Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Salmon Skin
Something is definitely fishy here.

[Overheard in a Coney Island restaurant: “The food’s pretty good here, but whatever you do, don’t order the whitefish!”]

Eli (hizzownself) and his bride Toni just celebrated their twentieth anniversary this Thursday just past. They’ve just completed their annual trek down to Florida, where they will winter over until sometime in April before returning to their New York home.

They drive, making the trip in a short two days. Not bad for an eighty five-year old guy, eh?

I remember that drive from back in my Snot-Nose Days, when I was a mere prepubescent passenger. It started out fifty years ago (!) as a touristy, five-day trek up the eastern seaboard, but as the roads improved and interstate highways spread their concrete tentacles throughout the land, we were able to whittle it down to two days... and that’s when the southern terminus of the drive was North Miami Beach, not somewhere in the general vicinity of Ocala.

One thing we discovered early on: There wasn’t a whole lot of good radio programming available in parts of the Deep South, especially on a Sunday morning. FM radio was, in those days, a rarity in a car - you listened to the AM band if you listened to anything at all - and satellite radio was not even a fever dream. But one morning as we drove through South Carolina, we listened spellbound to an African-American gospel show, the music and enthusiasm completely infectious.

Came the commercial break - gotta pay the rent! - we listened to an advertisement for a local fish market. I cannot, almost a half-century later, remember the name of the market... but what I do remember is the announcer-lady telling customers that when they came to the fish market, they should “be sure to ask fo’ Mister Scales.”

Eli still chuckles when we tell this story. I guess if you’re gonna work in a fish market, why shouldn’t your name be Mr. Scales?

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