Smoking Salmon – Part Two

Amanda Speaks!

Smoking Salmon – Part Two

There is was. Right over the entrance to the delicatessen/imported tobacco shop. A trophy mounted fish with a lit cigar. Actually, it was supposed to resemble a lit cigar, but it was just a plastic piece that glowed on the end like a lit cigar.  Jeannie couldn’t stop laughing. I kept staring at it while trying to form coherent sentences.

Our day of self-indulgence had started out on not-too-good footing between making our local eatery’s waitress drop a tray full of dishes and then getting lost in Austin for lack of a updated map and no GPS. So we decided to let the fates decide and just drive aimlessly until we found something of interest.

This was it. On an old strip mall, about a mile and a half from the state capitol building, were a series of eclectic shops, two restaurants, one delicatessen, and a donut shop.  There was also a book store, a western wear store, and an ‘adult’ store that made Jeannie blush every time I pointed it out to her.

Back to the cigar smoking fish.  The Smoking Salmon Delicatessen and Cigar Shop piqued our curiosity and we had to check it out.  After executing a remarkable U-turn that allowed me to pull into a parking space a few feet from the front door of the place, we stood outside and studied the inside of the store through the glass windows. That was hard to do since there were signs and drawings that advertised their specials and genuine authentic Cuban-like cigars.

We went inside.  The atmosphere was old New York deli styled with a corner of the place decked out in shelf after shelf of pipes, loose tobacco, and Cuban-like cigars. We checked that out first. Not that we intended to smoke, but it was such an anomaly to see these two types of products under the same roof.

It turns out that the Cuban-like cigars were not from Cuba. Or the U.S.  I had no idea that China was one of the one hundred twenty-eight countries that produce tobacco.  But there, on the cigar band was “Made in China”.

We began to wonder what other surprises were in store for us and wandered back over to the deli part of the delicatessen to have a look.  There were kosher-like gefilte fish, artificially smoked salmon—how one artificially smokes salmon is beyond me, and dairy free cream cheese.  I got the attention of the woman behind the counter and pointed to the sign in the window that touted, “Authentic Kosher Delicatessen.”

“Oh,” she answered, “We picked that up when Reuben’s Deli closed last year.”

I was flummoxed. Jeannie only laughed. We’d had our share of kosher foods when we lived in California when we would visit the homes of some of our parents’ business associates. None of this stuff was even close. Not one to waste an opportunity for a good dare, Jeannie goaded me into trying some artificially smoked salmon, dairy free cucumber cream cheese, and a Pad Thai bagel. Considering everything, it wasn’t too bad. I held it down for at least nine minutes.



Smoking Salmon – Part One

My sister and I decided to go on a day trip to Austin together last weekend. We had no specific destination in mind. We just wanted to do some sisterly bonding without the kids and spouses.  My dad and his wife, Lois, elected to take Jeanne’s two, Teddy and Hunter. Martha and Charlie had Mel and Eddie while Lorrie went with Shelby and Rebecca for the day.  Lex had some appointments that might result in expanding our customer base for our cattle business and Rodney had patients.

So we were free. Not moms. Not wives. Just two sisters out for a day of indulging ourselves. The first thing we did was to make our escape while the kids were all still asleep. We got up at six and met at the diner to have breakfast.

Of course, Francine, who has been fixated on my wife since before I knew Lex, kept asking where she was and looking expectantly at the restaurant’s front door. After she refilled our coffee and picked up our breakfast plates, she said, “I’m sorry that gorgeous gal of yours couldn’t join you this morning. What all happened? Didja have a little spat?”

I was in the mood to enjoy the day, so I decided to have a little fun. “Lex is just fine. She’s sleeping in for a change.” Then I beckoned Francine to come closer and whispered just loud enough for Jeanne and her to hear, “I’m afraid I wore her out last night and again early this morning. But she was so doggone sexy, I couldn’t help myself. Besides, she kept begging for more.” Francine dropped the tray she was holding, and Jeannie snorted coffee out of her nose.

“You are positively evil, Sis,” Jeannie admonished as she buckled herself into the passenger side of my Ford Expedition. “I love that about you.”

I beamed. “Serves her right. She’s been lusting after Lex for years.”

But I digress. (I’ve always wanted to say that, but there isn’t much chance to do that on a ranch.)

But I digress. (Yeah, it does sound cool!)

But I digress. Austin was our destination. Austin was our playground for the day. We were going to own Austin, Texas! Yeah! But first we had to find our way around because we ended up on a toll road we don’t remember being there before and ended up way east of where we thought we were going.

“It’s your fault,” I said to Jeannie.

“Why is it my fault we’re lost? You’re the one driving.”

“You’re the navigator.”

“Who died and made me the navigator? I hardly come here. You and Grandma shop here all the time.”

“Well, Grandma isn’t here now, is she?”


“You’re supposed to pick up the slack.”

“Listen, Amanda. You’re making up rules as you go along. I’m not the navigator.”

“You are if I say so.”

“Am not.”

“Are, too.”

Jeannie started rifling through the glove box and looking between the seats. “This is stupid. Where’s your GPS?”

“I don’t have one.”

“How could you not have a GPS? We have a GPS and we don’t friggin’ go anywhere!”

“I usually have Lex with me. She knows where everything is.”

“Well I wish she was here now.”

“Me, too.” We glared at each other for a moment and then burst into laughter. “Reminds me of when we were kids.”

“Me, too.”

“Alright. Let me find a place to pull over and look at the map. Then we’ll find an electronics store and buy a GPS, okay?”

“Okay. Just make sure we find one soon. I want to see my kids again before I grow old in this car.”


“Stupid head!”