Yours truly with Romanian Army officers, Spring 1990
Writer’s Note: Today marks the 26th anniversary of the Romanian Revolution. Continuing with a series of articles from my time spent stationed at the United States Embassy in Bucharest, Romania from 1989-1900, what follows is a post-revolution story which occurred a few months after the fall of dictator Nicolea Ceausescu and the end of Communism in Eastern Europe. READ PREVIOUS EXCERPTS HERE
The last two customers on the final night, with Darcy and Sally at Buzio’s (Rio)
Our fondest memories are of people and places.
For many, Buzio’s at the Rio in Las Vegas was one of the fondest of places because it was full of so many good people. It was more than just a casual restaurant. Buzio’s was a cradle of friendship and bastion of happiness. It was a boardroom of wheeling and dealing. It was a place to gossip, to drown our sorrows, and to celebrate. If the World Series of Poker, held at the Rio each summer since 2005 had an office, a break room, a social club, a watering hole, and a place of reprieve and relaxation — it was most certainly the public alcove in the form of a once-popular seafood restaurant along the so-called “bad beat hallway” leading back to the main casino.
Buzio’s served its final meal on Saturday night — December 12, 2015. After 25 years, the restaurant closed its doors for the last time, in order to make way for a new eatery which will eventually open on the spot where where poker players clamored each night for dinner reservations, where strategy was furiously rehashed and debated, where millions in poker deals were made over shrimp cocktails, where disappointments were doused and gradually forgotten, where tournament survival was toasted, and where innumerable lasting friendships were founded. Hostilities on hold, competitors who tried to outfox each other during the WSOP competing for their livelihoods often dined out together at Buzio’s. Poker doesn’t have many places around like this anymore. Sadly now, it has one less such place.
Something seemingly insignificant happened today at Starbucks Coffee, which actually ended up leaving quite an impression on me. And, I’d like to tell you about it.
At the airport in Fort Lauderdale, I waited inside the terminal and stopped to order my usual cafe latte. Most Starbucks have lines, especially in the mornings, and this was no exception.
While about a dozen or so travelers stood in line, bored and indifferent to our surroundings, we couldn’t help but hear and observe what can only be described as a spirited employee bouncing around, working joyously behind the counter. It seemed like the happiest day of his life. While two cashiers rang up the orders, the young man — whose name I soon learned was “Evans” — made the coffee drinks.
Note: This article was originally published three years ago, on Nov. 26, 2012.
Most people spend Thanksgiving Day with families gathered around the dinner table.
During the 1970’s, I spent most of my Thanksgiving days and nights at Texas Stadium, watching the Dallas Cowboys. My mother and father (divorced since I was 2) both had season tickets for many years. That meant I two options for seats. So, I was lucky enough see just about every Dallas home game during the 1970’s, which were the glory years of greatness. If you were a football fan, especially a teenager, I can’t imagine a better time or place or a better football team to cheer for than those great Dallas teams coached by legendary Tom Landry.
Hamburgers are for the masses. Most decidedly, I am not a mass.
An ass? Maybe. A mass? Never.
Fact is, it takes a blow-your-dick into-outer-space-great-fucking-hamburger to crowbar me away from my fancy French food and snooty red wine to try out, let alone be so hammerhead and eyes watering impressed with the experience as to write a review about a food joint where the standard fare is burgers and fries, doused with milk shakes and tap beer, where the waitress forgets my iced tea but still calls me “darlin.”