Saturday, April 08, 2006

In passing

I want to remember that it was in the April 2 issue of the Statesman, of all places (thank you Denise Gamino) that there was a long, long feature about the Book of Days killing. Austin was such a small town then. There are lots of photos; contemporary ones make people look old, old. It's nice to see Spellman's remembered (and also the old Steak and Ale). There's an on-line shrine to the Book of Days. I can't find any of mine right now and I never did enter them into my database of books, perhaps not considering them to be such. I also liked the Chron article about waiting on tables (and peripherally about running a restaurant in general). It answered the question that I've disagreed with people over for years and it's not the sort of thing that makes for a comfortable direct question to the person in question. I was right; one of the owners of Manuel's did wait tables at San Miguel way back when. I'll always be grateful to both of the owners of Manuel's. Back when it was pretty much a construction site before it opened, the weather was terrible, I was walking home, it was obviously going to take a long time, and I thought I should try to let people know what was happening; they unlocked the door and let me use their phone. Among the people speaking for publication are several familiar to us. Everybody was really quite circumspect. And there was no discussion of how important relationships are between the front of the house and the kitchen, although the Matt's waiter, familiar to us for ages and ages though never by name, does mention his busser. And speaking of circumspection (and of candor as well), this is evidenced in very different manners in two books recently read: one by Donald Hall and one by Ernestine Schlant Bradley. Each writer conveyed a strong sense of his or her personal character, though. If Hall had never written anything other than String Too Short to Be Saved he would have given pleasure to many readers, so it's never fair to be at all disappointed by any of his other writings.


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