Friday, January 21, 2005

The Cheese Story

Note: Noodle is not in this story.  I just like the picture.

John and Noodle circa 1987.  Noodle would have liked the cheese.It was about 1992. John had not seen his dad in roughly 30 years (divorce, parental kidnapping, detectives, new family, blah blah blah and it's not for me to tell the story anyway).  That was about to change. Sometime around Thanksgiving that year, John's sister, Martha, got us to drive up to Phoenix for a couple of hours with her and the elder Mr. Blocher.  And he was just this guy, you know?  There was no big emotional reconnection, no plan for father and son to reenter each other's lives, no fighting, no tears, nothing.  Just some guy John hadn't seen since he was ten or eleven years old. It wasn't until Martie's wedding and the telling of the Michael Jordan Story* that we learned that John's dad was a flagrant racist. That was the last time we ever saw him.

But this is not the Michael Jordan Story*. This is the Cheese Story. John says it's his story, not mine, but I'm the blogger in the family, so I get to tell it.  Anyway, I don't think he ever tells the story in real life.  I do.

So anyway, there we all were at Martie's condo or apartment (whichever it was), somewhere near Metrocenter.  For whatever reason, we decided to go to dinner together at the Phoenix location of La Parilla Suiza. These Arizona-based restaurants pride themselves on serving Mexico City-style food. "All our tacos, meat and cheese dishes are cooked on charcoal or grilled," their meager web site says.  Yes, there are tortillas and chips and guacamole, but it's not all carbs like most Mexican food. It's actually possible to get a Mexican-style steak there.

Did you notice what they said up there about cheese dishes? Aha!  Now we're getting somewhere.

All the menu items at La Parilla Suiza are numbered, so that gringos and gringas (especially snowbirds) don't have to struggle to pronounce the word "queso" correctly.  So anyway, John ordered a #25 (I'm guessing at the number here; it was a long time ago) and  a #5, when he meant to order, let's say, #24 and #5.

One of these was cheese soup.  The other was, quite simply, a large dish of melted cheese.  Queso con queso. The first, John had ordered intentionally, the second, really not.  No meat, no veggies.  Just cheese.

Stolen without permission from The Buffy Trivia Guide.Rather than tell the server he'd made a mistake, or order something else, he ate some of each, filled up on chips and salsa, and called it a meal.  Did he want a box for the rest?  No, thank you; he did not.  A man can only eat just so much melted cheese at one sitting before getting tired of it.

Still chuckling about John's meal of cheese with cheese, we paid the bill and went back to Martie's place.  When the time came to drive back to Tucson, Martie presented us with the leftover cheese, which she'd had the restaurant pack up for John anyway. John laughed and took it--and then snuck it into Martie's fridge.  See you later, Martie!  And off we went.

The next time we saw Martie was about nine months later, and without Mr. Blocher around. Sometime during the visit, Martie gave John the leftover cheese again, having stored it in her freezer all that time.  John made a big show of throwing it away--and then snuck it back into Martie's freezer before we left for home. 

We haven't seen it since.

It's been over a decade.  Martie is married now and living in Hawaii.

I can only assume that the cheese didn't make it to Hawaii.


* That's a pretty good story, too, but it's got kind of a downer ending.

Oh, speaking of John, there's good news today! John got a job! It's just a three month contract, editing technical manuals for a mining equipment company; but it's something.


ondinemonet said...


Wonderful story, I am so glad you wrote about your cheese adventures. Alan will have to read this when he gets home from work tomorrow. He and I are big fans of cheese and all cheese related musings. We have a few tall tales. LOL. I may share some of our trips through cheese, you have once again inspired me. I am so hooked on this journal! Th ending wan't a downer...I understand difficult family dynamics.

Love, Carly :)

ondinemonet said...

oops forgot...

Very cute puppy. :)

ryanagi said...

Ah...the power of cheese. LOL The other stories mentioned in this entry also sound interesting. Tell John congratulations on the new job from me. :-)

plittle said...

You know the old saying:
One day, and long time from now, when you least expext it...
Expect it!
I prophesy that you have not seen the last of that cheese.

deabvt said...

Cheese with Cheese?   LMAO

bgilmore725 said...

That was funny... cheese with cheese... I'd have to drink a bottle of grape juice to balance that! Great story,karen. bea