Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friday Night Dee-Lights

When I was a kid, back in the 1860s, my parents, June and Ward Cleaver Teh 'Mom and Teh 'Dad, would go out to dinner every Friday night. Teh 'Mom was a school teacher in the Philadelphia public school system, and her Friday routine was to do the weekly grocery shopping for the family (consisting of the 'rents and us seven kids1) right after work; and so on Fridays she would get home at like 5:30 instead of her usual 4:00 (her school was about 35 minutes away, which, typically, took Teh 'Mom an hour to drive to) and we'd all run out the door to "help bring in the groceries", but help, here, only in the sense that we were trying to find the bag with the frozen pizza and the soda and the popcorn etc. in it because when Teh 'Rents went out? That was what we kids had for dinner, and we thought them, our parents, right saps for thinking restaurant food preferable to the feast we enjoyed at home.

[Interpolation: Not all of the bags came inside, though. Teh 'Mom, after years of trying to find a viable hiding place inside the house, eventually conceded defeat and, as a last resort, began to lock the bag containing the week's cookies and other goodies inside her VW Beetle. Because we knew every one of her in-house hiding places and, Irish kids being genetically 97.5% locust, we'd have all the cookies eaten before teh 'rents got home from the restaurant on Friday night. So she'd go out in the morning, before we were up, and bring in ONE bag of cookies per day to put in our lunch bags for school. One of the saddest days of my childhood — and I daresay also one of the saddest in the childhood of all of my siblings — was that one Saturday morning — I was about 11, I guess — when we woke up and Teh 'Mom's VW Bug was gone. Someone had stolen it! And Teh 'Rents called the police, who didn't really hold out much hope of getting it back, thinking it had probably already been to a chop shop and been rendered into parts for dune buggies (which is what it was rumored was done with stolen Beetles back then); and we kids were like, "Fuck the car!1! There was a week's worth of cookies in there! What are the chances we'll get them back?!1! O, for the love of Jebus! Won't somebody please think of teh CHILDREN!1!" We never got the car or the cookies back. Thieves, if you're reading this post: You're worse than Hitler!1! Also, I peed in the driver's seat of that car, and you sat in it! Hahahahahaha! In your FACE!1! Or, more likely, your @$$.]

Anyroad, Teh 'Bride and I have continued the Heisenberg tradition of going out to dinner every Friday night2. But since all's we have is Ian, not 47,000 Little Catholic Soldiers, we take him with us. And each Friday, we take turns "choring"3 the restaurant. And last night it was Teh 'Bride's "chore", and when I got home, she told me we were going to some place new. She said it had all kinds of good beer on tap and had steak and pizza and pasta and pub grub and I was all, "You had me at 'good beer'."

The place, it turns out, was called Hillbilly Hall, and that there to the left is its logo. Yeah, didn't sound too promising to me, either. Teh 'Bride actually thought it was a biker bar, but a colleague of hers at the library went there and said it was good. So she decided to try it.

It's located about 10 miles from our house, which is what a hillbilly might call a "fer piece ta travel" in our book because we normally stay within about a 4-mile radius of our home when we go out to eat because we're old and we like the familiar and if you go early there are all of these early bird specials that warm the cockles of our heart.

But the place had a big old stone hearth and we sat at the table right smack in front of it and the waitress asked us first thing, "You want me to put another log on the fire for you?" and we said, "yes" and she did. And so right there the place was worth it for me because I loves me a big ol' farplace.

And Teh 'Bride kinda gilded the lily about the beer, because even though they had 12 beers on tap (which is a lot, sad to say, for places hereabouts), most of them were your typical mass-produced piss beers of the Coors and Bud and Miller variety. But they had a couple of good one, including Sam Adams' Cherry Wheat, and since I'd never had that on tap, I tried it. I'm not much of a fruity beer drinker, but that one was excellent. And surprisingly, not because the cherry taste was a mere hint; quite the contrary. It smelled strongly of cherry (even Ian could smell it when he took a quick sniff) and tasted even more strongly of cherry. But it was excellent.
I think all Teh 'Bride cared about, when she noticed the beer, was that they had Guinness on tap — which is her drink. (She thinks anything lighter than Guinness is for pussies.)

The food was plentiful. Ian got a pasta dish and so did I. Teh 'Bride got a Reuben. We all went home with what would be our lunches for today, because we couldn't finish the portions we'd been given for our dinner. Ian got today's lunch and probably tomorrow's out of his linguine and clams dish. It was a lot of food, is what I'm saying.

It was a big, rustic dining room — dark wood everywhere; decorations along the lines of pictures of John Wayne (famous rightwing hawk and draft-dodger; the Rush Limbaugh of his day) and Kenny Rogers4; shelves adorned with beer steins, mugs, cans and bottles lining the walls — and we were the only ones there. I got the feeling the place came to life later at night, at which point I'm pretty sure it did turn into a biker bar. There were already a couple of guys playing pool and some sad-looking barfly types sitting at the bar nursing beers and when we got there there were only pickup trucks parked outside ... plus, Teh 'Bride's Mini. Ian made me take him over to the pool table so he could gawk at the guys who were playing, whom Ian pronounced inferior at the game, because lately Ian's into playing pool. (He has a tabletop pool set, at which he beats my @$$ every time, and the neighbors across the street have a real pool table, it seems. And Ian's evidently gotten good at it, which I mention because you don't actually have to be good to beat me.)

