Monday, November 30, 2015

Strange Call(s)

Working in a small town bar offers numerous opportunities to be enlightened or stupidified by the stories and anecdotes of our fellow man. Plenty of conversations at the bar have left Mike and Melissa shaking their heads in wonder, dismay or shock. (Don't get us wrong, plenty of conversations add to the beauty of humanity as well, but those stories aren't quite as entertaining.) However, it isn't everyday that multiple phone calls end up being the primary source of confusion. Yet, Saturday, November 28th, provided a most memorable series of phone calls to The Burlington Place that left Melissa shaking her head and Mike rolling his eyes.


Call One.

Melissa: The Burlington Place, this is Melissa.

Female Caller: Hi Melissa, do you have spaghetti sauce?

M: Uhm...we have pizza marinara...?

F.C.: this not the store?

M: Nope, this is the pizza place in town.

F.C.: Do you have the number for the store?

M: I don't know it off the top of my head, let me ask...


Call Two.

Melissa: The Burlington Place, this is Melissa.

Male Caller: Hi, can you tell me what's on tap tonight?

M: As in, what we have for beers on tap? (because this could also be understood as a question regarding whether or not we were hosting some kind of event on a Saturday night, right?)

M.C. Yeah.

M: Uhm, well we have Atlantic City Gold, Saddle Bronc Brown and Black Butte Porter.

M.C. Okay.

M: Are you planning on coming out for a cold one or coming with a group for dinner?

M.C.: Oh, coming with a group.

M: Well, we recommend calling ahead if you plan on dining in.

M.C.: Okay, thanks.

(Follow up; no groups came in that were particularly concerned with our tap selection)


Call Three.

Melissa: The Burlington Place, this is Melissa.

Male Caller: I'm calling about the crow hunt.

M: Okay (lots of ensuing conversation about the details, how to pay, how to participate, did you know the number on the poster is wrong - why yes I did, good for you for Googling, etc)

M.C.: Well, I thought maybe there was just one farmer who hosted the event in the field, you know so everyone can have the same opportunity, so it'd be more about shooting skill.

M: Well, generally people just get permission to shoot wherever, some take it pretty seriously with calls and decoys, others just want to drive around and shoot at shit every once in a while.

M.C.: Chuckles, okay, well we'll call later this week and let you know if we're in.

M: Sounds good, thanks.

(Follow-up: Melissa is relating the conversation to Mike and patrons, because she doesn't know a lot about crow hunting, but is pretty sure being in the same field would yield about 20 minutes of shooting opportunity before all the crows would wise up and leave that field for the day or season. Mike reflects on the phone conversation and concludes, if we hosted the event in that way, it'd likely be a skeet shoot...not a hunt

Note, we understand where the caller was coming from and his desire to have access to a place with plentiful crows, equal opportunity, less opportunity for cheaters to cheat, etc - Just not sure how that would play out in real life.)


Call Four.

Melissa: The Burlington Place, this is Melissa.

Caller (soon to be identified): Is Mike there?

Melissa: Mike Harrington?

Caller: Yes.

Melissa: He sure is, is this Tom?

Caller: Yes. (mumbles about the IRS or some such thing while Melissa hands off the phone to Mike)

Mike and Tom: Back and forth conversation of this sort

T: Blair's has Bourbon County Stout, why didn't I see Bourbon County Stout at your Place?

M: We have it too.

T: Why didn't I get some? You're a bad salesman.

M: We have it, I'll make sure you get some.

(Continued on and on with plenty of accusations, chuckles, "apologies" and promises of letting the crow counting judge have one for his services next weekend.)

Generally speaking, phone conversations at The Burlington Place are pretty straight forward:

1). Are you open/what are your hours?

2). We'd like to make a reservation for _____ people at _____ o'clock

3). I'd like to place an order for pick-up

So, having this series of phone calls, in one day is absolutely out of the norm, but good for a few chuckles nonetheless!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Memories: A Pre-Thanksgiving Reflection

I am grateful for the power and potency of memories. I love the opportunity to reflect on all the moments before that have fed into this particular time and place: the way our table will be set with linen napkins in honor of late Grandparents who valued such things, the way we'll chuckle about holidays past and the ways we enjoyed them as children vs. how we now enjoy them, the way we'll take a moment to remember all those who aren't gathered with us whether due to death or distance, the way we'll remember our own celebrations from far off lands and all the friends who filled in for family on those occassions. These are the memories that tie the present together, keeping us rooted to the past and giving us the wings and courage to enter all the unknowns, all the new settings for new memories.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2014: #tbt4tht

As we prepare to add a new set of Thanksgiving memories to the files, we joyfully reflect back on Thanksgiving 2014 - the Thankgiving of "no-parents, no-rules!", Williston, ND.


