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  • Sean Smith

Holding Pattern


It's the last night of my little sojourn to my old Hudson Valley home, and I'm in the town of Philmont, ordering a sandwich at this quirky little eatery/store I found by accident – they serve food but also sell used LPs and have various signs (like the one in the photo) and decorations that let you know the owners are definitely not just in it for the money.

I order a sandwich they call a "Nathaniel" (damn, why did I forget to ask for the origin story?), which is basically your lettuce, your tomato, your onion, carrots, cucumber, mustard and horseradish, provolone (or cheddar), and olives. Whoa there. Not big on that last item, so when I give my order to the very polite, good-natured high school-age girl behind the counter, I say "Hold the olives."

She looks confused, "Hold...the olives?"

There are a few seconds of awkwardness, and then the store's co-proprietor – close to, if not my age – says matter-of-factly, "He just means he doesn't want any olives."

The girl and I laugh about it when she rings me up, which is good because I don't want her to feel self-conscious or anything, so I tell her that I feel privileged to play a part in this landmark day of her life when she learned the culinary-specific definition of "hold."

Yes, I admit that, walking back to my car, I briefly – very briefly – did that aging-boomer thing where you mourn the apparent passing of one more vestige of our common vernacular. But then I thought, better she learn it from me than the way I learned it: that Burger King commercial.

PS: The Nathaniel was delicious. I'm going back there again next visit, and I'm going to leave extra time to browse the LPs.

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