McKenzie Free

One woman's quest for greater understanding through freedom of self expression.

Archive for the tag “Oregon”

Beware the Oregon Deli!

I’m such a slow learner.  I’ve been living in Oregon now for six years (this time) and still when I see the word “Deli” displayed on the outside of a building I believe it’s a place where I can get a good, freshly made sandwich.  For those of you who, like me, believe “Deli” to be an abbreviation of the word “Delicatessen” you may be suffering from the same illusion.

Wikipedia states:  “Delicatessen is a German loanword which first appeared in English in 1889 and is the plural of Delikatesse. In German it was originally a French loanword, délicatesse, meaning “delicious things (to eat)”. Its root word is the Latin adjective delicatus, meaning “giving pleasure, delightful, pleasing”. The first Americanized short version of this word, deli, came into existence c. 1954.”

In other parts of the United States it has come to mean a deliciously fresh, diverse menu with sandwiches made to order.  Rarely will you find fried foods, or use of a fryer, with the possible exception of some eat-in delis that serve French fries.

In Oregon, however, beware.  The word “Deli” here usually describes a tiny, warn, space with a three or four booths or tables for seating; a minimal menu consisting of a few deli meats but mostly of items that can be quickly pulled out of the freezer and deep fried, and ; a room partitioned off, with saloon doors and no windows, where you can hear the click, click, click and occasional celebratory music as someone on the other side of that wall wins three dollars on a video lottery game.

Apparently slot machines, or video lottery games,  have become the second biggest revenue earner for Oregon, after state taxes.   According to State Law a business cannot make lottery games their only or dominant purpose.  Hence, the cropping up of “delis” serving nothing eatable but allowing gambling all around the state.   Were any of these establishments audited one would most certainly find that their dominant activity is gambling but as with all things government…money rules…and the money pouring in to state coffers from this activity provides little incentive to enforce the gambling law and limit these type of businesses.

Some believe that making these lottery game machines available in every local mall is creating a social issue by providing easy access to potential gambling addicts.  I don’t know how I feel about that since from what I’ve learned an addict will find a way to his or her pleasure regardless of difficulties or consequences.

What I do believe, however, is that one cannot get a decent deli sandwich in Oregon and that should be a crime.

 

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The Rain

She walked down the cobble stone street toward the café. She wanted to put down her umbrella and feel the rain on her face but she knew it would draw the odd looks from passersby and that Rafael would be concerned about her wet hair and clothing when she arrived. She missed her home town so much. It rained a great deal in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. There was precipitation of some kind more than half the year. Most people walked about without umbrellas and never let the wet climate slow them down.

She knew that for most people living in Paris was something they dreamed about their entire lives but it was never her dream.   She was tired of feeling guilty about being a small town girl who preferred her small town. She missed the rain, the wind, the coastline, the comfort of everyone in town knowing who she and her family were. As a child everyone in town watched out for you. There were no secrets. Nothing you did went unnoticed or unreported to your parents. Many found it stifling and couldn’t wait to get out of town after High School graduation. She found it comforting and she missed the town and its people terribly that first year away at college.

That was where she met Rafael. She was drawn to his good looks, strong ethics, and his thirst to make social justice a reality for everyone around the world. He was a leader of people. That was evident from the first time she saw him speaking at a rally outside the student union. He asked for her support…and he got it. He asked for a date…and he got that too. From that first date on the two of them were never very far apart. They were known at college as the couple who was trying to change the world…and the ones who just might succeed.

She was not comfortable here in Paris. She could speak French fluently now, and she didn’t dislike Paris in any way, she just longed for something simpler. She hadn’t felt at home in Sao Paulo or Amsterdam either, not even by the end of their five year stints there.

Today she would tell him. Today she would be completely honest and let him know that she had to go home. That she couldn’t spend her life away from the rain and the sea and her familiar surroundings any longer. She would tell him she could not take on another assignment to another foreign city. She had to go home.

As she drew closer to the café she could see him sitting near the window waiting for her. He had already ordered the fizzy water he knew she would want. He would wait until she sat down to order any further. Even though he knew her well enough to know exactly what she would want to eat he never presumed and always waited for her. He was studying papers in front of him, always working, always thinking of what his next step would be, how he could best make a difference.

He looked up and his face lit up as it did whenever he saw her even after all these years. He smiled and waved at her, appearing excited to see her, even though she’d kissed him good-bye at the front door just a few hours ago. He stood when she entered and leaned down to kiss her cheeks. And then she looked into those eyes again and knew…she would not tell him. She would never tell him. She would stay by his side for the next tour and be content with an annual visit to her home town each year. They sat and ate and talked of many things but not of America or homesickness.

When they said good-bye outside and turned their backs to each other to walk back to their offices it was still raining. Just a slow drizzle now. He opened his umbrella as he left but she did not open hers. Rather she walked with her face turned up toward the clouds feeling the water on her face and remembering the cool Oregon rain.

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