By Stacey Patton Wallace
For the Opelika Observer
When we were teachers, my husband Mike and I were paid on the last work day of the month. Now, as retired teachers, we are paid on the first day of the month. Getting paid only once a month is more challenging for me than it is for Mike. In fact, budgets and I don’t like each other very much.
Tom Patton, my Daddy, was an amazing money manager. Daddy and Mama sent Jim and Mike, my two much older brothers, to Auburn University; for two years, they were there at the same time.
Daddy once told me that sometimes he didn’t even have 50 cents to buy himself a Coke at Russell Mills, Inc., on his break. “That’s when I became a coffee drinker at work because it was free,” Daddy said. Also, he once told Mama, “If I ever really sat down and tried to figure out how we’re paying for both Jim and Mike to go to Auburn, it would scare me to death!”
Thankfully, my parents recovered a little financially before I entered Auburn University as a transfer student in September 1983. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit Daddy’s skill in money management. For instance, I once wrote a 67-cent check for an ice cream cone to Baskin-Robbins in the mall. Now that I’m 58, I can only shake my head at how stupid I was back then. However, years ago, I heard that researchers had discovered that the part of the brain that controls reason and logic isn’t fully developed until a person is at least 25. That made me feel a little better, but it was still an idiotic thing to do.
Also, once as an Auburn student, I drove up to my bank to cash a $5 check because I needed gas. Much to my embarrassment, the teller came over the loudspeaker and said, “I’m sorry, but you don’t have sufficient funds to cover this check.” I was a real Dave Ramsey. Right.
For those of you who are as economically challenged as I am by the end of the month, a great, inexpensive place to eat is Chappy’s Deli in the Glenndean Shopping Center in Auburn.
Last week, Mike and I met two friends for supper at Chappy’s. Madison, our waitress, was sweet and very patient. Also, COVID-19 safety protocols were followed; all employees wore masks, and social distancing was observed since patrons could only sit at every other table.
My friend Jack and I ordered the N.Y. Pastrami and Swiss, a delicious choice, which had pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, special dressing, mayo and spicy mustard on dark rye. Mike chose the Healthy Harvest, a salad made with apples, walnuts, dried cranberries and gorgonzola cheese. Our friend William ordered the Chicken Salad and Apple Wrap, which consisted of homemade chicken salad with apples, pecans and grapes. All of our food was delicious, including Mike’s free ice cream (You can’t beat that with a stick!), my red velvet cake, and our friends’ hummingbird cake.
Chappy’s Deli has a wide variety of menu choices, including sandwiches, wraps, burgers, salads, healthy eats, soups and desserts. In addition, diners may choose from several side items that come with their entrees.
Before I grade Chappy’s, I need to mention that my Mama didn’t like me calling myself “fat” in my first two restaurant reviews. She suggested I use “pleasingly plump” instead. With love, I explained to her that “pleasingly plump” people only need to lose about 10 pounds, so I’m way too big for that designation. However, I am about 56 pounds lighter than I have been; at that time, I was “horribly huge.” (I love alliteration.)
Also, I must give a shout out to Kayla, a very kind person on Facebook who, like Mama, didn’t like me using the term “fat.” She suggested that I instead refer to myself as “Pooh-sized.” Thank you, Kayla; I like that very much.
Chappy’s Deli makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!
If you are looking for a real bargain and want to know what’s going on in our wonderful community, you can have the Opelika Observer delivered to your home. A year’s subscription costs $32.00 a year; that’s only 62 cents a week! Also, you won’t have to leave the comfort and safety of your home or get out on those cold, rainy days to pick up our paper. Just go to opelikaobserver.com/subscribe-today/.
Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” appears each week in the Observer. Stacey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.