We drove into Johnson City last night to have dinner at a Thai restaurant that had received a favorable review. We thought, perhaps, that we might do some shopping en route. We need to replace a UPS, need new bulbs for the security lamps, and thought to replace some newly discovered frozen dinner items that Gloria finds both palatable and healthy.
This plan took us into Johnson City by way of Jonesborough. We were able to look at a fair selection of lighted homes along 107 and 81highways. The bank ATM refused to accept my debit card. After three attempts to make a deposit, we gave up and proceeded with the plan of the day. The parking lot at Wal-Mart was packed as we approached the exit. We decided that nothing on our list was necessary enough to join that mob of milling cars and frantic buyers. On to dinner!
We had checked to be sure the restaurant was open, decided against a reservation, and arrived to find a full dining room. Still, we were seated within 5 minutes. The menu is a broad spectrum sampling of modern and more traditional Thai cuisine. We shared two appetizers, stir-fried mussels and fried calamari. I opted for a sliced beef salad and shrimp spring rolls. Gloria ordered a steamed red snapper entrée. I added a Pad Thai entrée, knowing that it would almost certainly be transported homeward. Service was rapid, unobtrusive, and the staff was well informed about the menu items.
We watched a group of people seated next to us box up their leftovers and then walk out while leaving them on the table. We found this mildly amusing. They decided either that they didn’t want to take their food home, or they were more forgetful than I want to become.
We shared a fried ice cream dessert. The format was somewhat unlike what we expected. The ice cream was sent to the fryer in what tasted like a cake batter. Not unpleasant, but not necessarily a repeat item for us.
We paid up, got ready to face the cold, and walked away from the table without the leftovers. The error was noticed before we made it through the door. I’ll enjoy Pad Thai tonight.
The drive home was uneventful. The light displays were less apparent on 67 highway.
As we walked up the stairs to the front of the deck, we were suddenly surrounded by three dogs, all-insistent on our attention and all trying to get to the Pad Thai. They were extremely difficult to chase away from the door. Getting inside without them meant having to force them all off the deck in order to keep them from jumping on us or through the screen door.
The dogs are someone’s bear dogs. They were wearing locator colors and owner ID plates on their collars. However, the constant jostling for position and the glare of the flashlight on the brass collar plate, made it impossible to read the phone number on the collar. The dogs are used to locate and chase bears toward the hunters if possible. If they lose the bear or can’t locate one, they will roam over half the county or more looking for their owners, home, food, or shelter.
We finally shoved them back far enough to get through the door without them. We don’t know if the dogs belong to the family compound at the head of the valley, if they wandered in from another valley, or even from North Carolina. They looked reasonably gaunt and were wet and dirty. They are probably expensive dogs. No doubt, in the next day or so we’ll see someone driving on Cassi road with a RDF antennae held outside the truck, looking for a locator hit on the dog’s transmitters.
Loki was very interested in finding the dogs when I took her out last night. She was still eager to track down the invaders who are not present today. The dog pack’s insistence on occupying space we knew to be ours reminded me of the pre-song patter from The Dillards rendition of Old Blue.