The years 2013-2014, for the extended Harrington clan, saw some fairly major changes. Big moves: across the state, to other states; graduations and the beginnings of grad programs; engagements, wedding plans and a wedding; business start-ups; and all the small, bric-a-brac that accompanies life - giving fullness while also contributing to all the mundane. Therefore, as Thanksgiving 2014 approached, the Harrington children and their partners in crime (be it dog, spouse or both), were eager to spend the holiday creating a new, different set of memories, specifically a set of memories, that regrettably would leave out the parents.


With satisfied bellies and a recently walked mutt, Mike and Melissa continued on and after having endured blowing snow and the flat-flat lands of North Dakota, were welcomed into the home of Molly and Landon. As one would expect (regardless of whether parents are present or not) the foursome cracked open some beers, found some snacks and caught up, made jokes and plotted the Thanksgiving festivities.Prior to Mike and Melissa entering the scene for a Harrington Thanksgiving minus Tom and Patty, they took a minor (read, major) detour through Spearfish, SD in order to share a round of drinks, fine lunch fare and heartfelt hugs with Melissa's parents and sister/sister's family clan. A cozy lunch stop at the Bay Leaf in Spearfish left Mike and Melissa feeling the true warmth of the season regardless of the frigid temperatures outside (and unbeknownst to them, the long miles yet ahead on their journey to Williston, ND).

The following day saw the arrival of Katie, Zuma and friend of the two, (soon to be friend of us all) Kristina.The day was spent baking, snacking, boozing (seriously: no-parents, no rules!), lounging, being impressed with Kristina's ability to win over the sassy little Lady Annyeong. As the dinner hour made it's appearance we opted to shove ourselves into one vehcile and head over to Williston Brewing Company (which ironically does not brew any beer of their own - BUT do provide a decent selection of local brews, so...) Full bellies, lots of laughter and a continued mantra of "No Parents - No Rules" lead the Williston Thanksgiving clan back to Chokecherry Lane for shots of Patron (with cinnamon sprinkled orange slices rather than salty limes...a VERY good idea), Rumchata Root Beer Floats, Apple Crown on the Rocks, glasses of wine, bottles of imperial stouts and imperial black IPAs, and on and on.

Thanksgiving morning brought with it the tried and true American tradition of enjoying the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Meanwhile and throughout, Landon began preparations of the big meal and the day carried forth with all the makings of a perfect holiday meal: Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, the whole works! With full hearts and fuller glasses of wine the clan sat down to enjoy all the holiday had to offer. Games of Pandemic, viewings of football/futbol and of course boozing (including Bloody Mary's the morning after) rounded out the holiday weekend on the whole. While the entire clan knew that having had parents would have changed little in terms of thier holiday enjoyment, the mantra of "No Parents - No Rules" carried them through and will forever summarize Thanksgiving 2014. Among the most memorable of holidays, when all were young adults, conquering change and putting tradition (new and old) at the center of all things to be carried into the always unpredictable, always full, future.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Life Snippets hosted by Lady Annyeong: Fall 2015

Fall highlights from the perspective of the "Lady of Abode 212":

  • Winter arrived later than usual, which meant more time lounging in the backyard.
  • M 'n' M have finally figured out how to "help" this Lady warm up to visitors - FOOD! I have met some new friends, of course they are only friends after handing over a treat (cheese-sticks being the #1 choice).
  • Mom thought it'd be real cute to dress up as a cat for Halloween, truth: it wasn't that cute, I'm far cuter without a costume!
  • Dad likes to throw me in his loud, rickety trucks to drive to town. The Alabaster Disaster (T.A.D.) kind of freaks me out, but I do adore cuddling up next to him for our weekly trip to town, so I''ll deal with that bit of inconvenience.
  • I had this AMAZING habit of storing my dry dog food all over the house, in case I got the midnight munchies. Apparently, this annoyed my humans - they commented it was something like stepping on, their solution? Feed me wet dog food. Let me just say, this is all my doggy heart needs to be fully satisfied, I don't even mind not being able to store food for munchies, this food trumps all that dry, hard food I'd been forced to choke down over the years.
  • Mom has made a solid habit of journaling, reading, praying and drinking coffee in the mornings. This means, bonus cuddling and having a giant bed to lounge on for an extra 30 minutes everyday - pure bliss. She's also decorated the room a bit better (one of hte guest rooms that is) and dad even put some shelves up recently to store all their beer...seriously, the things they do in the name of "research" - I should say I'm starting a cheese stick factory so I can just eat all the cheese sticks I want and claim that it's my "duty".


Fall lowlights from the perspective of the "Lady of Abode 212

  • Mom and Dad left me alone, twice, in September - for a wedding and beer-filled, Denver weekend - seriously, how can leave this sweet face behind?
  • Mom went back to work at the school and there have been some "busy" nights at The Burlington Place, which generally means I get a few less if I can handle only having a huge back yard to run around in, so much neglect in my days.
  • The parents also got a hot tub this summer, finally set it up this fall...which means, they go outside more often, but guess who has no desire to get into the hot tub? This mutt. So what good is this thing that takes my cuddle people away? No good, no good at all!

