Last night, after a 13-hour, 656 mile marathon trip to retrieve boxes and assorted other stuff we left behind in storage, we had dinner at Charlie’s Pizza Pub, which I learned from its Facebook page moved to its “new old location” early this year. I don’t know from whence it moved…and it really doesn’t matter.
We ordered a super special or some such deluxe beast, which came covered with pepperoni, sausage, onions, and who knows what else. It was very good, with a crisp crust and a nice ratio of sauce to cheese. I asked the waiter if they have dark beer; he responded by saying they have Stella Artois, Blue Moon, 312, and a few others. I asked about IPAs and his face betrayed utter confusion. And he had no clue about dark, but seemed like a nice kid despite that character flaw.
We arrived at the place just about the time the karaoke started in the room behind the bar (which was, thankfully, not immediately adjacent to where we sat). The vast majority, and possibly all, of the participants in the karaoke were young. The first woman on stage was in her early twenties, I’d guess, and had an extraordinarily good voice. I didn’t know the music (it was country), but she sang it exceptionally well. Next up was a guy who sang a class rock song (the name of which escapes me now); he was decent, but was clearly an amateur in comparison to the woman who sang before him. Near the end of our meal, a very young girl, maybe 8 or 9 years old judging from her voice (I never saw her) delivered two songs; I cannot judge her singing talents, because the voices of kids that age clearly haven’t developed to the point of being “good” or “bad.” But from what I heard, my money would be on a career outside the music industry.
Driving home from the pizza pub in the dark reminded me just how different our lives will be here compared to Dallas. For one I must emphasize “dark.” Our car’s headlights had little competition in illuminating the road in front of me; and it was rare to see any other lights along the roadside. The darkness, sharply rolling hills, and twists & turns of the roadway are distinct departures from the bright, flat, straight streets of Dallas.
Our first night here (the night before), we went for an early dinner at a restaurant on a lake, a place on the far end of the village, and headed back to the condo in the pre-dark dusk. Just as we came over the crest of a hill, a deer darted out from the forest on the right side of the road; I was driving rather slowly, which is a good practice here at that time of day, and so was able to brake and give the deer ample time to cross the road without being attacked by a Japanese car. I’m told there are a lot of deer around here; I don’t doubt it in the least.
Until we close on our house and move in, I won’t feel like we’re really settled here. For reasons that are more psychological than practical, I do not plan to attempt to “engage” with people here until we become official residents. But we have about three weeks (if all goes well) to learn the lay of the land and get familiar with our new lifestyle here until then.
Later this month, we’re told, a newcomer’s meeting is scheduled to acquaint people with the community and what it offers. That’s an element of welcoming hospitality I think was common in years past, even in neighborhoods in crowded cities, but which has essentially died out in most places. I like that sort of welcoming hospitality; we will most certainly attend the meeting.