Bowling & Burgers

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.

I hope everyone is doing well.  We had our daily “Dixie Stampede” this morning at opening time.  The only things missing were cowboys and cowgirls on horses.  Our show is not as good as Dolly’s, but then again, I don’t share the same attributes that she does.  Usually it calms down in here after the first hour, so my suggestion would be to shop mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

I am not trying to flood you guys with emails, but my mother asked me to keep them coming.  She is staying in due to her age, so she enjoys having something new to read.  I think I could find something better to read than my musings, like a phone book or something, but she’s my mother, so I will do my best to honor her request.

My family has been staying at home for the most part. The kids’ online schoolwork started yesterday, so that has locked them down.

Several days ago, I wrote about things you can do during “social distancing”.  One of the things I mentioned was writing notes to people, which seems to be a lost art.  Well, I and the store have received several handwritten notes in the last couple of days.  I want you to know they mean a lot to us! I have also received several emails that I really appreciate!  I also mentioned learning a song on an instrument or experimenting with cooking a new recipe.

This week my daughter decided she wanted to learn to play the guitar.  She picked out a song that she wants to learn and play for a friend.  I thought this isn’t going to last long.  She will get frustrated and give up.  Later that evening, I heard music coming out of her bedroom and asked my wife if that was YouTube and she said no, it was Lauren.  She obviously picked it up quickly.  I am still waiting for that to happen to me.

My wife also tried something new.  She made lasagna.  I asked her if she had ever made lasagna before, and she told me this would be the first time.  It turned out great, and it was even gluten free!  My son is perfectly content skateboarding, so he really hasn’t had to find new things to do to occupy his time.  Last night I grilled legs and thighs…Well crap!  I just remembered while writing this, I took home okra to fry to go with the chicken. Oh, well!  Fried okra goes with anything, so I will do it next meal.

Tonight, we are probably going to do carry out from J.C. Holdway, which is a restaurant downtown. Joseph Lenn is the chef/ owner of the restaurant, and an alumnus of Butler & Bailey.  We have remained friends since he left the store and try to support his business as much as we can.  While he is known for fancy gourmet dishes, one of my favorite things he does is a cheeseburger.  I don’t know what he does to make it so good, but it is good!  Almost as good as the burgers from the bowling alley.  I think one reason I like it so much is it reminds me of the bowling alley burgers.

When I was growing up, one of the things we did for entertainment was going to the Western Plaza Bowling Lanes.  They were right next door to the Ice Chalet on Kingston Pike.  My friends and I would go to bowl and always calculate how many games we could bowl and still have money left over to buy burgers in the little restaurant they had.  I think the burgers were probably less than fifty cents apiece, but that was a lot of money to try to come up with when you were a kid back then.  One trick we learned in our desire to raise more money for burgers while we bowled was to run around to all the empty lanes looking for change on the floor.  You would be amazed how much change people lost or left behind after leaving their lanes.  Thinking back on it, they probably knew they dropped change but were smart enough to not pick it up off the nasty floor under all the chairs.  As a kid you don’t worry about things like that.  You just love the thrill of finding money…and getting more burgers!

I am sure the lady cooking the burgers always dreaded seeing us coming.  We would just dump all of that dirty change on the counter and ask her to cook however many burgers we could get for the pile of change.  Plus, I don’t think tipping was part of our vocabulary back then.  We would do this repeatedly throughout the day, until all of our resources ran out except for the dime it took you to call your parents to come pick you up.  I am not sure Joseph would want his burgers compared to bowling alley burgers since he is a famous, award winning chef, but in my mind, it’s a compliment.

I tell you all of that to tell you this.  We are all adapting to the way we do business in these times.  Obviously, I am one of the few lucky ones that have a business in high demand.  Most are not as fortunate.  So, I hope you will start or continue to support all of our local businesses.  A lot of them just survive week to week in good times, so it becomes really difficult for them now.  So, get some carry out food from your favorite restaurant and continue buying products from any other businesses that have remained open.  It will make a huge difference moving forward!

Once again, thank you for all of the supportive letters, emails, and compliments you have given to all of us here at the store!  We all have a part to play to get through this, and the personal touch we can offer each other, even if it is six feet away, is the most important.

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

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