I love that word. I wanted to call it “favorites” but that won out for several reasons. First, we spent six years in a state I never envisioned living in that inured me to air conditioning. Let’s call it Texas. In my youth our family leap-frogged around the country as my father got promoted. So my husband and I are stalwarts in that we pick up and move when needed and make do with our surroundings.
If we’re in a place a while (in this economy, that is a feat), we get to know people. We get friends from home, friends from work and businesses that treat us well because we’re good customers.
Vacation towns are notoriusly skewed toward that crowd at the peril of the locals, but when we told our local Mexican place that we’d probably cook throughout the Sundance film festival he said, “We’ve always got a table for you.” When I walk into our drycleaner they don’t ask for my phone number, my husband’s shirts are already on the rack and they say “Hello, Miss Dee.” When we walk into Maxwell’s (NY Pizza) there’s a hug from gorgeous hunk Ryan and manager John always checks in.
To be a local in a resort town, two years is a century. We treat people well and are treated well in return, no matter the crowds. We’d like to thank all of our favorites here, and give a thumbs down to those who thought we weren’t good enough to receive service we pay for, and those who tried to cheat us. Luckily the bad folks are few but would sue if I revealed their scams.
My advice is to walk, and talk to neighbors. Dog owners have to go out several times a day. If their dog and other dogs like them they’re probably good folks so ask them where to go to dinner or the best place to find whatever you need.
I was in Scotland for less than a week as I tried to find the lay of the land, where to buy stamps outside the post office and my usual sneaky tricks of finding the quickest walk anywhere, and was a target of Japanese tourists from four days on. With my dark hair they must have pegged me as a non-Scot and I looked like I knew what I was doing. Wrong, not on non-Scot but in knowing what I was doing. In a day or two dealing with “tourists” when I was one was to tell them what I knew and that sufficed.
With three months under my belt I knew the restaurants and how to live and we had a going-away party at our favorite restaurant our last evening there. My husband and the entire restaurant sang “Deep In The Heart of Texas,” and he doesn’t drink. When they asked for an encore it brought the first verse of Marty Robbins’ “El Paso.” Those of you that have read me from the start know that led to pdxknitterati introducing me to Juni Fisher and her take on one of her mentor’s tales, El Paso, with Red Velvet Slippers. That evening and blog post changed our lives.
Juni sang at a surprise party for Nanny’s birthday and we’ve been in touch ever since. I don’t know what the dictionary says about stalwarts but I can say they’re always there when needed. When family is needed I know who to call. No-one around here knows how to find a capon but I do (and thank you Wapsie Farms for when you were in the capon business). I love people and have sacrificed my time and efforts for them. In return the stalwarts have come to bat for me on occasion, and for that I am grateful.
The first time I met my mother-in-law I brought my best somber dress to the festivities. It is a lace-covered sheath with Mandarin collar and buttons that were fabric-covered. When I entered my guest room there was a gift, a gold painted frame. She said she had buttons that would dress up my dress for the holiday and asked that if it didn’t work out with her son could she get the buttons back.
The antique buttons made the dress. I changed halfway through Thanksgiving to non-funereal clothing and we will celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary this week. No, I didn’t give the buttons back and still have the dress. Jim’s mother is next to stalwart in the encyclopedia. Love you, M!
There’s always something to be said for “regulars” at a restaurant or other business. More important, friends who pull through when needed. I would like to thank family, friends and others who care and go the extra mile. Cheers! Dee