retracing old paths…

After staying up too late to blog, last night, I stayed up even later to take a Skype call from my kids in Australia. So, it was nice to see everyone and have them excitedly tell me about their day. Emmie enjoyed showing me her magazines with all the pictures that she had colored on, and Bub had a high old time sticking her face right up against the computer screen, hollering “hi!” at me. A nice way to end the night… I mean, morning.

As a result, I slept late, which is a good thing, because on the previous morning, I woke up at 5:30am, and couldn’t go back to sleep, no matter how I tried. A power nap or two got me through the rest of the day. My intent, every day, is to stay up past ten, maybe even until midnight, in order to get my body used to the American time zone. Some days it’s ok with that, and some days, it isn’t. But getting up at 5:30 is only ok if you went to bed at 9 or 10, and you set your alarm for that time, not waking up and feeling exhausted, but being unable to go back to sleep.

When I did wake up, I decided to go for my next meal idea, and go visit the Hendrix Student Center, on the Clemson University campus. If you weren’t aware of this, when in the U.S., I am living in the town of Clemson, which is a big college football town, and it overflows with orange and purple.

So, before I left for Australia, I worked a part-time job at the Hendrix Center food court. My days were spent making burritos and taco salads, while assisting with the prep work for the Tiger Grill. The Grill specialized in buffalo chicken wraps, gyros, and chicken caesar wraps. The most popular location at Hendrix’s food court, they always needed a hand putting the lettuce, tomato, and dressings on the wraps, cutting the sandwiches in half, and adding them to plates brimming with regular fries or sweet potato fries.

I started off preferring a burrito, with the tortilla hot off the small grill, and loaded with rice, shredded beef, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream. Nothing could possibly taste better, I was sure. But one day, there was a mistake on a sandwich, or someone changed their mind… I’m not sure. So, the guy in charge of the grill handed me half of the buffalo chicken wrap and told me to try it.

Now, I tried to ask what kind of dressing was on it, and put off the inevitable, because the buffalo hot sauce is really too spicy for me, all by itself. I tried it by dipping some fries in it, once. But my fellow employee was inexorable, insisting that I eat it, and stop asking questions. And you know what? It was really, really good!

It wasn’t until after I realized this, that I found that the sandwich had been loaded with blue cheese dressing. That would’ve stopped me in my tracks, because I can’t stand blue cheese, and don’t know why anyone would want to eat cheese that’s partly made of mold, or something like that. Even if it is Clemson’s special blue cheese. But somehow, combined with the buffalo sauce, the two flavors mixed, the dressing cooling down the hot sauce, and somewhere in there, it tasted a bit like a lime had been squeezed on top.

Over the last few weeks at this job, I tried various combinations, and eventually settled on liking my buffalo chicken wrap with ranch sauce, which I’m not a huge fan of, generally, either. But I need either ranch or blue cheese to tame down the hot sauce, and I have to tell them to give me extra, and go easy on the hot sauce. Otherwise, I really start having smoke come out my ears.

So, when I stopped in today, it took some of the regular workers a few minutes to recognize me, though one of them assured me it was because “you look just like your momma”. And it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been told that.  : )  I ordered my wrap, and even as I post the picture for you to see, my mouth is watering over the thought of how yummy it tasted. Of course, by the time I was done, some of the hot sauce had soaked into one section, without enough ranch to go with it, so I was drinking a lot of tea to keep my ears from smoking.

After leaving Hendrix, I wandered off, debating where to go next. It was a beautiful day, and the leaves are are green and new, as we’re well into Spring. This made me think about whether to go visit the Botanical Gardens. I may have missed the azaleas blooming (and I am SO sorry I missed that), but there are still beautiful flowers to see. Instead, I headed for Pendleton Square, to see some old favorite stores of mine, both craft and antique types. So, come back soon, and I’ll tell you about the next segment of my daily jaunt.

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