… on being a v.i.p. at dingle diner and real mail


Oh ya. That’s him, people. The love of my life…reminding me a little of the creepy things in that video they play in ‘The Ring’.             (I’ll probably never sleep again)

One really bizarre thing about living in a small, New England town is that every important decision is not made at Town Meeting or at the Town Hall, but is really pre-decided in one of a few (or, in chic and trendy Dunstable’s case, one of one) local establishments where key people hang out.

So, in Dunstable, decisions were made over coffee or a slice at this little convenience store/pizza and sub joint/coffee counter called ‘The Convenient Mann’.

It all happened as people sat in the few steel and pleather chairs, or milled around on muddied (depending on the season), peeling  linoleum floors holding their coffees, chips and sodas and waiting on their orders.

Mike Mann (of Convenient Mann fame), played the role of Switzerland (at least outwardly) as he bustled behind the counter to get orders ready, or – during slower periods – wiped down the counter a la a bartender in an old western movie.

And the town business got done.

I’m totally serious.

I know this to be true, because once I ran for Selectman by accident.

More on that another time.

But after there was no turning back on the running for Selectman thing, a very nice man from down the street (who I’d known for years!) lured me into a dark alley (okay, it was in the open corridor at the Town Hall) and actually said, “If you want to get the skinny on what’s really important to everyone, meet me at ‘The Convenient Mann’ at 6:30 on Saturday’.



Ya. And sure enough, a group of men older than me were hunched over their coffees and papers, conversing in hushed tones.

Mike Mann was at the counter, and he clearly knew what was goin’ down, but he was more than Switzerland. He was like a combination of Switzerland and those three monkeys who see, hear and speak no evil.

I am telling you, people, I could be sleeping with the fishes right now.

But anyway, The Convenient Mann is no more.

It closed, quickly and unexpectedly for most of us, a while ago.

So we have all retreated to our homes, awaiting the Planning and Zoning Board’s approval of the new owners’ ideas.

Rumors abound about a specialty sandwich shop, but I don’t put too much stock in rumors.

You’re talkin’ to the person who started the rumor that a member Bon Jovi was moving in down the street, simply to see how long it took to come back to me.

Almost two weeks.

And by that time it was Jon Bon Jovi himself moving in.

Totally true.

So, you know, when one door closes, another opens.

Or is it when a door closes, God opens a window?

Or a crack appears in the wall to let light in?

I don’t even know.

Anyway, so Convenient Mann closed and Dingle Diner was born.

Yes, Dingle Diner.

It’s not open to the public, sort of an invitation-only thing.

We’re thinking of getting one of those red ropey things out front.

So on any given day, one of the kids will ask if Dingle Diner is open and all eyes move to the Nearly Perfect Husband who is chief proprietor of Dingle Diner.

If he says, ‘yes’, he will begin the ‘open and slam’ (the Nearly Perfect Husband is merely ‘Nearly Perfect’ for a wide variety of reasons, including his tendency to ‘open and slam‘) and shout out things like, ‘bacon and sausage!’, ‘corn beef hash!’, ‘eggies!’ (we never did break out of some of our cherub-speak from when the kids were size pew-nie), ‘pancakes!’ and anything else he feels is breakfasty.


My view of theNearly Perfect Husband, lord and master of Dingle Diner

My hero.

So today was a quiet day at Dingle Diner, which is why he is there at the top of this post looking a bit creepy in his Michigan sweatshirt (we are big fans. Have been for years, though neither of us went there. Also, I’m the only human on the planet who would be a Michigan fan, have a friend named Amy Schembechler, and never put two and two together… for like years).

Side note: For those of you who don’t know Michigan football, Bo Schembechler was their iconic coach (record there: 194-48-5) and is a key player (along with Ohio State coach Woody Hayes) in one the biggest college rivalries ever.

But, I mean, ‘Schembechler’ is such a common name.

How was I supposed to know that my friend Amy Schembechler was in any way related to the Michigan Schembechlers?

Okay, so she had a Michigan sticker on her mini-van.

I’m an idiot.


There is the Nearly Perfect Husband, in his Michigan finest, getting ready to open Dingle Diner for just me.

I am so V.I.P. people!

It’s just like Freddy opening up his rib joint for Frank in House of Cards!

But without the political intrigue. And lies and stuff.

And murders.

Okay, bad example.

But my Nearly Perfect Husband opened up Dingle Diner just for me, in the middle of his workday.

And, oh ya! He got me a card.

And it came in the actual mail from Phoenix!

Where he was with the Gabe-The-Self-Proclaimed-Perfect-Boy at a soccer tournament last weekend.

It says, “No matter where you are…..you’re here” and a cute, little teddy  bear is pointing to his heart.


I’m not going to point out that he was the one who was away, so technically it wasn’t about where I was, but where he was.

Which was in Phoenix.

Where it was eighty-five degrees and sunny.

For three days.

While I was here.

Bonding with a snowblower.

On Valentines Day.

Damned straight he owed me a freakin’ card.


Thanks for readin’.

Oh! P.S., More painting to be done at The Disposable Shack tomorrow so the Shepherds and I are headed to Maine this afternoon (to avoid them becoming streaked in Benjamin Moore’s ‘Linen Sand’ paint), so I’ll be broadcasting from there for the next couple of mornings. Yay Maine! (Maybe I’ll, you know, send the Nearly Perfect Husband a card…)


As always, you can come on over to Just Ponderin’s facebook page to comment or just hang out.


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