An Old Favorite / A Brand New Favorite

June04/ 2012

Being the Internet version of “that little Dutch boy” is, while prestigious, also demanding.  Knowing it is only my finger in the hole in the dike that saves civilization often limits my choices for a column.  Today the ever-rising tide has receded enough to allow me to replay a golden oldie.  A long-time Top Five staple from our archives….. AND I have met yet another literary action hero.  Move over Mitch Rapp and Jack powerdown.jpgReacher – Meet Dewey Andreas.

The author’s name is Ben Coes.  He has three books in his Dewey Andreas series.  Ten days ago I had never heard of Ben or Dewey.  Now I’ve reistened (read by listening) to the first two.  The 3rd is not yet in audio version.  The day it is, I will download it.

The similarities between Ben Coes and Vince Flynn (or Lee Child or Brad Thor or David Baldacci) are numerous and obvious.  I’ve found that a darn good rip-roaring page-turner doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.  Creating another very good wheel is just fine.

The adventures of Dewey Andreas are not that different from Mitch Rapp or Scott Horvath or whoever is your favorite “laconic antisocial former special ops guy who single-handedly saves the good guys from the very very bad guys”.  Dewey has all sorts of “Jack Reacher” genes flowing thru him.

If you enjoy a great messa ribs or an especially good pizza or chili dog, you don’t have to declare it is THE BEST (ribs, pizza, chili dog) I’VE EVER EATEN but rather “OH BOY, THAT SURE WAS A GOOD ONE!”.   So I declare the action adventures of Dewey Andreas by author Ben Coes.

If I’ve convinced you to run not walk to or to your neighborhood B&N, be sure to read Power Down first followed by Coup D’etat.   Warning: If you are looking for affirmation that bloodthirsty insane islamofascist extremists are just misunderstood warm & fuzzy folks…. this may not be your cuppa tea.

…… and now a stroll down Memory Lane to the Piccadilly Cafeteria.

Holler If You Need Anything: (2006)

BobLee has discovered America’s secret weapon against illegal aliens, radical Islamic fundamentalists, campus faculty squirrels, knee-jerking jackasses, and even Internet lunatic fringers …. it’s NOT WAFFLE HOU*E but close.

I don’t know why I have ignored this warm and comfortable hideaway from the rampant  foolishness engulfing society.  Like many of the “Why Gods?” that lead us to open certain doors ….. this time The Angel of Providence led me to an exit on I-75 South of Atlanta festooned Buffet_Photo.JPGwith every possible national and regional dining option, the sea of neon and asphalt parted and a star shone bright above Piccadilly Cafeteria.

If you have never dined at cafeteria we likely do not have much in common.  I forgive the handful of you who have yet to visit a WAFFLE HOUSE, but if you truly have never had supper at a cafeteria … What kind of person ARE YOU?  If you had dinner at a cafeteria it would be the mid-day meal.  If you ate an evening meal at a cafeteria it was “supper”.

Growing up, when our family went out for supper it was likely to Creech’s Cafeteria.  The entire Creech Family worked there in some capacity.  The menu choices were varied, but the variety of choices were always the same.  There is a Universal Law of Cafeterias … ALL Cafeterias even in 2006 still offer the same variety of choices.  In that sameness take incredible comfort.

Piccadilly Cafeteria had computerized cash registers and a touch-tone telephone. Other than that I fully expected to see Mr and Mrs Creech working the line and all the little Creeches busing tables.  It was a step back through time to the 60s.

The #1 food item in a cafeteria is still “That” as in “I’d like some of that, please.”  One still uses one’s index finger to indicate which That one is requesting.  A veteran line employee can tell if you are pointing to the butterbeans, string beans or fried okra … it’s like they tap into your brain waves.

Mr Piccadilly employs workers of Hispanic origin who may be short in English communication, but he knows better than to put them “on the line”.  Can one even say “do you want gravy on those mashed potatos” in Spanish?  Or Farsi?

If I ever go into the cafeteria bizness, I am going to buy the very largest trays I can find.  Every cafeteria diner knows you HAVE to fill up your tray ever how many little bowls, plates, big bowls, little plates, and glasses it takes. There cannot be any tray showing when you reach the tally lady at the end of the line.  A cafeteria aficionado can gauge the length of the line versus available choices left.  There is  the “pie on top” option.

You pile up a dozen or so little bowls of vegetables, some sort of pot roast, the mandatory brick of fish with the lemon slice on top, and at least one “I have no idea” entrée that simply looked too good to pass up.  You reach the pie section and there’s no tray space left  It’s OK to put the 8” high wedge of lemon meringue or cocoanut crème pie ON TOP of something else.  The little plate holding the garlic toast is a favorite solution.

I cannot leave the line without paying tribute to butta beans and stewed tomatos.  No other restaurants on earth ALWAYS serves’em.

The “tally-up lady” is a Must at every cafeteria.  You do not pay the tally-up lady.  She simply tallies up your meal cost and gives you a little receipt.  You pay the register lady over by the exit.  No one in their right mind would skip out of a cafeteria without paying.

Toting your heavily-laden tray to a table or booth you face your next choice … leave all the little bowls and plates on the tray or set them on the table setting the empty tray on the empty tray stand.  Everybody I know takes the bowls and plates off the tray.  It’s the civilized way.

Most cafeteria patrons pause at this juncture to “return thanks”.  When the Rapture comes, a cafeteria might be a very good place to be.  Right after the Rapture it will be very empty I think.

Spreading your napkin in your lap and establishing a consuming order for the various edibles, you meet my favorite cafeteria employee … the Just Holler Lady.  She is at least 45 and may be older.  She is never taller than 5’2” … she wears a polyester shirt and a name tag.  Her name is one of the 20 accredited Southern names for short little wimmen in a cafeteria.  She asks if she can get you anything and you say “no ma’m, I’m fine thank you” she hits you with that killer line … “if you need anything, JUST HOLLER!”

Gladys at WAFFLE HOUSE doesn’t get to use that line.  Nowhere but a cafeteria will a dear little lady say “JUST HOLLER if you need anything” … AND MEAN IT.

Yes, I know that Mike Fox’s moochies are “done” and Omaha won’t be quite the same without’em.  Wuffs Win Thrilla to Advance !!.  Yes, I know the UNC BOG is still convinced “it’ll just go away if we pretend it has”.  Yes, someone on your block hates you because of your politics.  Sooooo Bunky…..Visit a cafeteria in your town.  If you see a large quiet brooding fellow sitting alone with that 1,000 yard stare…. and he has a Gerber blade in a ankle sheath and a Colt 45 tucked in the back of his well-worn jeans…. and some nasty scars on his thickly muscled arms.  Ask the Just Holler Lady to go over and say – “Excuse me Dewey. BobLee says to say hi.”
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