Well, as my people would say: Cheers humans! If you come a knockin' you better be holding a cheese stick!



Monday, November 23, 2015

Will Trade: Pizza for Donuts


Since thier first fall here in Burlington, Melissa has heard rumors of mythical, magical donuts prepared by a particular, deep-rooted, Burlington family. These home-made, legendary, donuts are most commonly available on All Hallows Eve. However, for the Harrington's, being well over trick-or-treating age, without any children in their care AND having to manage a bar...there have been few opportunities to seek out these highly acclaimed morsels.

This year, the third Halloween of Mike and Melissa being present in Burlington passed with only a small teaser. Melissa begged and pleaded with numerous high school students who had stopped at The Burlington Place for their fill of candy, and eventually the Harrington's were recipients to one (only ONE!) of these sweet treats.

However, the youngest son of the ever-famed donut making family, assured Melissa at school the following week, that these home-made donuts should only be eaten fresh. This particular conversation lead to Melissa striking a deal that the next event which warranted the preparation of donuts, would be the ideal time to hold some fresh donuts aside and deliver promptly to The Burlingotn Place.

So it was, on the evening of Friday, November 13th, a caller rang into The Burlington Place, asked for Mrs. Harrington and claimed to have some fresh donuts available. Payment required? A simple, one topping pizza. Could it be done? You bet your sweet tooth!

Therefore, prior to some kind of crazy, unpredictable pizza rush on Friday the 13th, Mike and Melissa each devoured 3.5 home-made donuts, just the right amount to see them another TBP Friday night. This moment in history also marks a true coming-of-location, the creation of a root, the deepening of belonging, the truth of feeling as if one is truly a member of a long-standing community.

Cheers to donuts that give you roots!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Great American Beerfest: #TBT4THT

Here we go, a Throwback Thursday for The Harrington Times.
Since re-entering the blog world, I've discovered some true #tbt moments, some drafts which are simply titles, yet speak to the stories I wish would have been recorded. As I work on getting those out of the mines, I figure I ought to work on some more recent memories, moments from the past, but not quite so long ago. I figured, since most of my undone posts are beer related and the stories I most "recently" kept at the forefront of our blog space were beer-related, I might as well take a relatively small step back in time and re-experience the Great American Beer Fest (GABF, if you will).
GABF, is as Mike explains, the World Series of Beer. It is the beer event of beer events, if you have even the smallest love of craft beer, your sudsy-fermented-beverage-loving tastebuds want you to take them there. The challenge, however, is getting your hands on a set of tickets to this highly prized event. Fortunately, for Mike and I, we entered our proprietorship of The Burlington Place well aware that relationship building would be an essential ingredient to our happiness and success. Not only did we seek to build relationships with patrons, but additionally with our distributors, sales-reps and delivery folks. One such relationship, with our Budwieser distributors (who also distribute plenty of fine craft beer) has been 100% rewarding...especially when they have a handful of GABF tickets available and know that the TBP couple would love them and take full advantage of all the perks. Therefore, four tickets in hand, Mike and I made our way to Denver, meeting up with Dave and Julianne en route and began a weekend of sipping as many 1 oz. beer pours as possible in a 5 hour period.
Some key experiences and insights from our time at GABF:
  • Veterans of GABF come adorned with pretzel necklaces, smart
  • You should go in with a strategy...or develop one quickly. Mike went for the try-any-sour-ale-available strategy whereas Melissa went for the if-it-was-aged-in-a-barrel-it-should-be-rolling-down-my-gullet strategy
  • Brewers are a very clever bunch considering we drank beers named: Morning Wood, Beavers Milk, Hopspresso, Sodbuster, Good Juju, Helluva Caucasion Stout, Melt My Brain, Sunday Morning Stout and Biere Joi (among plenty of others)
  • If you have a cousin in the beer industry - you might just run into her while attending GABF
  • Alas, if you've been emailing somebody in the craft beer/brewing industy, you might just run into him while attending GABF (and since few people can promote craft beer so well in a small, Wyoming town, you just might be a bit memorable)
  • You CANNOT taste nearly as many beers in a five hour time span as you think you can, however, 1 oz. pours can help you on your way to buzz-dom
The evening of GABF festivities was filled with meandering and sipping, comparing and hoping that you would not end the evening with a last call of something less than fitting of your personal style. (Note to futue attendees: beware of the drunks who grab a pitcher off a breweries table, claiming it's their pilsner yet having no true idea what it could possibly be all the backwash and watered down beer that gets poured've got it, random pitchers). Fortunately, if your last call is a bit off color, you happen to be in downtown Denver with plenty of great dining and snacking options. For us, that fine dining option centered on the desire for wings and a lack of desire for researching our full options, so we ended up at Chili's for an assortment of appetizers, a watermelon margarita and a recap of the best beer moments. (One conclusion: Short's Brewery was one of our all around favorites - crazy flavor combos - gin and tonic beer, key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, bloody Mary, etc. and super AWESOME tap handles!)
So, having had an eventful evening running around America's greatest beer fest, the Sunday after is best served by heading any where that has a Bloody Mary bar and allows for some good eats, fresh air and golf, obviously. Therefore, head to a Top Golf. As our good friend Dave explained, Top Golf is like bowling meets mini-golf. In essence this means, you have your own "lanes" or bay complete with clubs, golf platform and wait staff service directly to your table. It also means you don't actually have to know much about golf to have a good time (similar to mini-golf). Ultimately, you're guaranteed to have a good time sitting, lounging, chatting and boozing it up with friends (and family if you're double lucky! - Thanks Mark and Calley for coming all the way out to see us!)
With beer from the previous night finishing it's marathon through our livers and bloody Mary's to satisfy our typical Sunday morning craving we headed back toward Ft. Collins to depart from our GABF company (only after a typical, epic-proportion, liquor store stop - because, why stop at 1 oz beer pours when you can take a few cases of specialty brews that aren't available in your own market?) A few long hours on the road lead us through Douglas where we stopped for wings and pizza (since we're obviously experts in determining quality of such things) and then continued back to reality...serving our own fine pizza along a killer selection of craft beer!

