Thursday, April 17, 2008

another thing I love

You know what I had to realize about myself at some point?  I didn't appreciate home enough.  Not home.  I think I appreciate the heck out of that.  My boys, the first one included, and the life we have in these walls.  But I mean the little town our life is in.  And the region.  And the state . . .  It's not that I didn't like it.  I've just been sort of indifferent to it.  But that's changing.  I'm trying to appreciate it all more, to have favorite things about it, reasons to stay.  

So here's a tribute to a place I love.  You're going to be bored at first.  It's Long John Silvers.  I know.  Chains shouldn't count.  Nothing with national television spots can be on my list of favorite local things.  But you have to see it.  It sticks out all by itself way before the mass of fast food chains further down the strip.  It looks like it grew up out of the concrete in the parking lot of the old Wal-Mart and current shopping - um - corner?  

Anyway, I don't go there often, and every time I do - it makes me very happy.  First the workers.  They look sort of - well - tired.  And a bit tattooed.  Some of them very tattooed.  And many of them a little like they might be waiting for their next cigarette break.  But they are the salt of the service industry.  Every single time.  They act genuinely happy to give me the right sauce and to add those awesome little fried pieces of batter when they give me my chicken.  That's all I ever get there.  The battered chicken and cole slaw.  Those chicken strips are the most fattening delicacy I can't live without.  I adore them.  When I was pregnant the second time, they're almost all I ate.  And then there's this bell with a long thin rope dangling from it that hangs by the exit.  You're supposed to ring it if you think they did a good job, and people actually do.  And not only that, when you ring it, at least one - but often two - of the workers - counter and kitchen help alike - will yell out, "Thank you!"  It just makes me smile.  There may be a conglomerate on the billboard outside, but inside it's all mom-and-pop.  And I love it.  I'd love it more if it were called Small Town Guy's Shrimp Shack.  It would feel more like undiscovered treasure then.  But it's the closest I've got, so consider it appreciated.  And, no, it's not lost on me that I go to a seafood chain to eat chicken.  

Up next week:  Walgreens!  Just kidding.  Have you seen the price of toiletries there?


Den said...

I loved the LJS in my hometown as a kid. Pirates and Fried Food, c'mon! I remember the doors had push handles that looked like swords. I reasoned that since they were made of metal, that they were probably made of real pirate swords. And I hated when the hats weren't black. I was pretty sure pirates did not wear rainbow hats nor did they put puzzles or mazes on the backs of their own hats.

On a your hometown note, the last time I ate at Kentucky Fried A&W, there were more workers out on smoke break than inside working. If it hadn't been for the dirty floor, it might have been a bit more endearing but I still delight to think on it.

AmyB. said...

Matt and I took the whole family to the Pizza Haus here in Edina a few weeks ago. Have you tried it? It was loud (due to the accustics mostly) but it was filled with smiling people, several whom I actually knew! (We've lived here 11 years and I finally feel like I know a few families.) There were grandparents with grandkids, several whom my kids knew from school and they got such a kick out of seeing people they knew. (We don't get out much!) I really enjoyed that experience. It was fun, even if the food took forever to get to our table.

Anonymous said...

I love the little batter pieces too Seren, thats my favorite part. I too love LJS's, and LOVED going when we were kids. It was a treat, a real restaurant. (lol) chicken, fish, doesnt matter.....its THE BATTER that makes it heavenly.
I'm so glad you're back.

Valerie said...

Rest assured you are not the only one that goes to a seafood place to eat chicken. I love it! And I always let both of my kids ring the bell. It's a treat that must be shared by both. And the workers do yell, "Thank you!" Twice.

Anonymous said...

Our family loves LJS! The "crumbs" are a favorite. My picky-eater son douses everything with vinegar! As far as eating chicken at a fish joint--life is short, eat what you like!