and was ready to try out one of our favorite places, Old Milwaukee.
Zeke is the son of our dear friends Andi and Randy Melquist. His older sister, Johanna married our son, Del. Well, actually Zeke married them . . . but that's another story.
Zeke was born in the UK when his father, Randy Melquist was the principal of an American school in London. Randy met Andi, who is from Derbyshire. They fell in love, got married, and came to the US in the early 1970s. Zeke has dual citizenship, using his US passport when he flies into the US and his UK passport when he flies into the UK.
Another friend had also recommended the Old Milwaukee, so he was thrilled when it was open and we were able to grab a booth. Peg and I were already sitting and chatting when Zeke and him mom joined us. Zeke and Andi came in and sat down. Zeke's first question was, "Do they have the huckleberry pancakes?" Another patron jerked his head towards our table and said, "Hey, that's what I'm here for." I mentioned that Peg had just ordered two. Luckily, possible bloodshed was averted when there were enough to go around.
Zeke ordered bacon and eggs, the huckleberry pancake and a scone. I don't know where he put it all. We didn't know he was a member of the clean plate club. I only ate about half my S.O.S. and one sausage patty . . . and a few bites of Peg's huckleberry pancakes. Peg and I shared stories of our grandchildren, some of whom are Zeke's nieces. I think breakfast was a success. Zeke ate everything in sight and we all left full. More often than not I enjoy an occasional breakfast at Old Milwaukee with friends and bring home the bacon (so to speak) for Peg.
Peg and I went back to the office to get some work done before continuing on with our adventure.
We quit work a little early and left for dinner at Café Divino. We had a little extra time, so we took a detour and visited Stadium Video before seeing Jana in Old Town.
Stadium Video is located on Broadway about a football field from Stadium High School in the basement of The Harvester Restaurant. Stadium Video is owned by Tacoma City Council member Marty Campbell. We had heard about their great selection, so we thought we should finally take a look.
From cult favorites to British PBS series, I think you can always score something interesting at Stadium Video. I saw complete sets of The Avengers and one of my favorite mini-series offerings, Mapp and Lucia. Mapp and Lucia is all about a small English village during the 1920s and two social mavens who vie for supremacy. Dreams of conquest, politics, fool hardy plans, and great acting combine for funny stories about storm-in-a-teacup competitions. It's the same in every community . . . except the "great acting" part. Starring in Mapp and Lucia are Geraldine McEwan, who later played Miss Marple on PBS; Prunella Scales who played John Cleese's wife in Faulty Towers; and Nigel Hawthorne, who played the all-knowing civil servant in Yes, Minister. Great actors, great stories and a great production translates into enjoyable viewing and reviewing.
Even though it had been half a day since breakfast, I still wasn't too hungry, we thought that Café Divino is always a great place to munch on something tasty even when you aren't looking for a big meal. We were greeted warmly by owner, Jana Zimmerman, we picked up a copy of the Weekly Volcano, and we sat down in the middle of the restaurant to make our selections and read the paper.
Peg ordered a glass of Malbec, while I had a Sprite. We shared a Caesar salad, a white cheese and chicken lasagna, and a ciabata bread BLT. It was more than enough, but we still only left crumbs. The white cheese lasagna and the BLT were specials, so don't expect to see them on the menu (which changes almost daily for dinner). The lasagna was hot and flavorful. The bacon, lettuce & tomato on ciabata was exceptional. The slices of tomato were thick and luscious. The bread was fresh and the bacon was thick and crispy. It wasn't until everything was gobbled up that I realized that I had not taken a picture of anything. Oh, well . . . you lose.
We wanted to arrive at the Broadway Center in plenty of time to get a good parking space. We were almost an hour early, but it was already too late. The show was sold out and many people were about. There were four open slots in the small paid parking lot across from the theater, so we parked and read books and newspapers until the doors were opened at the Pantages. Right away we ran into our friend, David Gardner. David said, "I'm here to see Little Bill." I said, "Me, too." David is a guitar player and had played with Little Bill for a six-month gig. Little Bill & the Blue Notes had a hit tune in 1958, I Love An Angel, which was one of the first rock and roll songs I fell in love with. In those days he and his group relied on saxophones, which was my musical instrument of choice (in addition to the piano, of course, which I still play). I played alto at first and then added baritone to my short list. At Clover Park High School I played alto in orchestra and baritone in concert band. I used to loan my baritone to a friend who played in the Sonics. I grew up on and around rock and roll music.
Although I heard almost every other local band in the 60s live, I never attended a dance where Little Bill and his group was playing. I finally met him in 2010 when I brought him to speak at a TACID (Tacoma Area Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities) event. Since then I arranged for him to speak at another event at the history museum. Little Bill suffered from polio as a child and now only performs in a wheelchair.
At the age of seventy, Bill Engelhart can still hold the attention of the audience. He has a great voice for rock and roll and the blues. Over the last decade he has really found his own with the blues. He sang several Ray Charles hits and played bass for other songs as he let the talents of his sidemen take center stage. I think Peg and I liked Flip, Flop, and Fly the best of his solos. His drummer (Tommy Morgan) has been with him since 1962. His keyboardist (Dick Powell) has been with him for twelve years and his lead guitar (Billy Stapleton) for about eight years. Bill sent me a message on Facebook, "I had a BALL." I think everyone in the audience did as well.
Dick Powell did a great job with the harmonica, the keyboard, and vocals. Sometimes he would be working all three on the same song. Sweet Home Chicago was a classy, classic. Billy Stapleton had many solos through the opening set. He did a great job.
It was a strange crowd at the Broadway Center. I was tired and possibly easily irritated. Three people came in and took their seats next to Peg half way through Little Bill's set. With drinks in hand it was easy to see why they were late. They seemed to appreciate the performance. The man right next to Peg attempted to clap his hands to the beat of the music, but failed. He either had absolutely no rhythm or absolutely too much to drink . . . or both.
Seeing the far-away look in my eyes, Peg suggested I go home and return to pick her up after the concert. I hesitated and thought it over before agreeing. I picked up my coat, waved good-bye to several friends and drove home. Surprising soon, Peg called and I returned to pick her up. While she enjoyed Buddy's performance, the band played about three times louder than The Blue Notes. She waited for a standing ovation and then she bailed. Volume does not score points with us any more. As B.B. King would say, "The Thrill is Gone."
Peg and I weren't the only ones who had an issue with the loud music and this is not the first concert that was ruined for us by the volume. The opening act for the Marcia Ball concert we attended at the Washington Center for Peforming Arts almost blew us out of the theater. If it had continued we would have abandoned our front row seats and left. Buddy Guy got rave reviews from Peg and others. He commanded the entire stage as he played both the audience and his music, but it was just too loud. Two other viewers agreed with that the volume was disturbing and distracting.
We had a great one day adventure. We got to visit with an old friend and eat a very nice breakfast. We visited a excellent source for DVD entertainement and then an excellent source for wine and good food. Then I got to see Little Bill, Peg got to see Little Bill and a little Buddy. The day's adventure turned expensive when Peg announced after reading the program at the Broadway Center, that she wanted to see Jane Monheit, who is scheduled for the next big show at the Pantages. Oh, well. Sounds like fun.