Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Doctor, me and the Chinese restaurant.

Mike Lewis's kid knew I was headed to Seattle. It was a supply run of sorts. I had money saved and needed a bunch of stuff and decided that the way to go was to buy everything in Seattle where my money went further and then ride back up the Alaska highway with the Doctor.  He was headed up for spring salmon season and offered me a ride back up having wintered at his parents home outside of town.

Mike's kid asked me if I'd pick him up a deactivated hand grenade from and Army/Navy store. I simply added it to the list of stuff I had been asked to pick up.

I arrived in Seattle and the Doctor met me at the airport and we took off and spent a couple of days shopping. My luggage consister of a duffel bag filled with other duffel bags to haul my purchases home. I would buy everything I needed in Seattle. My travel luggage was simply a wad of American Express traveler's cheques. 
As seen on TV and shilled by Karl Malden.

 I tossed my duffel into the bed of his pickup and off we went.
His pickup was a rebuild. He had originally found it somewhere and spent a lot of time and money rebuilding the old '54 Chevy. He'd had it since high school.

It had been rebuilt years beforehand and was now starting to go into the rattle phase which actually meant it had just been broken in. 

At the Army/Navy store I spied a small pail full of deactivated grenades on the counter and on impluse offered $10 for the lot. The clerk accepted. I threw down a ten and we walked off carrying it. I put a couple in the package I was bringing north that contained stuff I had bought for other people.

The pail I tossed into the cab. One never knows when they'd need a grenade in a hurry in the big city. When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you have a grenade, everything looks like it needs blowing up. It wasn't long before something needed blowing up.

On the way home a convertible full of young guys pulled up alongside us at a stop light. I down from the pickup onto the car. 
They were drinking beer. 

As a favor to them I told they they ought to keep their beers out of sight and the driver lipped off at me.

"I'm doin' you a favor and you smart off at me?" I shouted. Then I fished a greneade out of the pail, pulled the pin, flipped the spoon off and tossed it into the convertible.

The kids panicked and bailed out. One screamed that we were disgruntled Vietnam veterans as they were always being badmouthed in the news back then.

The light turned and we drove off leaving them scattered and awaiting an explosion that would never come.

The next day was a spring day and we were finishing up my shopping. I went to Penny's for 501 Levis and Pendleton shirts. I bought about a dozen of each and threw the package into the pickup. We dropped them off at the Doctor's place, packaged everything and decided to get lunch in Seattle and afterwards visit a certain tavern near Fisherman's Wharf.

We spotted a pretty good looking chop suey joint and decided to check it out. We had to drive about three blocks to find a place to park. We parked and wandered  in and were seated. We ordered and a young Chinese guy was our waiter. I think he was an actual Chinese guy from China instead of some other Asian. Some non-Chinese were hopping on the bandwagon and opening Chinese restaurants.

Incidentally, back then it was not unheard of  to hear someone call a Chinese restaurant a Chop Suey joint. It was a carryover from San Franciso and it had worked its way up the coast. I guess in this day and age a colorful term like that is some kind of slur but back then it wasn't. 

The original chop suey was a meal whipped up for late night customers. The cook would chop up the day's leftovers and cook them up for the San Francisco miners, sailors and other late night party goers. The San Franciscans started calling it chop suey and the name stuck. There really was no set recipe for the original chop suey. 

Chow was delivered and we ate and I think it was the Doctor's shirt that gave us away as Alaskans. The waiter commented and asked us if we were fishermen. When we confirmed it he started fishing for a big tip.

He'd heard the stories of fishermen leaving a $100 bill for a $10 lunch before and made it obvious he was fishing. I was mildly insulted but the Doctor was really irate. He later said things like this happened to him often.

I didn't know he had a grenade in his pocket and he turned to the waiter, said "Here's your tip!" pulled the pin and tossed it at the waiter. The waiter caught it, looked at it and said, "Oh, no!"
Then the waiter threw it as hard as he could away from himself and it hit the tempered plate glass store front window which crumpled into a million little pieces. It kept going and a passing car stopped it with its windshield, sending spider cracks through the glass. Two windows for the price of one.

Panic hit the restaurant! People gasped in horror. The car outside came to a screeching stop.

The waiter was running in circles shouting 'Oh, no! Oh, no!" It was pretty comical. The car owner was out of his car screaming bloody murder.

The Doctor and I simply and calmly walked over to the shattered window and stepped out onto the street and walked fifty feet past the car and its cursing driver unnoticed. I spotted the grenade on the sidewalk where it had bounced off of the car's windshield and grabbed it.

 We moseyed a few more feet then ran like hell to the pickup as fast as we could. When we got there the Doctor hopped in and fired it up while I covered the rear plate with a bandana. Then I hopped into the bed and laid down on my belly with my arms and legs spread. I knew I was in for a wild ride.

We hauled ass and started making turns as fast as we could for a while. A 1954 six cylinder pickup isn't a Ferrari but we did what we could. I slid around quite a bit on the turns. After a while we stopped and I pulled the bandana off of the license plate and got into the cab.

We then returned back to the Doctor's mom's place post haste, carefully  obeying all the traffic laws. When we arrived there I looked at the Doctor.
"Well, Stanley, here's yet another fine mess you've gotten us into," I said.

Obviously we skipped the tavern visit.

We decided then and there to leave for Alaska while we could. We packed immediately. I carefully stuffed the rest of the grenades into the middle of the duffel bag containing the stuff I had bought for my friends.We then hit the road, driving east for an hour or so before winding through the backroads to Blaine, Washington where we entered Canada during darkness.

It took several hours but we crossed over in the night and headed north and camped out for the night a couple hours north of the border in a cheap campsite.

The following morning we were on the road headed north to the Alaska highway and had a pretty good trip back to the Rock.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY


  1. Pic, this is funny as hell. I'm on AM now with OLD gear. Usually hang out on 3885 KC.

    Philip KA4KOE

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