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1940s vs. 2022

It’s not really weird. It’s not even really odd. But it is a funny coincidence in my life. Let’s go back to the early 1940s to a simple mom and pop cafe located somewhere in Tulsa, Ok. The gentleman below with the stern look is my grandfather. The lady behind the counter is my grandmother and the young kid, I have no idea. But he looks like a character to me, maybe it is his cocked cap. Chances are that he made thirty cents an hour which ain’t much but I’m betting he got his meals for nothing.

Therein lies the problem. Apparently, my grandfather had a kind heart and allowed the customers to use the ‘chit’ system. That word is now dated and I haven’t heard it used in years. Anyway, a customer basically runs a tab and pays the bill whenever. Many never did and my father said they never had much money.

Now I don’t know exactly what kind of food they served, but for breakfast no doubt fried eggs, hash browns, bacon and toast was a top seller. And maybe pancakes, but nothing fancy. I’d bet that biscuits and gravy was on the menu too. And plenty of coffee. Free refills.

Lunch had to be mostly sandwiches and likely cooked on the griddle along with fries. From the photo it looks that they also served shakes. Maybe strawberry but more likely vanilla and chocolate. There was also probably a daily special of some sort. Something along the lines of a meat loaf or roast beef, mashed potatoes and a side order of veggies. I’m assuming that for dessert, all the pies were made from scratch.

I’ll go way out on a limb and say that vegan, gluten-free, 100% organic, free-range dishes were not on the menu.

Unfortunately, my grandfather died from a heart attack at the age of 45. He had been out rabbit hunting, came home, sat in a chair and died when my father was nine. About three years ago while reading through my father’s genealogy work, I discovered something surprising about this cafe.

Now back to 2022. My wife (Dee) is working on the POS (appropriately named) for George’s Pizza which is located out in the boonies of north central Thailand. We started building our place about twenty years ago near the village that Dee grew up in. Throughout the years as time and money has allowed, we’ve built various buildings with an eccentric rural feel to them; like the Waterfall Museum, the Tree House and even a large outdoor aviary.

The locals call our place D&G Resort and as a joke there are even a couple of signs hanging around with this name on them. But in actuality, it is not a resort. It’s just our home.

Our pizza business is an accident. To make a long story short, I was tired of Thai food and wanted something to eat from America, so I built a wood-fired oven in order to make thin crust pizzas. Dee wanted to try and sell some and I thought it was a ridiculous idea. Turns out, I was wrong and for close to two years now we have been busy on the three days that we are open.

We serve authentic American fast food as best we can. There are BBQ smoked ribs, hamburgers, hotdogs, tacos, chicken wings and of course pizza. Nothing fancy, just simple and good. And our customers pay before they eat.

Anyway, behind my wife on the brick wall of the pavilion is two black and white photographs. One is the photo from up above and the other one is an attempt at recreating the original photograph using a few of the local villagers that happened to be handy.

I have now lived longer than either my grandfather or father did and neither knew about my place here in Thailand. The coincidence? My grandfather’s place was called D&G Café. Life is sure funny sometimes…

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