A week or so ago, my wife, Susie and I trekked our way North from Florida to Indiana. I did get a column for my weekly effort as well as an aggravated backbone out of the ride. We left our fifth wheel in Florida so this necessitated a stop in a motel. Advertised “Continental breakfasts” can be a crapshoot ranging anywhere from an apple and a dry muffin in a paper bag (Erie, Pa Red Roof Inn) to a spread with real coffee and real, honest bacon (LaQuinta and Hampton Inns). Anywhere, our Motel stay is where I found material for the column that follows.
Shame on You
My wife, Susie and I just completed a 2 and a half day trip from the warmth of the Deep South to our home in a frozen Indiana. We spent the month of November attending to some duties we had to accomplish in the Florida State Park where we volunteer during the winter. However, there was never any thought given to celebrating the Christmas holidays away from our family and friends so when December rolled around, Susie and I started making plans to head north.
The easiest way to get home would have been to call the Airline and book a flight but our dog, Poco, was going home with us and she hates flying more than I do. Susie considers her a member of the family so there was no way we could leave her behind. On the other hand, for obvious reasons, Fiona II, our home on wheels, was left in the Campground.
This 1150 mile drive was not a trip any of us, including Poco, were looking forward to. There is nothing new to see and over our years of travel, we have grown tired of being cooped up in the truck for hours on end so we decided to split the trip up into 3 days of driving, spending 2 nights on the road in Motels.
I don’t leave our choosing of motels to chance. I have a list of questions that I always ask the clerk. When I got a lady on the phone at a motel in Cordele, Georgia, I started the interrogation.
“What’s the rate with an AARP or Triple A discount?”
“Are you close to the Interstate?”
“Are the beds comfortable?”
“Are the non-smoking rooms really non-smoking?”
“Is the parking lot well lit?”
The answers were all satisfactorily answered, but before I made a decision I had one more question. Even though I only frequent Motel chains that I know include at least a continental breakfast, I asked the clerk: “Do you serve breakfast?”
“Yes Sir,” the lady said enthusiastically. “We have a wonderful hot breakfast including omelets served your way.” Wow! I decided to look no further. She had me at ‘Omelets’.
The reason for that is I’ve been a big fan of Omelets since I was a kid growing up in the late 1940’s. Although now that I stop to think about it, I’m not even sure that Omelets had been invented yet. I suppose what I remember eating was not an omelet but it certainly could have been at least a precursor to this dish.
On special occasions, my mom would fix us a big breakfast with bacon and eggs. She would fry the bacon, remove it and then drop our eggs in the inch or so of bacon fat that remained in the skillet. -That’s the way we fried eggs in those days. I guess we had bigger arteries back then.- When she set our plates on the table, I would chop up my eggs, runny yolk and all, into a yellowish white mess, crumble the crispy bacon over this and then tear up small pieces of Honey Krust bread and drop them into the pile. My younger brother Ron had already developed a sense of order in his young life and was a person who would grow up to be a fastidious diner so naturally he protested vociferously.
“Mom, Gordon is making me sick.” Our mother agreed with him.
It didn’t get any better when I got older. When we first married, I tried to serve this treat to Susie and she sounded just like my mother. “Good Lord. That is sickening.”
Now when I look back on those occasions, regardless of whether Susie or Ronnie recognized it or not, I believe it’s safe to say that right there in my mom’s kitchen, I had invented the omelet. I’m tempted to file a patent claim and the fact the ingredients were a bit unusual is the only thing stopping me.
When we got to the motel, the weather was cold and wet so we went to bed shortly after arriving. Thoughts of an omelet had me up early; eager to have an omelet my way. I was already planning bacon, peppers, some broccoli, Colby cheese and a medium hot salsa to top it all off. When I got to the dining area, there were no omelet fixings anywhere in sight. I asked the girl wiping off the coffee pot where the omelets were and she pointed to a dormitory size refrigerator on a table in the corner. A little warning bell went off in my head. Inside the refrigerator, I found 2 little plastic wrapped pale yellow things about the size of a Pop Tart. ‘Cheddar Cheese’ was all that the wrappers said. I held up the package and the girl at the coffee pot shook her head in the affirmative.
Obviously, my idea of an omelet was not the same as theirs. I had been fooled again. As I looked at this product lying limply in my hand, I wondered if it had come from an assembly line deep inside China. No way am I putting that stuff in my mouth.
I turned to pack up and go find a Cracker Barrel as Susie’s words from long ago jumped into my head.
“Good Lord. That is sickening.”