I am not a proponent of 'turning back the clock'. I was once asked if would 'do things differently', if I had the chance, and my reply was a definite 'No!' After all, where would I start over. Each part of my life led to another, so if I chose a different path at any stage I would not be where I am today. When I was 10, I took an entrance examination, to get into a very good school. I did not want to go to the school, as my friends were all going to the local high school. I had no confidence, and did not want to think about being alone. I flunked the exam. There is no saying whether I would have passed, or not, but if I had, my life would definitely have taken a different turn. My first place of employment would have undoubtedly been different, and probably would not have mixed with the same crowd of people and would not have met my childrens' father, etc etc etc.
There are many things that could have done differently, but I would not change them if I had the chance. It is would not be an option for me to turn back the clock. Life goes on.
However, it would appear that in some places, turning back the clock, if the chance be given, would not be relevant, as time seems to have stood still. Saturday night, we visited a wonderful 'country cooking' restaurant. The pictures on the wall were advertisements from days gone by, when kids could go out and play, and the only rules were not to talk to strangers, and to be back in time for dinner.
There was no alternative, 'low sodium/low cholesterol' menu, and the 'healthy option' was not to put too much butter on your cornbread. The store that was connected to the restaurant had some old fashioned candy, and 'sodas' in old fashioned wrapping, and bottles. The restaurant is not far from a giant outlet shopping mall, and as soon as you step outside, you are back in the real world.
There are not too many places around that appear to have remained in the past, but we did visit a small town north of Austin where it appeared we had actually travelled through time; back through time. Driving into the small town, I almost expected to see tumbleweed roll across the empty road, that appeared to be the main artery into the time warp. Every so often, a car would pass the sign that indicated entry, take instant note of the speed sign and drive, almost apologetically, until it reached the end of the town, and then sped up as if to remove itself as quickly as possible. We decided to stay, for lunch.
The restaurant looked beautiful. We entered and were greeted by two ladies, both of whom appeared to have helped Betsy Ross sew the stars on the original star spangled banner. The first smiled and asked, 'how many?', whilst the second asked if we would like to sit inside, or on the terrace. As she shuffled into the main restaurant, we decided it would be quicker, much quicker, to sit inside. She pointed to a booth, at which we sat, and she continued shuffling between the tables. As she reached the terrace, she seemed to lean to her left, and curved around to make her way back to the entrance area. Each time she showed someone to a table, this action was repeated. She pointed to a table, at which the patrons sat, and continued down the restaurant, swerved at the terrace, and returned. We came to the conclusion that if she stopped, she probably would not have started again.
Quite mesmerized by this, we hardly noticed our waitress approach our table. 'Heyyyyyy!!!!' How I avoided concussion, as my head hit the ceiling, is still mystery. Dressed in a gingham skirt and white, high collared blouse, all that was missing was the ruby red slippers. Our Dorothy had worked at the restaurant for twelve years. This was her opening line. She was still a newcomer, compared to most of the staff, but she loved her job, and looked forward to her '25 year service' party, and would we like soup or salad? Totally unprepared for the question, we looked at each other, and asked, 'what is the soup?' 'Sure', said Dorothy, 'coming right up!' Perhaps they had run out of lettuce!
Dorothy was definitely one of the younger members of staff. However, I am not sure whether she was deaf, or only knew how to write one item on the menu, as although we ordered different entrees, we received identical meals. 'Enjoy', she squealed just before she skipped away to feed Toto. It seemed rude to call her back and ask why we were not served our original request. Samantha was sure she was going to starve, as nothing appealed to her. Dorothy appeared to be suffering from chronic niceness. 'How is everything?' was the constant, yet rhetoric, question, followed by a broad smile and an equally enthusiastic, 'Great!'
We did enjoy the meal, although we were unsure as to what everything was. The fish appeared to be salmon; the vegetables were not quite as easy to identify, but they were different colours, and provided a modicum of variety. Dessert was, of course, pie. The filling was not divulged, but it was definitely pie! Having a relative younger member of staff did mean that our visit was considerably shorter than those around us. I don't know that I have ever been to an establishment where the wait staff are unsteady on their feet, but it seemed sensible for them to bring one plate out at a time. Unfortunately, when there are more than two at the table, this would probably increase the time of the meal....by hours!
We left the table, and made our way to the front to pay the bill. Automatic cash registers and calculators had not made their way to this establishment, and arithmetic was not the strong point of the hostess. Fortunately, her friend was on her way back from the 'table circuit', and she was better with sums. Not much better, but eventually we all agreed on the total, and took one last look at the land that time forgot, just in time to see Dorothy skip along the yellow brick floor, and behind the curtain to see what the wizard had conjured up for her next customer. Perhaps it was he who ate the other menu items.
The town was wonderfully quaint and the small shops were full of local crafts and artifacts. However, there is only so much lavender nostrils can sniff, and we slowly rolled the car out of the area, until we were back in the twenty first century.
We did return to the town when my mum came to visit, and she loved the authenticity. We had lunch at a different restaurant, as she was only staying for a week!
I am not sure if we will ever return to the Emerald City, but I am sure that it will be the same. Some things never change, unless its...another story.