If they ain't on the menu ...


For The Recorder

It seems rather strange to me that what I am reporting to you occurred 65 years ago.

I worked for a man named Ray Krzys. You'd know him better as "Brownie" of Brownie's Lunch. He had this odd fetish, that after 10 hours of work, he had heard of a man in Herkimer who made the greatest jelly doughnuts we had ever had. So, after working from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., by 5 a.m. we were sitting in Herkimer. Sleep never bothered him. Most times we sat at the Silver Diner in Schenectady on Erie Boulevard, eating scrambled eggs, sausage, home fries and toast. On other nights at 3 a.m. we would be sitting in the White Tower in Amsterdam on the corner of Church Street and East Main Street where the bank building stands. There were four of us: Ray, myself, "Dunk" Baia and Danny Gugliemelli. We would have four plates of baked beans, two slices of bread and butter for each of us, and a frosted glass of ice-cold milk. The cost didn't bother any of us because Ray always picked up the tab. I learned so much from him, except the one thing I wanted most -- his hot dog sauce recipe.

There were 12 ingredients in the hot dog sauce. He would let me observe nine of them, then he would send me on some "Mickey Mouse/Trick-or-Treat" errand, while he placed in the other three ingredients. I think he took his secret recipe to the grave.

Dunk Baia was a waiter and one of the many beautiful people I knew.

In relation to eating out, my wife and I had heard of a restaurant in Scotia that had a remarkable reputation for cleanliness, value, good food and great prices. My wife was driving at the time and one Friday night we flipped a coin and decided to have dinner there. We were very uninformed. The place shall remain nameless.

We walked in the door and it became apparent that they had fought the Battle of the Bulge here and didn't have time to clean up. There were only two other people in the building. Our waitress was a collector's item.

I had a cousin laid out at Johnny Betz's who looked better than she did. She had ankle socks and sneakers on. She must have pressed her uniform with a waffle iron. She had a small goober protruding from her nostril and if the man was the gender to do her hair, surely his name was Cochise. She placed two glasses of water and two menus in front of us and then she stepped back four or five feet while we studied the menu. I casually glanced in her direction and I observed her vigorously rubbing her hind end. I motioned her over to the table and inquired if she had hemorrhoids. Her response was as follows: "If they aren't on the menu, we ain't got 'em'." We left after consuming two cups of coffee with the fervent wish that she hadn't handled the cups too much.

Next week I want to walk you by St. Mary's Hospital, which is where I am currently residing and we can go over some really good times of at least 50 years ago.

Thank you very much for being so patient. I have loved every minute I've spent in this town. I am hoping to convince you to do the same.

JAMES SHERIDAN is a local resident

and frequent contributor.