All-in-all, I'm glad Teh 'Bride had us try this place out, and I can't wait to go back in winter, when it'll be really cold, because there's nothing better than warming your @$$ 'n' n*ts@ck in front of a raging fire burning in an open hearth.

For their vittles, especially the fried possum, I give Hillbilly Hall:

I ran 9.29 miles at a 9:11 pace this morning. So I've run 25.52 miles in the first week of November, which puts me on a 100-mile-month pace, which means I should get to 1000 miles for the year before December.
1 Teh 'Mom and Teh 'Dad were good Irish Catholics, and they did their part to populate the world with as many Baby Catholics as they could. They had seven kids and Teh 'Mom also had one miscarriage. So the Pope got his money's worth out of them. I assume, good Catholics that they were, they did all of this without sullying the whole procedure by looking upon each other with concupiscence, which one of the celibate, sexually-repressed and therefore expert-on-all-things-romantic Popes decided was a sin even if the concupiscenting adults were married in the church and were going to make a little Catholic as a byproduct of their lust and lack of rhythm (the rhythm method being the only approved form of Catholic contraception — about as effective as the man's putting a clothespin on the base of his Baby-Making-Scepter to stop the flow of Baby Catholic Batter, which, by the way, if you did try to do? Also a sin). And so they, like other Good Catholics, would sit around thinking about approved things, like how Jebus Died on the Cross for Our Sins or Teh Mystery of Transubstantiation, and see if any of that would cause a lust-free boner to arise. (It still amazes me that this tactic seems to have worked at least eight times in the case of my parents.) Then they would robotically head upstairs to joylessly make a Little Catholic.

Um ... two things I should mention here:

a. I do not think this is how any of this in fact occurred.

b. I am blessed with this enviable ability to dissociate myself, at times, from the actual meaning of the words I utter. (All of you probably envy me that ability right about now.) Not with all things, but in most things sexual? I can do it without much effort. The description above could have brought some pretty emetic images to my mind — as they probably did with you, Dear Reader — what with it being my parents I was talking about and all; but I just didn't let that happen. To me? They are just words.

Not so Teh Poor 'Bride! Because sometimes, just to be "funny", I'll talk like that in front of her, which just utterly creeps her out, and she'll be all: "GLAVEY!1! Don't talk about Mr. F---1a that way!1!"

I suspect my words bring images to her mind.

I do not talk like that in front of her very often because I want to keep my Baby-Making-Scepter right where it currently is.

1a I.e., Teh 'Dad. He told her early on to call him by his first name but Teh 'Bride couldn't quite do it so she calls him Mr. F---. And Teh 'Dad's baby-making prowess notwithstanding, "F---" does not stand for what you probably think it does.

But it could.

2 But when we "make babies"? We get our concupiscence ON!1! Hahahahaha! Take THAT, Pope! That's one tradition we didn't continue!

3 This was Ian's word, from when he was like two. "Ian, what do you want for lunch?" "Ian not know. [It was a long time before Ian learned to use the first person singular pronoun "I".] You chore." We eventually doped out that this was his word for both "choose" and "choice". And we just kept using that word instead of choose or choice. It's far more elegant.

4 Pre-face lift Kenny Rogers, Teh 'Bride informed me. Because, sez she, he's had his face lifted so many times that his beard actually grows behind his ears!1! Which is so freaky that I don't even care if it's in fact true (which it probably isn't) and, furthermore, I don't even care at all and I don't even want to speculate about why Teh 'Bride does care or why she knows this (or thinks she does, because it sounds pretty bogus) and the freakiest thing about Kenny Rogers errant, peripatetic beard is that Teh 'Bride knows about it and evidently cares.


  1. I can't believe you used the word hillbilly that many times without once mentioning the Cletus.

  2. I'm with Teh Bride on beer choice.

  3. Hillbilly Hall! Weeelll, wee doggies!!! Sounds pretty dadgum good to me! I'm not a fruity beer person either, but we have one here in Georgia called Sweetwater Blue that has a blueberry flavor and it's YUMMMMM.

    As soon as I saw the Kenny Rogers reference, I instantly thought, "pre face lift or post?" Post face lift Kenny is a huge thumbs down. We saw him sing last summer - from really far away you can't tell he's had any work done.

  4. I feel it necessary to register my disapproval. As a descendant of actual hillbillies I am offended by this post. It is derogatory towards my people.

    If you must know, we hold an annual Peel Back Kenny's Face-a-thon to raise money for Kenny's reconstructive work. We may not ever fix up the 1967 Chevys parked in our front yard, but let Kenny Rogers' jowls fall and nose blow up like a potato? Hell no! He is an Americun icon.

  5. She's right.

    One of my favorite restaurants here is Hatfield and McCoys. Nothing like naming a restaurant after a long simmering feud. But the food (southern style fried) is so good...

  6. love the 4 cletus rating! hahahaha fantastic.

  7. A place with Guinness on tap deserves at least 4 5/16th "Cletuses"