Not Going Greyhound Much Longer

U.S. Highway 40 is one of the initial Greyhound route casualties, taking out a string of Utah cities that includes Vernal, Roosevelt, Myton, Duchesne and Heber, along with Echo and Park City (along Interstate 80), and Logan (U.S. 89). Altogether, Greyhound is eliminating service to 260 U.S. cities and towns between Chicago and Seattle in its first round of cuts, effective Aug. 18.

Long ago, after Pop died, my mom became the defacto “family fixer.” Her brother, my Uncle Charlie, would give her money for a plane ticket to Steamboat Springs, CO now and then to look after their oldest sister, Florence.

Eventually, there was no money for planes, and so Mom would pull me out of school. Sometimes, we’d take the bus to Steamboat from the Greyhound terminal. The bus would drop us off at the Harbor Hotel, and we’d take a cab or call for a ride to their house. Later still, there was money for gas, so we’d drive. I loved the drive along US40, but only when we took our car.

The night bus rides were the most melancholy journeys of my life. To this day, the distinctive bus-smell in a long-distance coach or tour bus takes me back to the nights I’d sit watching the miles unspool like the background in an old-fashioned black and white movie. The first time, we did it in January, when there was a lot of snow in the high country.

The moon shone coldly remote above the snow-blanketed ranches as we rolled by, which were lonely outposts in the empty miles between the small towns along US 40. It seemed to me that there was nothing lonelier in the world than a single yard lamp, glowing brightly but impersonally from out by the barns, and offering no welcome to benighted travelers. And at the end of the journey, there was only toil and frustration and worry waiting to welcome us.

The Steamboat folks would be glad to see us only because it meant that we’d deal with their problems.
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The Best Lobster You’ve Ever Had

Rance checks in with a postcard from the Hamptons, where he may or not may be or have been:

I was on the fence about going until he mentioned “We’d be having three-and-a-half pound lobsters at his dinner party Saturday night. I’d always thought that smaller lobsters tasted better, but Bill assured me, “That is a myth invented by poor people.” Bill fits in very well in the Hamptons, by the way. In any case, as you may have surmised from previous entries, quality has always taken a back seat to quantity for me when it comes to crustaceans. So I hit the Hamptons.

Oh yes, the lobster challenge. Rance’s friend Bill has thrown down the mighty gauntlet, or it might be the armored claw full of meat. Our friend Steve accepted a similar challenge and there was a mighty struggle, but in the end he was not the victor.
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Past, Tense St Paddy’s

One of the stated purposes (purpoi?) of this blog is that it’s a collection of random-access memories – a purpose that’s been sadly neglected of late. Howerver, I’ve got some doozies that came back to me all in a rush, because they’re topical, today being what it is (or was, by now).

In the bad old pre-David days, when I was still living the carefree, (bored) bachelorette (lonely) (anti-social) life in Seattle, I used to go out occasionally for holidays like St Patrick’s Day. There are a lot of Irish bars in Seattle, and I lived within walking distance of a particularly famous one, Jake O’Schaunnessy’s. Jake’s was famous for having the biggest St Pat’s crowds in a town that was known for the green-beer drinking excess that leads to people painting green stripes down miles of city streets just so the entire St Pat’s Day Parade doesn’t get lost on its route from one Irish bar to another. In fact, the building I worked in was the home of Jake’s, and every year on a weekday St Paddy’s I’d have to work all day and look out the front windows (it was like an arcade) and see all the happy throngs of college-age drinkers having fun (early) and throwing up in corners (later). As I wasn’t so long out of college myself, this seemed like a fun thing to do all day, and I hated having to work. By the time I did get off work, Jake’s would be too packed out to enter, so I’d mostly just go home.

However, one year, I actually made plans to go out with a friend. The previous weekend, we’d mostly had an amazingly good time at another Irish bar downtown, dancing jigs with visiting Irish dignitaries and random faux-Celtic wack-jobs in kilts. We had a guy that played the Uilleann bagpipes with us, too, who played a hell of a tune called “The Clumsy Lover” for us. This was a pointed insult to the aforesaid wack-job, who didn’t get the joke. Now THAT was a fun time had by all.

The actual night of the 17th, we tried to repeat the magic, but it was not to be, and in fact was the beginning of the end of the friendship. Nothing much really earthshattering happened, I just reached the point of terminal fed-upness to a surprising degree. With red warning flags flying, and steam coming out of my ears.
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