Monday, March 20, 2017

Thespis Ate Here

image from

Thespis Ate Here

Is it possible disdain should die while she has
such meet food to feed it on as Benedick?”
--William Shakespeare

Sense memories often collide with recall as the
tattered pages of the past reassert themselves.
In the mid-70’s, when I was actually paid to be an 
actor, I was on a Bus & Truck Tour sent out by the 
Seattle Rep, performing in a classic comedy, SEVEN 
KEYS TO BALDPATE, originally done by Jack Benny
in 1935.

We were on the road for six weeks, performing in four
Western states. One of the stops was in Winnemucca,
Nevada, setting up the show in the Richard Nixon Civic
Auditorium. This is a high desert town, famous for its
colorful cluster of casinos & cathouses.

Actors only get Mondays off, and during one about eight
of the cast visited a local Cajun restaurant. Oddly it was
set up with long lines of white-washed picnic tables. It
was family dining, with no menu. You paid a flat rate &
they brought you whatever they were serving that day.
It was “all you could eat”. As a vibrant group of mostly
young & always hungry Thespians, we were delighted.

There were four servers, and they started off with tall
chilled pitchers of wine, juices, & soft drinks. Then 
came a cavalcade of salads--classic green, caesar, 
fruit and pasta. Ten minutes later they bought out huge 
hot platters of meat--beef steaks, chicken, & pork roast,
accompanied by steaming pots of vegetables--green
beans cooked with bacon, broccoli dripping in tangy
cheese, & asparagus spears seasoned with Cajun
spices. In addition there were several kinds of potato
& rice dishes. We devoured the food as if we had just 
broken a fast. When we were stuffed, they cleared the 
tables and brought forth the rich desserts--cakes, pies 
and puddings.

Two years ago I revisited the spot where that restaurant
had been. It had changed to a Mexican establishment, so
we ate there anyway. As I munched my enchiladas, my
mind buzzed with the particulars of that fabulous feast
from forty years before.

Meals from the past must
remain there since memories

have no calories.

Glenn Buttkus

13 comments: said...

Smiling I am -- over so much about this post.
* You have led a very interesting life, my friend!
* So a role / play frequented by Jack Benny eh? I grew up in Waukegan, Illinois, the proud home of Jack Benny. Used to sit with my dad and watch our big console tv to see Jack Benny and Rochester. I was much chagrined to learn that I was in the wrong neighborhood to go to the new Jack Benny Junior High School that was built when I was in 8th grade.
* yep -- meals remembered can be the best, without the calories 😊
Enjoyed this very much.

Victoria said...

I'm smiling, too. I had a "gentleman" from Winnemucca try to hit on me in Reno while I was waiting in the bar for my husband after work for dinner. I was alone but had ordered a pitcher of Margaritas that would be shared with another couple. Guess he thought he had a real winner on his hands. Gotta love the spirit of the wild west!

Toni Spencer said...

This sounds like so much fun. What a wonderful memory to have and what a meal! It is sad that the place was gone and replaced with a Mexican restaurant. But thankfully there are still places like that dotted around the south and in Cajun and Creole country.

brudberg said...

What a blessing to have those calorie free memories *smiles* ... I remember still the days when all you can eat seemed a limitless opportunity... I hope you didn't bankrupt the place though :-)

Frank Hubeny said...

I liked the haiku with the part about the calories. A lot of places I used to go to when I was young are no longer there. Some for the better, but not all of them.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Wow this is quite an adventurous meal! I love how you recount your memories taking us along for the ride.. mmm .. I might wanna try enchiladas..!❤️

Wolfsrosebud said...

things change over time... i remember daddy taking us to a all you can eat chicken out in the country on a lake... serving buffet style over 50 years ago... never did find that place again... bet your group got hungry after a hard week's work.

Kim Russell said...

Ah! A quotation from one of my favourite Shakespeare comedies! 'He is a very valiant trencherman; he hath an excellent stomach'.
I enjoy reading about your days in rep and film, Glenn, and this is an excellent anecdote. I'd never heard of Winnemucca,Nevada - that has to be a Native American name - I wonder what it means. Always hungry thespians at an all you can eat restaurant sounds fun! Not sure about all that meat, though. So true, memories have no calories.

De said...

Oh, MY. This made me so hungry, Glenn. So well described. :)

Mark Walters said...

I'm glad to learn that memories have no calories. They sure did the day I ate it all up. I appreciate the humor there. That's an odd location for a Cajun restaurant. Sounds good though

indybev said...

What fun that you took us along for that experience of 40 years ago! Such a happy memory!

Bekkie Sanchez said...

Made me hungry! It is dinnertime here in CA!

hyperCRYPTICal said...

I love these buffet-type/all-you-can-eat feasts - but I am certain I have never savoured one as wonderful as you describe.

The haiku is excellent and made me smile - a lot!

Kind regards
Anna :o]