Sunday, November 12, 2017

A very happy Veterans Day....

Burp.  I ate my way through Veterans Day 2017.

There were invites by more than one eateries and I availed myself of a few.

I even received a vet's voucher for a free haircut!

Don't remember doing this before but it WAS the 60th anniversary of my becoming a U.S. Marine.

Living in Charleston back then, my Reserve Unit had merely shipped me down to Parris Island in 1957 on a Greyhound bus.

My lunch on Saturday was at Chili's, a national chain restaurant that had a special menu to treat veterans.

My plans were to go have a free seafood dinner later so I chose the Old Timer burger. With cheese.

Very fitting...for me.

The restaurant was packed with happy - and hungry - vets and families.

I had no drink or desserts so no check was presented. I handed my server $5 as a tip and hope everyone else did so.

My choice for dinner was Hyman's Seafood and I saw many G.I. haircuts as I sat at the bar downstairs.

I also saw some salty dudes with no hair.

"Thank you for your service" was heard all around me.

Hyman's offered a free entree up to $20. I chose to enjoy their Crispy Flounder at $18.95.

Along with a Palmetto Amber, the restaurant would not be losing much with the $20 freebie for vets.

I sat next to a nice-looking young couple and when I showed my red former service ID card, he asked if I was a Marine. I replied that I was and found he too was a Marine and his wife was Air Force.

They asked what I did in the Corps and I said my MOS was combat still photographer. They said they knew others with that title and I added Being in 1957-1960, I was fortunate never having been under fire.

Down the bar I saw a man with a David Letterman-like very full white beard.

Have no idea if he actually WAS Letterman but the retired talk show host had to be somewhere and Charleston would have been a good choice.

Hyman's places small brass plaques on tables showing what celebrities had sat there but I don't think they add those to the bar seats.

It was my first time NOT sitting at a table so I was enjoying being among the chattering crowd being seated or stepping inside on a brisk evening, waiting for their names to be called.

Nobody else seemed to think the bar patron was Letterman so I focused on my flounder, hushpuppies and the mac and cheese side.

Oh, and my local craft beer.

I had had my hair cut the day before and my regular barber noted it would have been free the next day.

He suggested I stop by on my way to my Veterans Day lunch and he would give me a voucher for a free haircut, to be used before the end of December.

I have had a beard for a year now so the picture shows me a few years ago, posing in front of his shop.

I usually have my hair cut every 5 or 6 weeks, so I am sure I will use this freebie before the end of the year.

(I am about to shave off my beard so this is a reminder to me of how I will look again.)

Hmmm, I also stopped wearing glasses after successful cataract operations so I won't look exactly like that again.

My evening ended when I stopped by the newest craft beer Brewery - MUNKLE - and chatted with the Owner/Brewer R. Palmer Quimbly.

He opened a few weeks ago at 1513 Meeting Street Road and stated the only beer he would brew would be Belgian.

"No IPAs here, ever. They are too hoppy and burn your palette."

I mentioned I had been in Belgium, taking a train down from Amsterdam, and had enjoyed my time - and beers - I had in Bruges.

He poured me a tasty Bruges Brun (Brown ale) and pointed out his dog, sitting in the corner, was named Brugges, the Belgian spelling.

He also pointed out items of furniture he had refinished and showed me photos hanging on the wall of familiar Belgian sights and sites.

One included the famed Half-Moon brewery where I had continued my beer education.

I said I had been told there are more than 7,000 beers brewed in Belgium, with a special glass for each one.

"Quite possible," he said, pointing to his large collection of glasses on display.

He added they were here because his wife wanted them somewhere else. not at home.

Next week there will be a stout added to his offerings. I like stouts and porters and the cooler weather is a good time to brew and serve them.

I mentioned I had bought several of the Kwak glasses, with their distinctive wooden glass holders.

I also have a collection of much taller Yard of Ale glasses in similar holders.

They are daunting to clean (breakage) so not used very often.

When Backstage Deli closed a few years ago in North Charleston near Otranto and Rivers, the owner was kind enough to give me a complete set.

These - including the wooden holders  - started with the "Yard," then the "Half-Yard", the "foot" and even the "toe."

I have not seen the full array in any bar and would hesitate to ask for a "foot" or a "toe" of ale.

Glass displays are just that - something to show - although in Bruges, I did have beer in different shaped glasses.

Travel is so broadening.

I finished my Brown Ale at Munkle and, when I asked for my check, he said "Thanks for your service" and I headed home.

What comes after a trifecta?

I had four good treats on this year's Veterans Day.

(Click on the links and photos for more details.)

Can't believe it was 60 years ago when I arrived at Parris Island.

I also can't believe I ever weighed only 140 pounds!

Semper Fi.

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