Monday, September 10, 2007

Dreams About No Smiles

I've had some funny dreams this week. One was about the guy who always worked the meat counter at Ken's Market, the place nearby our home in Oxnard where my parents would occasionally send me to pick up meat for a barbecue. The guy would never say anything more than necessary; he'd hand me the package of meat and go back to what he was doing. He never smiled. I never had a conversation with him.

I flashed from age twelve to age twenty. I was stationed at Fort Ord, and visiting my favorite place to pick up lunch, a German deli near the airfield in the town of Marina. It was run by a German couple and the wife's sister. The women were friendly and outgoing, but the husband just carved the meat and made the sandwiches. He never smiled. I never had a conversation with him either.

I was puzzled as to why I'd see those two guys again in my dreams, but then it came to me: there was magic in those places. Ken's Market had the old fashioned type of meat counter, where you'd give your order to the guy and he'd prepare it and wrap it just for you. The German Deli in Marina had the magic, as evidenced by the number of guys in military flight suits waiting in line at lunchtime. Maybe that's why those two taciturn men were featured in those dreams: it was my week to revisit magicians.

Soon after Rhonda and I got married in '94, we spent some time in Monterey, and I took her to look for the German deli. Although Fort Ord had closed down, the deli was still there. The German couple and the sister were still running the place. I told them that I hadn't set foot in their place in fifteen years, but that I'd been a regular in the late seventies. The wife smiled. "We get a lot of people coming by who were customers when stationed at the base," she said. I wasn't surprised. I took my first bite of the Reuben, and I knew the magic was still there.

The husband? He still didn't smile, but I did get a nod from him. I would never ask more of a guy who works magic.

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make an eating establishment a long-running success, to be sure. But the most important ingredient, I'm convinced, is magic.

Damn, now I'm hungry. I wish it wasn't a five-hour drive to Monterey.


David said...

You scare me sometimes! LOL! I started work on a weird dream post yesterday morning...
And, now I'm starving... Think I'll head over to The Blue Star for a Reuben.

Hal Johnson said...

Strange things happen, David. Years ago, I was sitting in the pilot lounge at work. I was imagining the opening credits to the old TV show, "My Three Sons." I could see the four (five?) pairs of feet, but I couldn't remember the theme music. About five minutes later, when I'd moved on to other daydreams, Roger Searcy walked in whistling the theme song to "My Three Sons." When I told him that I'd been thinking of that show just minutes before, he didn't believe me. Can't say I blame him. There are undercurrents in life, ey?