Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Daylight Donuts

I consider myself very fortunate to have settled my family into a small town that has a donut shop.

Yep, just the one.

Growing up in SoCal, I was accustomed to eating what I believed to be the best donuts, made by a group of people who I still believe to be the best donut makers in the states, Cambodians.

I'm not sure why, but during the 70's, when there was a large influx of refugees from the Southest Asian peninsula, Cambodians gravitated toward donut shops, when selecting businesses to open up in the LA area. After 30 years and several generations of making the fried, doughy, objects of desire, I believe they've achieved perfection in this particular culinary art.

And donut shops are as plentiful in LA, as road kill is on the highways of central Oklahoma.

So you can see why I was hopefully skeptical when I first entered our local donut chain store several months ago. Hopeful, because I knew it was the only donut joint in town. Skeptical, because I knew there was a slim to none chance that I'd find a friendly Cambodian family running the fryer in the back.

I take PK once a week for her sprinke donut after dropping C off at school in the morning. I usually get a sausage biscuit (warmed), a couple plain cakes and a small coffee. Call it an Okie power breakfast.

My small town's donut shop is a chain store, but the people that run it make it feel like a small mom&pop operation.

I was delighted to find that the donuts were made fresh every day by ladies who seem to really care about their product. The selection was limited but with enough variety to satisfy both my aging donut-intake palate for plain, cake donuts, my lovely wife's passion for buttermilk bars, and the girls innate need for chocolate covered and sprinkle covered sugar rushes.

They offered both kinds of coffee -- reg and decaf. No frilly french roast here, just real, black, hot coffee worthy of being carried in Juan Valdez's burro's backpack.

The drive-up window service is a nice touch, complete with a surplus rollover sensor that must have been rescued from a gas station of old. The familiar "ding-ding" sound that reverberates throughout the donut shop as a pick-up truck rolls over the black, rubber hose in the drive-up lane, is a welcomed sound from my childhood. Alas, another sound rendered obsolete with the extinction of full-service gas stations.

I sit amazed as PK commences to remove all the frostine and colored sprinkles (aka jimmys) from her inner-tube shaped pastry, leaving behind a bare, yet beautiful cake donut. I've also watched C methodically lick off the entire chocolate covering from a long-john in similar fashion.

I break apart and dip a cake donut into my small cup of steaming, light brown (cream and two sugars) coffee, feeling the excess dribble off my chin before coming to a violent end on my outstretched napkin.

There's a neon clock on the wall, a bulletin board filled with snapshots of family members, and a nice lady who periodically saunters by with what always seems to be a freshly made pot of coffee to refill emptied or near empty styrofoam cups.

I enjoy watching the folks who eat their donuts with a knife and fork, always taking the time to wipe clean the white plastic utensils supplied completely gratis by the shop.

The elderly couple who have met here every week for the last 40 years inform PK and I that a cold front is coming and that we should bring all of our sensitive plants indoors. They take one last loving look at the cuteness that is PK with donut trim surrounding her mouth and pile into their town cars in the parking lot.

Cambodian donuts they may not be. But as far as donut shops go, I'm comfortably at home.

Monday, September 26, 2005

"Well, I'll be..."

Our small town is fortunate enough to have our own dump.

Actually, it's just a long ramp that takes you to the top of a dumpster, that gets hauled away on a set schedule or whenever it gets full.

To dump your load, you must be a resident off my small town. Acceptable proof of residency is a utility bill.

Easy enough.

Last week I took a load consisting of a broken limb from the recent storms, the remnants of our tile kitchen counter top, a few bags of grass shavings, and a trash can full of wood shavings.

I drove the loaded El Camino up the ramp and started unloading everything non-organic, since there are piles located elsewhere in the dump for those items.

A 60-something fella I've never seen or met before, comes walking up to me. He's about 5 foot nothing, 200 and something, coke bottle glasses, red bandana tied round his balding but thankfully comb-over free pate, stained t-shirt (no holes), and rustic blue jeans. And he has three eyebrows.
Picture Boss Hogg on a rough day spent out at Cooter's garage.
BH - Whatcha got?
Me - Just some stuff to dump.
He raises an eyebrow. Uh oh, me thinks trouble is brewing.BH - You got something to show me?
Me - Oh, okay. Here.
I pull out my Oklahoma driver's license and show it to him. He peruses the laminated card which allows me to operate a motor vehicle in this state and hands it back to me.
BH - That means nothing to me. I need to see a utility bill that shows you live here.
Me - Well, my address is right there on my driver's license.
He pauses long enough for me to think several things, the last of which is what I'm gonna make for dinner that night. Finally he raises his second eyebrow and says,
BH - Well, I'll be.I try my best not to show any emotion at all, but my brain is racing to remember the following dialogue for this blog entry.Me -I've been here loads of times before. Showed the young fella my license and my power bill back in April and never thought twice about bringing a bill out every time I'm out here.
Still looking at my license. He looks up at me and raises his third and final eyebrow. I sense a confrontation.
Me -...however, since your the new boss around here, I'll be sure to bring my power bill out the next time, and I'll be sure to stop in and check out my load with you.
He smiles, extends his hand out.
BH - My names Hank, pleased to meet you.
Me - Likewise (shaking his hand)
BH - Just saying, I don't know you, never seen you around here, and I've been here for 3-weeks now.
Me -Well, you probably won't see many Asian fellas driving a classic red and white El Camino hot rod around here, neither.
BH - I reckon'
Me - Okay, well, sorry to make a mess of things, and I'll be sure to bring out my bill next time I'm out here.
BH - I'd appreciate that very much.
The idling El Camino beckons me to get behind the wheel. I get in and am careful not to spin the wheels as I drive away.

