The Route 1 corridor, stretching from the Bowl-O-Rama Family Fun Center in Portsmouth to the Route 101 cross in Hampton Beach is a ten-mile stretch of road littered with restaurants, markets, and take-out joints. There are two Burger Kings and two MacDonald’s. There is a high-end steak house. An old Friendly’s restaurant has been transformed into something new and interesting.
There are options, but many of them are not much fun when a woman is hungry and alone.
When I visited Reggie Black, we ate out a few times. We ate at a Chinese restaurant; I had forgotten how tasty dumplings could be. With a happy memory of a shared meal in the back of my mind, I called a restaurant in North Hampton. I had ordered take-out from their restaurant once many years ago. They have an excellent reputation in the area and they sell some of their prepared foods to local grocers. Their on-line menu listed dumplings.
What could go wrong?
“Can you hold?”
“Hold” meant the receiver was placed next to the cash register and I listened to the sounds of the restaurant. It was an interesting four minutes. Most of it revolved around a discussion of whether a customer wanted white rice or brown rice. “Are you trying to lose weight?” There was some counseling provided.
Then, I heard a door open and a voice said “Oh, HI LARRY!”
Peals of laughter came from the voice and Larry.
As I continued to listen, I thought of the many times I had driven by this establishment and seen a late-model European sedan parked in front. A local North Hampton nabob would be picking up a bag of take out.
Was this Larry?
The little lonely part of me that just wanted some happy memory dumplings was devastated. The little part of me that seeks justice in an unjust world was upset.
I hung up the phone, defeated and hungry.
I stopped by a local meat market with a gleaming deli counter. The deli-man was pleasant and prompt; I got a pound of sliced American cheese. A loaf of bread from the Fantini family comforted me.
I got home, made a cheese sandwich, and went to bed.
I hope Larry got some dumplings.