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Just Like Ireland, but Different

I clicked an item off Elaine’s bucket list this past week. Elaine has wanted to go to Ireland. She doesn't always want to go to Ireland, she waffles between Ireland, Iceland, and Peru. Of course, then she realizes that would mean flying in a plane. We end up seeing Ireland, Iceland, and Peru on the internet. That’s OK with me, all I would be missing is the food and I can find food right here.

Elaine advises all that fly to remember to wear natural fibers on planes. Natural fibers do not catch on fire like polyester and plastic fibers which have a tendency to melt when ignited. Consider this information a public service announcement from Elaine to you. You’re welcome!

Elaine is fascinated by countries, that first, have a lot of sheep, (fiber animals), lots of green vegetation, and in Ireland’s case, whiskey. OK, that last part might have been me, Elaine doesn’t care about whiskey.

Getting back to my handling of Elaine’s bucket list. I took a trip this past week. I saw the sheep Elaine loves so dearly. I saw incredible green vegetation. Green pastures as far as one could see. Incidentally, you could see really far. As a matter of fact, the sheep at times were really far away. Sometimes you need to squint your eyes to see them.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I noticed something strange. Sheep were grazing with cattle.

Now I have seen, maybe hundreds of cowboy movies and television shows and everyone knows if sheep are grazing with cattle someone needs to kill all the sheep, cut down all the fences, and murder the shepherd. I didn’t see any of that.

For those of you that I have piqued your interest, I saw whiskey. Whiskey was everywhere. It was in bottles. It was on advertising posters. I actually saw it in glasses.

Obviously, I didn’t go to Ireland, leaving Elaine at home. I went to Northern Wyoming. I’m telling you folks if you want to see BEAUTIFUL green pastures with sheep, cattle, and pronghorn antelope, don’t waste an airplane ride to Ireland. Drive up I-25 to Sheridan and enjoy. Whiskey? Forget Jamesons, Sheridan has “Just Ledoux It” whiskey. If you’re are wondering, yes, “Just Ledoux It” whiskey is named for and after Chris Ledoux, God’s gift to bareback bronc riding and rodeo songs. (Not country, not rock, you know rodeo songs.) If you want, you can stop in Kaycee, Wyoming. (Chris’s hometown) It is right on your way.

It wasn’t a perfect trip. I don’t feel I took one for the team, but the trip was far from perfect. One of my brothers had business in Sheridan, I offered to “ride” along. When I made the offer, I was recovering from an extended stay in the hospital. I thought it could be beneficial to my mood. (It was beneficial.)

My brother and I talk often on the phone but rarely see each other. This was going to be nice.

Me: I’m thinking about going with you to Sheridan. Bro: That will be great, I’ll call the motel. Me: Let’s make those arrangements later, a lot can happen and I won’t be able to go.

I realized I had a cardiologist appointment on the same week as the Sheridan trip. The appointment should have allowed me to take the trip and get home with plenty of time. As luck would have it, the cardiologist called to change my appointment to the exact day we were heading to Sheridan.

Me: I can’t go. I have an appointment with the doc. The doc changed my appointment to the day we are leaving. Bro: I was really looking forward to this. Me: OK, I’ve been waiting for this appointment since I left the hospital (almost two months) but I’ll see what I can do. I’ll call the cardiologist to change the appointment.

The doctor's staff were very helpful and changed my appointment to the exact time and day of the appointment they had changed before. (Not kidding)

I telephoned my brother to make the motel reservation; I was going with him.

My brother texted me to inform me he had successfully obtained a room. My pre-teen and early teen years were spent sharing a room with this very brother. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I had to pull his finger. It has been fifty- plus years since I pulled that finger, I couldn’t chance that he would want to play again. I needed my own room. Besides, my doctors have prescribed medications that “allow" me to use the restroom at least ten to fifteen times a night. I wasn’t doing that to him. It is bad enough that I am up all night. Elaine and Price(something) found my own room.

My brother had heard of a “regionally“ famous pizza parlor north of Sheridan. He was really excited to try this pizza. We drove north of Sheridan to find this special pizza. We drove for maybe an hour looking for pizza to no avail. No one that we asked knew its whereabouts. Some of them looked at us like we were crazy. Bro called his kids and they informed him the pizza was south of Sheridan. Oh well! We drove south of Sheridan.

The pizza parlor was located in an upscale “suburb” of Sheridan. It was in a historic district of this “suburb”. The building looked like an old west general store. What made the pizza special was it was cooked in a SMALL wood-fired pizza oven. Small is the important part.

Bro and I were greeted by the staff of B#$ Ho*& Me%^ Pizza. We were asked if we would be dining in. We were told of the special of the day. It was a chicken, basil, and onion pizza.

