Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rest Stop Ahead

I don't know what it is with me and highway rest stops.

This week, I drove from Medford to Springfield, about 100 miles, to meet up with my wonderful cousin Steve who grew up in Connecticut but now lives in the San Francisco area, and is in New England for  vacation. We had a wonderful lunch and a lovely visit, but the drive out was not entirely uneventful. I wear reading glasses, and if you've ever met me, you may have noticed that I carry them tucked into the neckline of my blouse when I'm not wearing them. You may also have noticed that I — ahem — don't have a whole lotta real estate in that neighborhood to anchor them, if you get my drift.

I was in the women's room, doing what comes naturally, and somehow adjusted my footing, but in doing so knocked the glasses out of my blouse and into the toilet. The toilet in the public restroom. The toilet in the public restroom that I've already peed in. So my quandary, as I'm sitting there: do I reach in and pull out these glasses? They were cheapo $4 reading glasses from Christmas Tree Shops (a tchatchki shop for you non-New Englanders), and my first instinct was an unambiguous "Are you insane? No, for Pete's sake!" But I know how toilets work, and I know glasses are really bad for plumbing, and I didn't want to imagine what would happen if they went down. On behalf of every woman who's ever been grossed out in a public bathroom, I realized I had to retrieve them. Ewww.

Don't thank me yet.

So I start to reach for them; but the electric eye that flushes automatically detected my movement as the signal that I was done. The toilet flushed, and before I could say "Holy crap", they were gone. I took that as a message that I was not supposed to reach in to a public toilet to retrieve anything, ever. Lesson learned.


For Thanksgiving 2008 we were driving our usual route to Madeline's house on Long Island, and stopped at the rest stop on 684 in Katonah. We often stopped there because that's about as far as I can get without a pitstop. I drink alot of tonic when I'm driving. (Tom's pet peeve #4,893: I never drink to the bottom of the can when I'm driving. That last swig takes too long.)

 As I'm walking into the women's restroom, a man standing out front of the buiding asks me if I'd like a pork loin. I muttered some kind of  "don't bother me" response, and continued inside. As I was returning to the car, I was horrified (okay, maybe horrified is too strong a word — I didn't like)  to see that Tom was talking to the man, and holding one of the frozen, cryovac-sealed pork loins - the kind you can get at BJ's or Costco: they're about 18 to 24 inches long, and 6 inches or even more in diameter. When we buy them we cut them up into three sections before freezing them. I'm sure you know the cut of meat I'm talking about. Anyway, there he is, Tom, with a pork loin under his arm, and I approach the men and join the conversation. It turns out the man is a truck driving minister from Fort Bragg, finishing up a delivery to the area, but doesn't know how to get rid of about 18 of these cryovacked pork loins. I suggest possibly a food pantry in the town, but he is in a rush to be rid of them, unfamiliar with the area, and needs to get back to North Carolina quickly. So we relieved him of one of the roasts, thanked him and bade him farewell and good luck.

We were giddy with our good fortune, although not completely convinced we hadn't just taken poisoned or expired meat from the mysterious stranger (the meat was frozen solid and factory sealed but bore no label or expiration date). We looked at each other and said almost in unsion - Think Jimmy and Gerry would want one, too? So we walked back to the man and offered to take another two. leaving him with three plus an unopened case. What the heck, we thought, we can probably give these roasts to Madeline's church's pantry, so we might as well take all six from the opened box. So we left with our pork loin treasure, leaving the man with just the unopened case.

We couldn't contain our glee when we got to Long Island and told and retold the story of the truck driving minister in Connecticut, and Jim & Kathy and Gerry & Antoinette each took home a pork loin, although to this day I don't actually know if they ate them or if they were just being polite.

Giving the other three to St. Raphael's in East Meadow didn't work out, so we brought the still-frozen roasts back with us, and I passed them along to our food pantry, Friends of St. Francis here in Medford — but not before cooking a family-sized portion of one of the roasts and eating it to make sure they were good. St. Francis was grateful for the donation, and planned to cook them for the day-after-Thanksgiving meal at Bread of Life, a provider that serves a multi-town constituency. I told them about the truck driving military chaplain from North Carolina, but left out the part about the rest stop.

Every time we drive to East Meadow now we stop at "our" rest stop, but alas, we've never again been offered free meat. A girl can dream, no?

No comments:

Post a Comment