HLS - The Letters Of Harvey L. Slatin

September 18, 1990

Hey, they’re, Udo!–

We have returned from our trip to Santa Barbara. As promised in my previous letter, comments of enduring interest on Gilroy, “The Garlic Capital Of The World,” the delay at Highway 101 in Paso Robles, and the house wine at Michael’s restaurant in Santa Barbara (not zinfandel) follow herewith.

The Garlic Capital Of The world is growing, like other world capitals in California. We stopped there for lunch at a Denny’s coffee shop, and found our dining companions garlic–odor free, which makes us think that Gilroy could be diversifying into other cash crops. We didn’t learn what those might be, because we had to press on to Paso Robles, where we expected to encounter a protracted delay on Highway 101 (southbound), the cause of which we could not learn from The Bee’s skimpy “Highway conditions” daily report. It turned out they were constructing a new bridge on one of the southbound lanes. The “delay” was non-existent because they don’t work on Saturdays. We smiled and pressed on without lowering our roadspeed by so much as one mile per hour.

In Santa Barbara we had dinner at Michael’s Waterside (brochure enclosed), a top—rated restaurant where we had eaten when it was called “Penelope’s.” The food is outstanding, but we would not return because they situate the smoking and non-smoking sections together, and we don’t want second-hand smoke with our food–especially after we ask for non-smoking. The prices are pricey, which was appropriate for the food, but not for the slow kitchen and table service in addition to the drifting smoke. The house wine is Zaca Mesa, which may not be available in the East because it’s a small winery, just north of Santa Barbara. It’s very good wine, but no Zinfandel was listed. It was also overpriced. If you ever dine in Santa Barbara, we recommend The Jetty, where the prices are moderate, the food is good (mostly seafood), the cocktails and wine are generous, and the smoking and non-smoking sections are widely separated. But if you decide to stick with Bickford’s, you are making a wise choice. The White Castle is O.K., too. However, you may want to have the next board meeting of Udobbs Press catered by Michael’s, which would be smoke-free because Santa Barbara is 3000 miles away from Stamford. See brochure for details.

A rumor is going around that Gilroy has been replaced by Fresno as the garlic capital of the world. One way or another we will still be able to get garlic. It’s good for driving away evil spirits and other undesirable people.

YOU CAN’T DROP THE WHEELCHAIR CONVERSION BUSINESS NOW! See enclosed news item! You have Zin (“Grapeseed”) Fandel hanging on the ropes! Furthermore, with each used wheelchair we can sell an instruction book, published by Udobbs Press, for converting it to a ten-speed bicycle! It is my considered opinion that you should reconsider! Please consider reconsidering.

THE ULSTER & DELAWARE deal must go through, even if no trackage is left. Keep Little Nell out there conning all the shares of stock she can. We should be able to buy the tracks we need from Lionel, which always has a lot of unsold stuff on its shelves. The big advantage of Lionel tracks is that they come already assembled, so we just lay them on the old roadbed. Then get the bicyclists off the existing roadbed, throw the Chamber of Commerce out of the Stamford station, and de-rail that Toonerville operation out of Arkville. That should take about forty-five minutes, with Anne’s clout. But do not even THINK of selling the line! Shipping costs for Udobbs Press will be zero! And you always wanted to be president of a railroad.

Just imagine hearing some oaf sneer, “That sure ain’t no way to run a railroad!” You clobber him with your gold-tipped cane (all railroad presidents carry one), and snarl, “You can say that when you’re a railroad president like me, Julius. Next time take the bus.”

Stepson and daughter-in-law and two totties have moved into their own home in nearby Rancho Cordova, where not a rancho is to be seen. But their house is about four minutes from his office, which is a big plus. They are still fixing it up to meet their preferences. We are invited to dinner again tonight, after having been to dinner there last night. Daughter-in-law’s folks are there, too. He is a PhD on the business school faculty at Los Angeles State. He was also at Northrop, but is now retired. While he was working at Northrop, he taught at night and also ran two private businesses. The human dynamo type. Gets up at two in the morning and paces the floor, wondering if he really should have retired. I get up at two in the afternoon and have never questioned the wisdom of retirement. Isn’t it really great how people can be so different? I mean, gee whiz, it really is! All part of The Great Pageant Of Life! Remember that, Udo, when you
feel like getting up at two in the morning. Anybody can participate in The Great Pageant Of Life. It’s unscheduled, too.

Our best to Anne and Thomas. You haven’t mentioned any Town Council infighting lately. Don’t they meet in the summer, or has Anne hammered them senseless? Just be sure that yours is the first house where the snowplow clears the street after a blizzard. Anne has to get to Council meetings, Thomas has to get to school, and you have to backpack Udobbs books to the station. The whittlers will have to get to the IGA on their own.

Fred C. (“All Aboard”) Dobbs

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