Bro: That sounds good, let’s get that. Me: Looks like we are getting our own small pizzas

I ordered a small pepperoni and cheese. Do people really eat chicken and onions on pizza? Double yuck!

We waited over an hour for our pizzas. The owner came by our table to inform us we were next. Another fifteen minutes passed. If you know anything about wood-fired pizza ovens, they cook pizzas really fast.

I had enough, I went to the order counter to complain. I was told we were warned they were extremely busy and the wait time would be more than an hour. I politely disagreed and explained we would not have waited an hour for pizza no matter how special. I was told we were the next pizza to come out of the oven.

This time the staff was correct, the pizzas arrived at the table seconds after my return to the table. The waitress launched the pizzas at the table. Did I say launched? More like hurled, sending pizza, plates, and napkins all over the table.

The owner came to the table to explain, well, explain, deny, and even fib. She wanted me to know the waitress was having a bad day She said the young lady was the establishment’s best employee. She did not want to hear I thought she should be fired. Soon the waitress came over or was sent over to apologize.

I’m not sure why she would apologize, according to her and the owner she did not hurl the pizzas. Do people apologize for things they haven’t done? She didn’t like me calling her childish and telling her her apology meant nothing to me. I asked her to please let us finish our "average at best" pizza.

There was a table of three women about my age across the aisle from my brother and me. I know they were about my age because I overheard them, they were celebrating the birthday of one of the women. After the fireworks between me and the waitress, the birthday girl said to me,

Woman: What did you think of the pizza? Me: Average at best Woman: I’m from Chicago, this is not pizza. Me: My wife is from the Chicago area. This is certainly not Chicago-style pizza. Woman: What do you think of the Mexican food around here? Me: This is my first day here. Woman: I’m from a Mexican neighborhood in Chicago. These people have no idea what Mexican food is.

I was beginning to wonder where this conversation was going. Bro was more interested in the pizza than the conversation. He continued eating, “enjoying” his chicken and onion pizza.

My brother’s granddaughter is scheduled to have a wedding rehearsal dinner at this establishment next month. I wish them luck.

Does this (construction language) happen to everyone, or am I the only one? Just asking.

The next morning was equally interesting. The motel had advertised a continental breakfast. The motel desk clerk proudly informed my brother and I that the motel had hired a new subcontractor to run the restaurant. The clerk gave my brother two vouchers for breakfast. Bro had paid for a room with two beds. Two beds, two vouchers. It was exactly the same for me. Two beds, two vouchers.

Bro and I decided to meet for breakfast when the restaurant opened at 7;00 AM. At the restaurant, we were seated and given menus. The menus showed the main menu and a continental breakfast menu. The continental breakfast was limited to three options. Option #1: One egg, one piece of bacon, toast or muffin, choice of drink. Option #2: One egg, one piece of bacon, one pancake, choice of drink. Option #3: Choice of cold or hot cereal, fruit (sorry we’re out of fruit), choice of drink.

Bro told the wait staff he would like Option #1 and #2 with coffee. He had two vouchers. I said I would like the same. Bro drinks black coffee, I like coffee with a little cream and the sweetener in the yellow package.

Two black coffees were brought to the table. I asked for cream and yellow sweetener. The host brought out a single BLUE sweetener. He proceeded to tell me blue and yellow are chemically the same, just manufactured by different companies. The next thing I have to say will surprise some of you. I didn’t feel like arguing. I had seen some yellow sweetener in the motel lobby. I walked into the lobby and picked up four packages of yellow sweetener. I picked up some cream for good measure.

Back at my table, I opened one package of sweetener and added it to my coffee. The host soon was back at the table to refill our coffee cups. After filling my cup, he grabbed the remaining yellow sweeteners and left the table. He did not take the empty yellow sweetener package.

Does this happen to everyone or am I just special?

Bro allowed me to drive his truck home. His home, not mine. Elaine was going to pick me up in the town Bro lives in. (Cheyenne). I might have been exceeding the legal speed limits on the drive home. Somehow there was a miscommunication with the time Elaine was to pick me up in Cheyenne. It is possible that my apparent disregard of the speed limit might have had me/us in Cheyenne a little earlier than expected. I was in Cheyenne before Elaine left our house, an hour and a half away. I sent Bro home and I sat in a Denny’s restaurant for that hour and a half until Elaine arrived to take me home


Thinking about the trip maybe next time I will just go to Ireland.

It is time to get serious. I dislike this “holiday.” Those of you that know Elaine and me, might know that we lost our son on Memorial Day weekend in 2005. Alex was not a war hero or any kind of hero. He was just our son. We will remember him every Memorial Day.

God Bless the men and women who lost their lives so I can write this (construction language). I’m sure if in another country I would be in jail by now.

God bless you guys, buy yarn.

Our crazy lives!



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