Don't want him to think I"m some disrespectful punk kid

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


The other night, I attended my first ever PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) meeting.

In addition to wanting to become actively invovled in C's education, I wanted to see if I could get to know some other folk in our small town and start to build some friendly relations.

I also wanted to bring up the whole - encouraging obesity with stickers - policy at C's school re: finishing their school lunches.

S prepped me with her encouraging words and coached me on not only what I was going to say, but how I was going to say it -- saying it without the accusatory "you" language and suggesting alternatives to what we felt was an improper policy.

You may recall from a previous post that C came home from school one day and asked if she could take her lunch tomorrow instead of eating the school lunch.

When asked why, she responded that she wanted to get a sticker.

Seems the school rewards any student who finishess their lunch with a sticker. And since the lunches are too much for C to finish, she never gets a sticker.

She figured that if she brought her own, smaller lunch, with portions she could finish, then she could get a sticker and not have to keep eating.

Now, we've always taught our daughters to listen to their bodies, to eat what their bodies are telling them to eat, and to stop eating when they get full. Never clean your plate unless you really want to and definitely not because someone is telling you to - or bribing you with stickers.

This reward system that the school is pushing appears (at least to us) to be encouraging behavior that leads to obesity -- which we all know is a huge (no pun intended) problem in our country.

We addressed the issue by re-stressing to C the importance of listening to her body and that she didn't have to finish her lunch.

Back to the PTO meeting. The agenda was light and breezy and I was tempted to say my peace, but the numerous members that appeared to be dealing with the obesity battle (losing or totally giving up) stifled any desire I had to bring up the subject.

Maybe some other time. In the meantime, we also stocking up on stickers for C to play with and enjoy when she gets home from school.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Lyrical looniness

The next Kindergardener you run into, ask them if they know the words to a showtune.

Any showtune.

C has been in her Kindergarden class for a little over 3 weeks and last night she sang the entire main theme song from "Oklahoma."

What, you were expecting "West Side Story?"

I remember the first time my then-girlfrend/now-wife brought me to visit her Oklahoma hometown over 18 years ago. Her parents had bought us tickets to see a local college's stage production of the classic Rogers and Hammerstein's musical extravaganza.

I sat in awe as my "not-yet-totally-jaded-and-corrupted-by-Los Angeles future wife," seemed to know every single word to every single song in the show. I was enamored by her Okie innocence, and since she has one of the lovliest voices in the entire history of human voices, I remember listening to her more than any others.

Then, at the finale, when the main theme bursts from the orchestra pit, and the actors are running forward on the stage, hands locked and smiles wide - the entire audience got to their feet and sang the final stanza with all the pride and joy of a Mother giving birth to twins.
"You're looking fine, Oklahoma,

Wonder how many 5-year olds in California can spell "California?"

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bass Pro rocks!

Bass Pro Shops are amazing.

Now, I'm not an outdoor/sportsman/huntiing kinda guy, but even I can appreciate a great big air conditioned supermart of outdoor sports gadgets, clothes, toys, food, etc.

Downtown OKC is fortunate enough to have such a store and we frequent it, not so much to purchase camp stoves and ammo, but to take in the sights of all the non-PETA approved stuffed animal carcasses, the wonderfully realistic displays, acres and acres of merchandise, and the huge indoor lake habitat aquarium, completely stocked with fish that can be found in Oklahoma's lakes and rivers.

Because we're within the 100 mile radius of this Bass Pro store, we periodically receive the large Bass Pro newspaper sales flyer.

I need some explanation of this item.

Why would I spend so much for a rock? Do I take this hunting with me? Do I use it to deliver the killing blow to the helpless animal that I've bagged, to put it out of it's misery?
Sure, chuckle at my ignorance, but you've got to see some humor in my curiosity?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Oklahoma is a small town

During this time of the year, the entire state of Oklahoma becomes one giant small town. However, these small townsfolk find their loyalties split in two, due to the popularity of one sport and the two major colleges within the pan-shaped borders.

That's right, it's football season. and the majority of Okie's bleed either Sooner red or OSU orange.

Even the AOR rock station that I listen to is playing a mixed track that consists of the Sooner Boomer fight song, the OSU fight song, finishing with a rousing chorus off Roger's and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma."

C'mon, sing with me. Everyone knows at least one line of lyrics in THAT song.

And now, you too will be humming it all day long.

You're welcome.