Postcard #12- Deux Gros Nez

Posted on April 16, 2011. Filed under: Postcards | Tags: , , , , , , |

"I miss DGN" Postcards

Great photos of the Deux:

YouTube video from the annual DGN race- Nancy and I can be seen on the 20 second mark:

I miss Deux Gros Nez. These days I am missing it even more than usual. Maybe it’s because the weather is finally warming up and that calls for a Snickers frappe at midnight. Perhaps I’m craving a scone with blackberry jam and whipped cream with my Sunday paper. But I think the real reason is that even though the building, steps, and awning are still there; the heart of California Street is gone. There are some snazzy stores on that block and if I wanted to I could buy a delicious hotdog, a pair of flamboyant shoes or a fancy sandwich, but none of those stores have the funky vibe of the Deux.

I could climb the stairs and open the door, but only if I am there to discuss my catering needs with the owner of the building. Yet my memories of the place live on. The first time I walked up the stairs, the smell of coffee and the loud music greeted me and from then on I was hooked. It became the place where I could be quirky, loud, and silly it didn’t matter because it was where I belonged.

During the nineteen years I was a DGN regular, my friends and I ate the flowers, laughed, and had a great time, even at 2:00 in the morning. Drunken Scrabble with my friend Dan, Mrs. Walley, my last first date with my Auntie Joy and Auntie Laura “chaperoning” and drinking lattes at eleven at night and not figuring out why I couldn’t go to sleep that night are some of my favorite memories. Other favorites include enormous peanut butter cookies, handing out Feta cheese at the yearly anniversary party and my first legal beer where you can bet I sat at the bar and choked down the chunky Spaten. I could go on forever!

I have been thinking about how to end this essay and not sound like an Enya song and I have finally come up with this: Even though DGN is no longer open, I am still that funky person who sat at the bar and laughed at the “old people” (I am their age now). I take my memories with me because they have helped make me who I am today. I have to say that there are no flowers at the 4,000 Starbucks near my house and that I would probably get thrown out if I tried to eat them anyway.

Now it’s your turn- do you have a favorite meaningful place? Memories of the Deux? Share on!

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“Heart-Shaped Potato Chips” Postcard#1

Posted on January 24, 2011. Filed under: Postcards | Tags: , , , , , , |

I love potato chips. They are salty, crunchy, and such a guilty pleasure. I also love heart shaped things- leaves, cows with heart shaped patches of hair, and of course, necklaces from Tiffany’s. So when I opened a bag of Dirty Chips and found a perfectly fried and salted potato-shaped heart, there was no question what my first postcard for the 52postcards project would be. But there’s more to my choice than just the perfect combination of two of my favorite things.

The real reason why I chose the photo of a potato chip is because it reminds me of my Dad. If you are not familiar with my story, you don’t know that I have two Dads: Chuck, the Dad that gave me my curly hair and Harlan, the Dad that bought me my first Volkswagen Beetle (much to his chagrin) and then a set of metric tools to work on the Bug. I consider myself very lucky to have two Dads- each very different, but the same in so many ways.

Harlan loved potato chips, especially Lays Potato chips in the sunshine yellow bag. Each week, my Mom would buy a bag of chips (no wimpy Baked Lays for him) and put them in a kitchen cabinet. I don’t think she ever told him that a fresh bag had been bought and placed there for him (they had an understanding).

Later, he would get a pink bowl, fill it with chips, watch NASCAR and eat his chips with onion dip. There was always a dog sitting alertly at his feet waiting to be fed, I think at times, the dog ate more chips than my Dad.

When I would visit my parents, one of the first things I would do was to sneak a handful of chips, trying to be quiet as I ruffled the bag. My Dad would always say, “Who’s there?” and I would turn the corner and we would talk. This ritual my Dad and I shared came to mean more to me than just a bag of chips- it meant that no matter how crazy my life became, how hard school was or much I hated my job- my Dad was always in the next room waiting to talk. That meant the world to me. It was priceless.

My Dad died in April of 2009 and for awhile, my Mom kept a bag of chips in the house, but things have never been the same. Now when I really miss my Dad, one thing that helps me feel closer to him is to buy a bag of Lays Potato Chips. At least for a little while, I pretend that I’m back in my parents’ house with my VW parked in the driveway, stealing some chips, and I’m going to turn the corner and my Dad will be there, ready to ask me about my day.

So the next time you feel like you’d like to have a bag of chips to go with your sandwich or NASCAR race, grab a yellow bag of Lays Potato Chips and enjoy. My Dad knew a good thing when he found one.

Delicious Heart-Shaped chip

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