ENVY OF WORCESTER COUNTY – CAROLINE’S CANNABIS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Envy

Caroline’s Cannabis Uxbridge Dispensary, aka “the pot shop” is a winner.

It’s not bringing in huge crowds that the “closer to Boston” places are getting, but we live in the middle of Worcester County and don’t have crowds unless it’s the 4th of July and fireworks are included.

Standing on line on Wednesday (or was it Thursday?) was pleasant. People waiting on the steps of the local marijuana dispensary seem to be in a good mood. If it was raining or snowing, maybe less good, but the sun was out and it was not too cold. So, we chatted.

There was complete agreement that this shop needs an area in which to buy food. For the warmer months, a few tables with umbrellas along the woodsy side of the parking lot.

A bakery on the left, coffee and doughnuts on the right. It seems a waste of space to have a walk-in OR drive-through pot shop without tasteful goodies. For that matter, merely having a decent bakery in a town would be a winner.

We don’t have a dedicated bakery (not counting doughnut shops of which we have many) unless you count the mini bakeries in the grocery stores. The best bakery for bread (not cakes — Hannaford has better cakes) is at Walmart, but that’s a long drive for us. Seven or eight miles through miscellaneous towns though I suppose we could take the longer, faster road. It takes the same amount of time to get there, but you feel like you are going faster.

I’m pretty sure Caroline, the charming entrepreneur that she is, may yet find a way to coerce the lady who bakes the world’s BEST cupcakes (she is in Uxbridge already) to set up a small outlet in the shop. The same baker also makes chicken pot pies that are expensive but delicious and big enough for at least two, maybe three people. Or one big guy with an appetite.

She could open up a whole restaurant for that matter and be the best non-Asian restaurant in the valley and absolutely the finest appetizers, too.

If that didn’t work out, any one of the local (NOT Dunkin Donuts) doughnut shops who also serve good coffee could bake a bunch of extra doughnuts and hire someone to serve coffee … and voilà. A few tables outside for nice, warm days. Something good to smoke. Ahh. Joy and peace shall reign in our valley.

The shop is at the edge of town, very close to the main road that goes up to Worcester and down to Rhode Island. Convenient for everyone. It also has a parking lot. It’s not a huge lot, though. When we got there on Friday, there were no spaces. There’s room to expand and I hope they do.

I was afraid they’d put the shop in the middle of town and we’d never be able to get to the grocery without a long, slow drive.

I bought a little bar of dopey chocolate while I was there the first time (when I actually got inside). It isn’t improving my back because nothing will fix that. On the other hand, I am sleeping like the dead and waking up in a lot less pain.

All my muscles have loosened up. My spine is a disaster, but the muscles are relaxing and that’s great. I eat two little squares of chocolate when I get into bed. I don’t get stoned — or if I do, who could tell because I’m out for the count. I don’t even fall asleep.

First, I’m awake and with no warning, I’m out cold for a solid five hours, waking up only to go tot he bathroom and crawl back into bed. Now, add some yummy fatty food to make me a happy and well-rounded camper.

Getting to the nuts and bolts of the shop, they have a decent selection. Not huge. And they run out by later in the day, so if you want the full selection (they have a pretty big menu and you can order, if they don’t have what you want), you probably want to get there before lunchtime.

Everyone was extremely pleasant and as you might expect, laid back.

For how many of my younger years did I dream of legal pot shops? It’s like Garry and his new hearing: why didn’t that come 30 or 40 years ago? Well, at least something good has happened. We can’t change the government yet, but at least we can sleep better while we wait.

Are we the envy of the little towns of Worcester Country? Maybe.

APRIL LOVE OR APRIL FOOL? – Rich Paschall

April in Paris, by Rich Paschall


One April early in the 21st millennium, I actually was in Paris.  I thought it would be exciting, even a bit romantic.  I am not sure my travel companion saw it in the same light.  Although he had never been out of the country before, he did not seem overly excited about the trip, much to my chagrin.

At the time I was working for a freight company that had acquired a nice collection of gifts for Christmas.  Since they did not have something for everyone, they raffled off the gifts they had.  The top prizes were the airline tickets.

Of course, I had hoped to win the Air France vouchers but doubted it could be so with such a large group.  There were other nice prizes and I would have been happy with any of them.  When they called my name for the tickets, I thought it could not be true and it must have been for some other prize.  I was delighted to receive the top prize.

Paris-1

There were not really many blackout dates, but you were not allowed to cash in the vouchers long in advance.  This would allow many summer flights to sell out before you had a chance to claim the date.  Being afraid we wouldn’t find a suitable date if we waited too long, we decided on late April. We hoped for small crowds and good weather.  We got one of the two.

Frommer’s Guide to Paris was an invaluable resource, not just for the hotel, but also for how to get around the city.  We also found the best ways to visit the main tourist sites.  With a little planning and a lot of luck, we were on our way.  We learned how to get from Charles De Gaulle airport to our hotel in the St. Germain neighborhood.  The location was ideal as the metro was nearby.

Our tiny room had a small balcony which looked out on an old Paris street.  The room had a tiny refrigerator which allowed us to stash a few items so we could save on all the expensive restaurant meals.  A small grocery store nearby was a welcome site for a few essentials.

The first night we made it through the rain to a small restaurant nearby.  I spoke no French at the time and the people at the restaurant spoke no English.  We were not certain what we ordered, but we started with French Onion soup which was nothing like the French Onion soup you get here.  The broth was clear and the onions were fresh.  It was great.  I do not recall what beef dish I had; I do recall it was quite good.

In the few days we were in France we saw the Eiffel Tower and actually went to the top of it.  We also saw Notre Dame, St. Germain des Pres, Versailles, the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa, the Cathedral at Chartres and many wonderful local spots.  Despite the cold and damp weather most of the time, it was April in Paris!  What could be better?

In honor of this delightful little memory, I have our top 5 April songs.  I wanted to give you 10 songs as always, but I could not think of that many.

5. The April Fools, Burt Bacharach, Hal David.  The theme is from the movie of the same name.  In the film, Jack Lemmon meets the married Catherine Deneuve and decides to run off with her to Paris.  In this instrumental version, the pictures of Paris do not come up until 15 seconds in.  As Neil Patrick Harris might say, “Wait for it.”

4. April Love, Pat Boone.  This theme is from a movie that starred Pat Boone and Shirley Jones.  The song was nominated for an Academy Award and was a big hit for Boone.

3. April Showers, Al Jolson.  The old vaudevillian debuted this song in 1921 on Broadway. He recorded it a few times, including a recording for a film of his life story in 1946.  Here he plays in Soldier Field, Chicago in 1949. The aging Jolson still delivers!  He died the following year.

2. April Come She Will, Simon and Garfunkel. The song was recorded for the album Sounds of Silence in 1965 and released in 1966. Here it is performed in the historic Central Park concert.

1. April in Paris, Ella Fitzgerald. The Count Basie hit has been recorded by many. This early Ella Fitzgerald version helped to popularize the song.

MOURNING DOVES – Marilyn Armstrong

The doves have been getting tamer. I think they are nesting very nearby and they like to sit out on the same branch and coo at each other.

Dove in the tree