Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dining and Shopping in Jackson

Breakfast and dinner, lunch was generally a sandwich we made and carried with us, were taken at a Barbecue restaurant steps away from our cabin. The staff was friendly and fun, the food excellent, the portions generous and the price reasonable. At our first meal our waitress, young, heavyset, black eyebrows more pencil than brow with a piercing below her lower lip, was asked by my partner, "How's the corn on the cob?" Without hesitating for even a second she replied in a flat tone of voice, "I wouldn't". After a momentary pause she added, "I want you to enjoy your food". We did not order the corn on the cob. The half of a barbecued chicken I did order was divine except so heavily honey glazed that I felt compelled to wash my hands several times after eating it. I, let it be understood, am not complaining! Breakfast the next morning featured grits done to perfection, rich and creamy, not the least bit watery and a biscuit so large it looked as if it had been cut from the dough with a coffee can. My final meal there was topped off, at the suggestion of the young, blond, jewelry laden waitress by banana creme pie. Delicious, again rich and buried under a mountain of whipped creme.

The shops in the historic district teem with average to outstanding Native American, western and western inspired goods of every sort. One shop specializes in lush wool Pendelton blankets, shirts and jackets. In another beaded fringed garments are featured whose level of beauty and fine workmanship are matched by the level of the price on their tag. One store carries an assortment of mounted animal heads, animal pelts, antlers and an 8 foot tall stuffed Grizzly bear priced at $22,000. I neglected to ask whether it was guaranteed not to molt. Art galleries abound catering to the more well heeled visitors. There are also the stores, ubiquitous in any resort town, filled with tee shirts, fleece, baseball caps and magnets all bearing the name of the town or the sights that surround it.

The cast of characters manning the stores were as fun and entertaining as the waitresses in the restaurant. In one store specializing in Native American goods an immaculately groomed woman launched into a long conversation with us regarding the prices of gold and silver and how they related to the economy in general. I felt, for a moment, that I was part of a round table discussion on CNN. Later, another, somewhat hefty woman with large, unnaturally black hair, wearing out sized jewelry to match her heft and hair suggests we look at her Native American pawn pieces. Before long I have a vintage silver and turquoise ring on my finger and my credit card out of my pocket. A perky blond leads us into the dingy "sale" area of a shoe store to retrieve the leather soled socks my partner had been searching for all afternoon., In the single antique store in the historic district the proprietor tells us about her picking methods and the stories behind some of her goods She keeps us in the store with a one sided conversation for a full twenty minutes even though after 5 minutes it was obvious she did not have what we were looking for and that we would be leaving empty handed.

Then there was the woman of European extraction, judging from her accented english, in the store specializing in cooking oils, vinegars and spices. I lost count of the number of things we taste tested off of tiny white ceramic spoons before settling on a vinaigrette marinade and spices for us and my cousin who we would be visiting for Thanksgiving.

Somewhat poorer that we started out that morning we returned to the cabin with our purchases and relaxed enjoying the gentle patter of the rain on the roof.


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