked furrows, repaired broken bales, moved bales into rows, rode…
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I got a notice that someone named caroljforrester had ‘liked’ a story called Displaced that I had written. Her name sounded familiar, but my story did not, so I had to go back and look. It is one I really liked, because it was about when I lived in Chicago… I should write about that time, I wish I had taken more photos then. This story recalls when we would close down the bar and go out for something to eat at 3 a.m. I thought I would bring it back into the light of day.
This was the first post for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, after she took over the helm of the Friday Fictioneers writing group. When I saw the photo I thought “What the Hell?” Then I thought deeper and the prompting process took over… funny how that happens. I hope you enjoy reading Displaced. Here is a link to Friday Fictioneers… see what they are up to now.
Last week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt first ran in October 2012 when Rochelle took over prompting 100 Word Flash Fiction writers around the world. I remembered the photo but not what story I had written, so I went back to see and read again. It is one of my favorite stories, nice to see it again. It was fun to see who liked and commented on my story, many still FF writers. I know R W-F won’t be happy I’m posting it this week when there is a new prompt photo, I’ll risk it.
Thank you, Rochelle, for hosting these many years. Ted
It’s been three months now. The shakes have gotten worse. Chef dropped the plate off at the counter, and plodded back to the grill. 3 a.m., liver and onions, bacon and eggs, whores and drunks. Oh well, life at the Huddle House in Chicago.
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SUMMER IS… in 33 words
Summer is ‘The Mill’! Music in the air… everywhere. There are violins, guitars, flutes, harps, accordions, drums of all kinds, harmonicas, banjos, cellos, tambourines, horns, pianos, squeeze-boxes, cymbals, lots of singing and dancing!
The instructions for the Trifextra Writing Challenge this week were… “This weekend we’re asking you to describe summer in your own words. Thirty-three of them exactly, of course. Good luck!”
Each summer high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, somewhere near Yosemite, about 500 souls gather for a conclave of The Sierra Music and Arts Institute… more commonly known as Sweet’s Mill. The old timers just call it The Mill. For 60 years now, on the site of an old sawmill, a music and arts retreat takes place in the form of a giant campout. Musicians from around the world come together to share their knowledge and talents with others, and just plain perform. Artists gather to demonstrate their skills and teach others. There’s also drama taught, with two plays being produced. Do you want to learn how to belly dance, flamenco, tango or swing? Classes for that. At night on different stages, there are performances to show off new-found skills, and for old friends to get together and jam. And, lots of dancing!
I help out in the Arts Area. I don’t play a musical instrument, but I write stories and take thousands of photos. Here are two from last year. The photo of the young man playing the steel guitar got me a ‘Best of Show’ ribbon at our county fair, in its category. He was sitting at a table near the main stage practicing or maybe just playing… there’s a lot of that going on. It made a great still-life photo.
But my favorite photo of all, is this one of a woman playing the violin. For me, the story makes the photo, and I’ll tell how I came to take this one. I had gone up to the Flamenco Camp, because I had never been there. The Mill is over 200 acres, with different interest groups banding together in camps. There’s Gypsy Camp, Flamenco, Cowboy, Meditation Meadow, Old Timey, Bluegrass and on and on. There are still some I have to discover. So, one day I went up to the Flamenco Camp and watched a maestro teach a group of children the fine points to playing a flamenco guitar. Some women practiced dance to the music on a small stage they had made. As I was leaving, I heard the most beautifully haunting violin music. I went toward some tents expecting to see the violinist, but nothing. I followed the music up a hill through increasingly heavy brush, and finally in a small clearing I found a young woman playing a violin. I snuck a photo and listened to her play. She finally stopped, saw me and shyly smiled. I asked if I could take her photo, and she beamed and posed for me. They are nice photos of her facing me, but I like the first one I took best. So, that’s kind of two faces of The Mill. I’m leaving in two weeks… I can’t wait.
Here’s one I wrote for Trifecta that I liked… I had a great time last summer listening to music and enjoying the creative camaraderie in our camp… and of course got some great photo. There will be no music at the ‘Mill’ this year due to the lack of rainfall in California.