2/02/2010

South Pacific or Les Mes, You Decide

Here's what I had in mind when I thought "anywhere south and warm." Yesterday I took the pickup in to a transmission shop with the intention of doing what I'd read about on-line, which was, have the transmission flushed and add a can of Lucas magic transmission fix-it. But the mechanic said a flush would likely make it worse so I just added the magic bottle of fix-it and decided I would head a bit south, anyway, but not in my own truck.

I called up the folks at Enterprise Rental in Germantown, a suburb of Memphis, and reserved a pickup for today, Tuesday. Remember that episode of Seinfeld, where Jerry reserves a car at a rental agency and the whole episode is about the fact a reservation implies you actually have a car to rent? Well, that's coming. But first, my Garmin navigator decided there was no such address in Germantown and I spent an hour trying to get to an address that was only 20 minutes away. This is the 3rd time my Garmin has malfunctioned and led me on a wild goose chase. But with multiple phone calls to and from the rental folks, I arrived.

Minutes go by while I'm filling out forms. Then a phone call comes to Joe, who's waiting on me, telling him that somehow, someone else had rented out my already reserved truck and they didn't have one for me. He laughed, embarrassed, I laughed and reminded him of Seinfeld. He offered me a cargo van. He showed me a little mini-something or other, then made some phone calls. They'd found a truck for me, a larger, nicer one than I'd reserved, but it was an hour away. I'd take it, I said and went off to get some breakfast.

My truck arrived and Joe gave me a loaner Garmin since mine was being useless and sent me on my way. While I waited, we talked about writing and gardening. Once again, I crossed paths with a very fine fellow. In my own business we always try to treat our customers like we would like to be treated and it was a nice start to the day to have Joe at Enterprise Rental, treat his customers that way, as well. Once again, my day started off with an interesting and helpful person.

So where did I head? To McMinnville, the wholesale nursery capital of the world. I used to drive to McMinnville every spring to buy nursery plants and have not visited the area in nearly 25 years. I used to have a favorite restaurant there, the Gay-Low, where all the locals went for lunch and I collected several recipes from there over the years. I learned tonight from a local lady, the restaurant's been closed for years.

Speaking of food, I was tickled when my friend, Alan, took me to a new place, Brother Junipers, in Memphis for breakfast. It's one of those great out of the way eating joints that only the locals know about and this one  made me downright envious of people who can find a place like this on a whim. Such places do not exist in my neighborhood. Imagine a place where the locals go, where it's a mixture of professors, professional & working people, students and local folks. The service was outstanding, the food was great and the waiters even offer you a cup of coffee to take with you afterward.

Alan and I both had the Firehouse Omelette: a 2-egg open face omelette, spread with guacamole, topped with grilled chorizo, black beans, jalapenos and salsa and topped with grated cheddar cheese, served with cheese grits and homemade biscuit. I'm not sure where our waiter, Zach, learned to be such a good waiter so young, but from what I saw, the entire wait staff was well trained. The wait for a table was about 30 minutes and well worth it. Zach said the original Brother Junipers restaurant is in San Francisco, but this one's been in Memphis for a couple of decades. It's at 3519 Walker Ave. in case you're ever in Memphis and want the best breakfast in Memphis (they've got the awards and plaques on the walls to prove it).

So the days of being snowed in and iced over in Memphis could have been like Les Miserables. But I had a delightful evening with my cousins Bob and Myra and family over dinner one evening. Alan and I explored the best kept secrets of Memphis eating establishments, and over and over again I met folks like Melverdia and Joe and others who just proved there are a lot of really fine folks out here in the world and I'm just lucky to get to meet them. Now, off to the wholesale nurseries and see what the plant world has to offer this spring.

3 comments:

Steven Anthony said...

great car rental guy, great waiter, good food, sounds like a wonderful time;)

comfrey cottages said...

what is the name of that wholesale shop jim? so glad you are getting a chance to be around alot of green:)it is a special day when we do run into people who are happy to do their jobs and be of true service. brother junipers sounds like a wonderful place! love that photo! well, what could have been difficult bumps in lifes roadway were smoothed by helpful people and friends for you:) that rocks:)

Christine said...

Jim:

Glad you had some good times mixed in with the bad while you were in the Memphis area.
Brother Juniper's is legendary so I'm glad your friend took you there. It is definitely off the beaten path.
Today we're getting 8 inches of snow. Not as bad as DC but bad enough. Kids are happy. Adults, not so much.
Chris Gang