“Oh, Woe! Celebrating With A Full Liter!”

(July 31, 2018)

Next time,* fool!, ‘member!

you wanted a half-liter!

Drink your punishment!


*(Patrick Story is at fault: his co-conspirator Christina Hollerbach.  I came into The Willow Tree Cafe in downtown Sanford just ‘fore noon and wanted some help.  Patrick known for his helpful ways flung at me a welcome surprise: Ayinger Celebrator on tap!  I had always had to schlep around the corner to the German deli, part of The WillowTree co-dominium at Magnolia Square Market and now joined up with Hollerbach’s Outfitters to make a complete “connection” with The Cafe to get my “fix” of the dark, delicious doppleboc in bottles with the oh-so-charming plastic goat charm hanging from the beer bottle’s neck which I so crave – the beer, not the baubble.  I got my problem solved, and then my eyes got the better of me: I sat right down inside the central receiving station – without services of a “seater,” which mostly is my wont anyway…had a new book from the library I wanted to start and was in no noontime bugaboo hurry.  Diane saw me and laid a hand over one of my shoulders: “Is anyone helping you,” she inquired solicitously. I smiled: “No, dear.  I just walked in. No one knows I’m here, and it’s fine: all the others I imagine have things to do.  I don’t mind waiting.” No one seated you, she semi-scolded between the two grinning eyes and smile she bestowed.  “What would you like to drink?” Said I, “A liter of Celebrator and a side of water. And, yes, I know what I would like, but go ahead and see to your other guests and when you’ve got the time and the beer has settled a bit I’ll tell you.”  In a few minutes – I had almost finished the Author’s Notes after the acknowledgement and foreword, Diane came back with a monstrous heavy glass stein full of dark chocolate thunder.  “She had passed off the water unannounced en passant as it were. The split pea and ham soup I intoned and a side salad…which I knew was wrong…been replaced by an updated version with lightly dressed greens, some tomato slices, cucumber half-moons and carrot shreds with baguette slices and butter. Heaven.  Diane did not hover, but as she passed she made her presence unobtrusively felt, asking, finally, if I would like more bread and butter: the liter was half done and so were the soup and salad.  “How can I refuse the staff and the goddess of life – bread and butter – which serves as both starter and dessert and does stellar duty as a middle, too?” She rolled her head instead of her eyes, still all a-smile and whisked away.  Before long she was back with not two but three fresh warm slices of dessert. “And, Diane, Dear, would you be so kind as to find a Bee Sting cake for post-dessert foil for the rest of my beer?” Not only would she could she and she did.  Same amused and amusing an unobtrusive smile. Why am I so unsurprised to find out she and Doris – the favorite waitperson at WillowTree for my Sister-in-Law Jeanne and brother Storm – are good chums.  Totally unsurprising. And, the new menu for Willow is out.  In all those years…seems like more than 13 which I have found myself face-deep in a favored few dishes despite chef Patrick and Chef-Owner Theo Hollerbach’s ever gleeful attempts to broaden my palate, the price for the fabulous Eisbein(sp?) has risen to a whopping 3 or 4 dollars in all those years.  Hurry. Before the staff finds out the new prices!  Christina scolded me when I mentioned the shockingly low prices – considering how much it costs to put on a good feed these days – and the Empress of All Things Willow – and Beyond – had time to chat for a few moments before her next meeting of the day arrived.  Mama Linda Hollerbach not only gained a wonderful son in Matthew but a fully in-charge daughter in the process.  All I got was this wonderful soup and salad and bread and butter. And beer.)



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