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February 28, 1989
Hey, they’re, Udo!–
IN THE LETTER BEFORE THE LAST, you enclosed a picture of Thomas, printed on proof paper, and I didn’t comment on it because I mislaid the letter. I finally found it.
Thomas has grown, and one can tell from the alert eyes and disarming smile that he is on his way to being manager of the local IGA, if he wants the job. If not, he may have to settle for the governorship or the presidency. But if he really wants the IGA managership, and local insiders want the job to go to Clem Hayrick, I will call my connections in Palenville and have a few arms twisted. What are friends for?
POINT OF MYSTERY: Thomas’ picture seems to have been taken against a background that looks like a Sorcerer’s Apprentice workshop. Please edify. (Couldn’t have been the inside of the IGA, I’m sure of that.)
WHAT DOES ZINFANDEL MEAN TO YOU? Lemme tell ya a little story about Zinfandel, as Dave Rabinowitz used to say, down at the cut—rate liquor store across from The New Canton Cafe. (Howard tells me that his name was Steve something, and the store was Payless Liquors. Is that right?) Anyhow, back to Zinfandel.
One night you and Howard and I and somebody else went down to Santa Fe for mexican food, and you took us to a mama-style restaurant on a side street (not at your expense: dutch). No beer or wine or anything like that was served in the place. After we had ordered, you arose and said, “I’ll get Zinfandel.” You exited as if you had been born to the stage.
After a while I said to Howard, “Who’s Zinfandel?
“I think he’s some technician in Udo’s lab.”
“There’s a Leon Zinfandel in the files.”
“Probably the same guy.”
The waitress served the ensalada.
“Did he mention inviting somebody else?”
“He knows a lot of people in this town.”
“We should have asked for a bigger table.”
“Udo’s salad is getting warm.”
You entered as if you had been born to the stage, and put a paper bag under the table at your feet.
When the waiter came, you asked for four glasses. You told us, “It’s O.K. to bring in beer or wine.”
“Is that what’s in the bag?”
You nodded enigmatically.
“Leon doesn’t drink, hah?”
You looked blank. Howard said, “That lab technician.”
The glasses arrived. You poured the wine without taking the paper bag off.
“I don’t know about Leon, whoever he is,” raising your your water-spotted glass, “but I drink.” you said.
We all drank. I said to Howard, “Maybe it’s not Leon, maybe it’s Epifanio.
“I think you’re right.” You said, “My salad’s warm.”
Twenty-five years later I realized, after reading an ad for wine, that Zinfandel was not a lab technician. It was cruel and heartless of you to keep Howard and me in ignorance so long. But we won’t make an issue of it because we cheated on our share of the check, which you paid as if you had been born to the big money.
CALIFORNIA SETS THE STYLE: We have been having much less rain than we need, so now you are having the same problem. On the other hand (as economists all say) I have noticed recently that rain and snow have been falling in or near Stamford. We are only slightly better than 50% of annual average. Who else can make that statement? Maybe you can. Every night the weather reporter on tv shows the national weather map, and all the rain is somewhere else. The Eastern Establishment has a lock on it. That’s because the National Weather Service is in Washington, and they all know who signs their checks. That’s the real story.
Tomorrow’s lottery is over $20,000,000, and I hold the winning ticket. I’ll send you a case of Zinfandel. Regards to Anne and Thomas and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Fred C. (“10% Off By The Case”) Dobbs