dust boatman view thought





from honey it seems


Over the years, the art of letter writing has been fading.  Phone service to literally any place in this country, or in this world for that matter, is reliable and pretty much affordable.  Smoke signals still work, and some of those newer fangled technologies seem to be catching on with many people.  So for some of us who are away it has become more than a little special to actually get a real letter with news from home.  As rare as they get, I look forward to them even more.


Reading a newspaper, maybe another fading human activity, can usually bring you up to date on what is going on and what people are up to.  But the newspapers just cannot document our world as well or as entertainingly as a letter from Honey.


She always starts with you know I miss you baby.  Why do you have to be so far away?  And everyone else, so close.

The dining room at the hotel has been busy.  Ray has been close to sober most days and making great steaks and chops and his goofy little Swedish meatball dishes.  He is cooking on gas, and other propellants.  We’re up to eight or nine servers Friday and Saturday nights. 


Ray had the busboys move all the four-tops closer together and lined them up along the front windows facing Leroy Street.  He brought in six round tops that seat six, or eight real tight.  It is tight on the weekends and we are turning tables.  A quick dessert and no refills on the coffee and they have to go.  We have a one hour wait at times.  Can you believe it?  At the Finland Hotel, isn’t that surreal?


Ray keeps the kitchen open until ten now.  He cannot stand very well by then, or walk a straight line or touch his nose, but then nobody in law enforcement is shining a big flashlight in his face and telling him to touch his nose, so why would he want to?  They don’t bother him anymore, not since Leo asked your friend Tony to have an associate named Bruno stop by the police station to chat with the chief and make a few suggestions. 


Things just seem to work out for the best sometimes. The chief has been enjoying his new fishing boat and Ray is off everyone’s list.  He sits in his captain’s chair in the kitchen next to the cooler talking politics with himself mainly and giving directions to his close up crew in between his sing along with Sinatra and Hank on the dining room jukebox.


Princess Lynda Bear has kicked him out of her cabin on Lake Ponemah, again.  So he is staying upstairs on the second floor in the closed hotel rooms, at the top of the Finland.  He’s got the whole floor to himself.  Nobody has rented any of those rooms for years.  You know how clean and neat he insists on keeping his kitchen and dining room.  He is the same upstairs.  Baby, you could eat off his floors, but why would anyone want to?


Ray and Spenn cleaned up that second floor conference room that overlooks Leroy.  That huge walnut conference table and the twelve leather high back chairs still look great, and so formal.  Like you would see in the state capitol building, I guess.  The connecting room is Ray’s living room, couches and chairs and brass floor lamps arranged on Persian rugs, and two televisions.  Ray’s bar upstairs is as well stocked as downstairs.  He thinks of it as his executive office or gentlemen’s study.  His very select gentlemen friends by invitation only.


Tony Jack and Reverend and their pin-stripe sidekicks drive up most Saturdays, and you know they’re tippers.  Ray holds a table for them no matter how busy we are.  You don’t want to keep Tony Jack’s group waiting.  Steaks medium well, Pabst in bottles ice cold, and Leo behind the bar keeps the scotch on the rocks streaming to their table.  All comp of course, but there is always a big wad of twenties left on their table for me, and Spenn, and the kitchen and the other girls.  They all usually wander upstairs to Ray’s abode to play cards and spill drinks on the walnut conference table for half the night.  Leo and Ray join ‘em after we’re closed up.


I stopped by the Virginia Tavern on my way home to say hi to everyone.  You know they ask about you.  Rolly is there playing pool.  He is so cute.  He and Lou let me win at pool and shuffleboard and buy me drinks.  They always help me make some of the shots and show me how to hold the cue.  They are so nice to me. 


And she signs it love, love and more love and love, forever yours, or at least until Hank finds out. 


Love and stuff,      Honey