Cheers friends!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Winter Arrival at Abode 212

True to many locations around the state and region, we've had a most lovely, mild fall and are still awaiting the first big snow.

Considering that this summer Mike built a most dreamy patio in our back yard and we've even managed to adorn said patio with a hot-tub, I'm a bit more excited about winter and piles of snow than I have been in previous years. So, when Wednesday morning came with a quick little spit of snow, I looked out upon our patio and imagined a long, cold winter holding my favorite glass of red wine while sitting in a tub full of 104* water.

Winter sure will be lovely. I'm not dreading her arrival in the least!

Reviving The Harrington Times

In the previous week we have:

  • Hosted three groups of 20 diners; amid the usual smattering of two-tops, three-tops, four-tops, etc.
  • Prepared 209 pizzas for dine-in and take-out (in a town of 288 people)
  • Enjoyed steak and eggs for Sunday Brunch, prior to going to work selling pizza and beer
  • Watched Dracula: Untold while devouring squash and pork enchiladas
  • Received a gift of New Glarus brews from a set of hunters that literally come through once a year
  • Shot a pheasant (Mike, specifically conquered this task)
  • Began conducting a few flight searches in hopes of some spring travel
  • Prepared a menu for Thanksgiving to be hosted at Abode 212
  • Looked over numerous math tests to assist students at Burlington Schools (Melissa, specifically conquered this task)

And now, some thoughts on reviving the blog space.

Truly, there is no surprise that in opting to start a small restaurant/bar business has left us with little to no spare time. To that avail, blogging was among the first hobbies to find itself on the back burner, the back burner of our Laramie home nonetheless. So, a bit of searching and reviving, a bit of time management and adjustment has lead me to digging out a new pot. A new pot that will likely find itself on the back burner, however, it will at least be the back burner to our new home, our Burlington home, the home we affectionately call Abode 212.

In terms of managing a blog that was initiated with the purpose of chronicling big and mundane moments of a life together, it seems a bit overwhelming to jump into our story three years from the previous post. If we’d peacefully lived under a rock in those passing days, weeks and years, it’d be easy to pick up the story from there. However, we’ve been busier than we’ve ever been as The Harrington’s. We’ve learned infinitely more about running a business, tax structures, small town politics, regional success, old buildings, home-ownership, cocktail recipes, the service industry, hosting family and friends while working multiple full time jobs, etc. And personally, I want some of those stories chronicled. I want a resource, a place, where I can return and remember all those moments: big, small, mundane and heel-click worthy.

So, perhaps the next three years (and the previous three) will be presented in the least chronological of order The Harrington Times has ever known. Perhaps this “phase” will quickly die out and chronological order will be the least of any of our worries. For now, I’ll look forward to regaling any wayward readers with the latest tragedies and comedies of our little Burlington life. Fortunately, in this age of the “hashtag” I can easily take advantage of #memorymonday, #throwbackthursday/#tbt and #flashbackfridays/#fbf in order to document the moments which would otherwise get left on the back burner of our sweet Abode 212. All these moments, past and present, feeling ever crucial to the make-up of our lives, worthy of recording, of remembering and of sharing.

Cheers to revival friends! Revival of a blog, revival of stories and revival of writing habits (a personal favorite).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...