1950s Modern was the phrase tossed out to describe
the ambiance at East Durham’s Shamrock House—a throwback far enough
back that could be modern chic in the right place.
The Karneses fooled all of us, leaving the house at 6:55, and
abruptly veering into a familiar parking lot along Rt 145. The shortness
of drive disappointed no one (“Are we getting old?” opined Kriss
The menu is short
and casual, with several appetizers; a few salads; a dozen sandwiches,
burgers or specials; and several desserts.
==> Shepherd’s Pie: a boarding house oval plate with the
obligatory layers (Don, Lynda: OK, heavy on the potato)
==> Reuben sandwich (Deb K: good)
==> Fish & chips (Ken & Chay: satisfactory, excellent)
==> Chicken Cordon Bleu (Deb T: satisfactory)
==> Stuff chicken: filled with spinach and feta (Ross:
==> Mac & cheese (Kriss: good)
Three chose a salad
to start, a standard plate with mostly iceberg, two cherry tomatoes, a few
shreds of onion, a couple cucumber slices, with choice of dressing. Three
votes for basic and satisfactory.
==> Brownie, with scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dollop of
whipped cream (Ken, Kriss, Ross, and a Karnes share: mostly ok, brownie -
==> Chocolate mousse cake (Don: satisfactory)
==> Carrot cake (Deb T: satisfactory)
One merlot, several pints of beer (mostly Irish, of course), a couple
pitchers of water, and a resupply of coffee sated the parched throats.
Michelle was good. A serenade a la Beatles by Lynda may have added to the
Ambiance is a lot
of red and white checkerboard (tablecloths, window treatments), 1950s
knotty pine for the walls, sound-proof white ceiling tiles, bare wooden
floors, with lacy curtains filling the front and side windows
house tables were lined with wooden, ladder-back chairs redolent of a
1970s East Durham. Glass containers of sugar packets, plastic salt and
pepper shakers, and overturned coffee cups graced the tables upon entry.
Lighting came from the blare of two fluorescent fixtures overhead although
recessed lighting and wall-mounted red hurricane globe lamps supplied most
of the rest of the room.
Table 16 (number set in the metal stand) was set with four chairs
on the side and two ends and we settled by moving the ends. However,
hearing abilities were not tested as we were the only occupants in the
room. Except for a half-hour, none of the other nineteen tables was
occupied. (Everyone else sat in the bar half of the building.)
The bill for the evening came to $54 per couple. So, a short ride
and a low bill buoyed the atmosphere as we exited.
Thank you, Chay & Deb, for adding a casual alternative to our
The evening had started at the Karnes house, soon
emptying onto the front porch. Deb had prepared a plate of veggies, a bowl
of pineapple chunks, a bowl of crackers, and a cream cheese-salsa
mix—just enough for the evening. Chay kept glasses filled with beer or a
Malbec or a white wine.
The Core (a new phrase for the six?) were complemented by the
company of Lynda and Ross.
Topics, as usual,
came from all over the place. Foremost, necessarily, was the impending
retirement of Chay, leading to plans, plans made for Chay, student
reaction, filling the position, Chay’s interviewing others for the
position, and quality (or not) interviews.
More topics: beautiful
weather, East Conesville and its visitors, the Teator day trip to
Cooperstown, flea markets, bicycling, the new deck furniture, Karnes
inside furniture, Teator furniture, mowing grass, Monteverd travels, fawns
and pictures of fawns, flower gardens, vegetable gardens, the Danube
cruise, the Adriatic cruise, summer travel plans, where are Tim and Judy,
traveling in Virginia, Kalli, Freihofer Run, Freihofer ... (sorry, Tim,
...), grandchildren, relations with in-laws, and the usual gad of stuff
that comprises discourse of intellect, or not.
Thanks, Lynda and
Ross, for genially filling in.