I was inspired to go to the legislative coffee in Wilson this morning and I haven’t the slightest idea why. Probably it’s because I like to circulate and visit with people rather than enjoy too much solitude. I have plenty of time left in my life for the latter. With an estimated crowd of 3,000 to 5,000 in Wilson today, finding someone to chat with wasn’t a problem. Going alone is never a problem for me.
The legislative coffee at Al’s Bar and Grill was well attended with people coming and going…maybe 60-75 in all. The front room was comfortably full and there were people in the back room. The back room is really the front room as it opens on to the main street but most people like me use the “back door” by the kitchen and cash register so that’s the front to me. The kolaches were delicious and very Czech. They were Adolph’s treat.
All the queen candidates were attired in traditional Czech costumes which provided photo ops for those with cameras. Josh Svaty was the main attraction, as he always is, for all the obvious reasons. He had on a Czech vest and looked handsome as ever. He’s very informed, said a few words then fielded questions from the crowd. The word “charismatic” was coined with Josh in mind. That was very evident when a couple of people dominated the floor with argumentative, non-general questions that would have been better addressed at another time. Josh is cool and collected, and always attentive.
Sen. Jay Emler of Lindsborg was also there and offered similar answers. With redistricting, Sen. Janis Lee will no longer be our representative beginning about the year 2005, if I remember correctly, and Jay Emler will be our Senator. After a long, personal and very successful relationship with Janis who has “always been there” for us, Jay will be a change and take some getting used to. Jay lives a lot closer to Ellsworth than Janis so we’ll hope he can be here as often and represent us as well as she has. He seems like an easy fellow to get to know.
Before the coffee I put my chair in the shade in front of La Shiro’s Boutique where La Vange was passing out free sodas and maintaining watch over her thousands of bolts of cloth. I put my broad-brimmed hat and water on my camp chair and trudged off to visit with “people”.
Jennifer Kepka and others were selling hoska, kolaches and cinnamon rolls in front of Sincerely Yours so I bought a large loaf of hoska, which looks delicious, and carted it back to my car which I parked squarely in front of the door to the Midland.
Congressman Jerry Moran was late for the legislative coffee but was there for the parade, as he always is. He does things right and is definitely Presidential material, as people in the crowd kept saying. Mike Zamrzla, Jerry’s aide, needed some help with Jerry’s long banner that people across the state have signed to send to our troops in Iraq, so I held one end down while Mike decided how to anchor it to the table. After trying sugar shakers from Al’s and a couple other things, he came back with bricks and large rocks which were the answer to combating the banner-whipping wind we had this morning. Then I forgot to sign it and wandered down the street. Sigh!
I don’t think I’ll go to the parade next year. Well, I say that every year. I used to love parades, the kind that were designed to entertain…where there were floats all decorated with interesting, colorful displays and bands had to be spaced apart so the music of one didn’t interfere with that of another and you could learn the true meaning of the Doppler effect. All that is a thing of the past, around here anyway, and now parades consist of a couple miles of advertising. Vehicles with entry numbers and advertising. Even the type of vehicle doesn’t seem to matter.
First, every emergency vehicle from Wilson and adjoining towns flooded the parade…sirens blaring so I sat there with my fingers stuck in my ears for half an hour until they passed. After that there was an assortment of old cars and farm equipment, earth movers, trucks, motorcycles and anything that runs on wheels, people throwing candy and advertising whatever they have to sell or promote. Most didn’t even wash their vehicle before the parade. It is B-O-R-I-N-G! After an hour of that, there were a couple saddle clubs that brought up the rear.
There was a new addition this year to signal the end of the parade…a street sweeper with large whirling brushes spewing water to spread thin the horse pucky that appeared on the street from the last parade entries. Parades just aren’t the same anymore.
After the parade I gathered up my belongings, put them in the car and walked into the Midland…found my way to Drummers and a cold Czech beer…Czechvar! Ah, how lovely. The place was cool and the beer was icy, as advertised. It was nice. Bruce B. sat with me awhile and visited. We always have topics of common interest to discuss. Then young Carl J. sat awhile and we chatted about his son’s wedding and other assorted things. By the time my food arrived at noon Dick and Heather joined me for lunch.
What I learned during the course of events was that the last piece of kitchen equipment (it’s all new) was connected late Wednesday afternoon in the Midland kitchen. No wonder they were in a bit of a scramble on Thursday when I was there. The friend who was the “connecter person” for the kitchen equipment also told me he gets paid off next week, plus 6% interest, on the long-standing law suit that I blogged a year ago. It is finally fading away with, I believe, all the subs being paid with interest. One large law suit remains to be heard.
I visited with John Eichelberger, the kitchen manager and chef at the Midland, who said he served 460 meals there last night. Adolph V. had told me earlier that he had eaten there and that it was excellent. He also said Drummers was packed full and a peck of fun last night. John was prepared to serve between 1,200 and 1,400 meals today….so I was wrong in my earlier comments about that. I didn’t imagine on Thursday that could be possible, but that’s what he said and I’m sure he knows all about it. He is capable of and accustomed to serving ten times that many people. I’m glad I gave him a call when I did about the chef opening at the Midland. He is too.
They only had one choice of food today and it was very good….two slices of roasted pork tenderloin, a smoked sausage, mashed potatoes topped with dill gravy and wonderful sweet-sour sauerkraut that tasted homemade. It was $7.00, the Czech beer was $3.00, both including tax. That is very reasonable and in keeping with prices the people in the know had quoted. Rumors have been circulating about outlandish prices at the Midland and they simply aren’t true.
I visited with Marion Vaughn, the manager, before I left and she said they are going to make every effort to have the main restaurant open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. with Boomers open from noon to 11:00 p.m….and until 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
It’s well worth the trip to Wilson to enjoy a meal at the Midland, either upstairs or down, and take a look around at the wonderful accomplishments of the Wilson Foundation in restoring this beautiful old railroad hotel. I believe they are going to see a lot of traffic from their neighbors if today is indicative of how they can perform. It is a tremendous addition to Ellsworth County and one in which we should take great pride. We need to support each other.