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Mack Williams: Re-imagine-made

The other day, I decided to check out a new restaurant in Danville, a neat little bistro called “Crema & Vine.”

The building once held another business devoted not to “Crema and Vine,” but instead, to “Gasa & Oil,” along with some repair and grease jobs. It was formerly an automobile service-repair station.

In the case of this place, re-imagining got well beyond the imagination (or, rather “re-imagination”) stage, going on to the physical,”doing-something-with-it” stage.

In driving by, I had watched the gradual transformation over the last several months, for it is on Danville’s main drag; although most of the “dragging” is now done at the Danville Mall and a few shopping centers. Down in Yanceyville, young people “drag in place” (stand outside trucks and cars, conversing in the Food Lion parking lot).

The pumps went first, followed by the excavation and removal of underground gas tanks. Since nothing neolithic turned up, the state archaeologist wasn’t called in to lay out grids and start sifting, too late anyway, as a big hole was already dug.

Being a follower of the on-line Salisbury Post, I remember Salisbury’s South Main’s “Great Hole” of several years ago. At the time, I was just glad the hole wasn’t superimposed (or “underimposed”) over the building which once housed W.T. Grant Co., where my mother, Lorraine Williams used to work.

I called in a take-out turkey sandwich order, turkey, because like the coal mine canary, an eatery’s success (or lack of it) with making a turkey sandwich is like the “tomato-meter” of the “Rotten Tomatoes” film revue site (and the sandwich did include tomatoes).

I parked in the bistro’s parking lot, where cars waiting for repair were once parked. Repair was now replaced with repast.

When exiting my car, I exclaimed: “This place still reeks of petroleum, almost “tar-like!” I soon realized the parking lot had been freshly tarred.

A wonderful chandelier composed of many lesser lights and metal spikes (“modern art”) hung from the ceiling. Windows had been added to a side wall, and the place was bright and cheery, with both tables and couches. I imagined that before, a “Gotham City” greasy drabness was the decor, with probably a couple of fluorescent fixtures above and snake lights hung here and there.

A wide variety of wines were lined up in places where previous “vintages” of 10-W-30 and 10-W-40 had likely been displayed.

When I saw the giant, beautiful, “silvery” coffeepot, I contrasted it with the Mr. Coffee sitting behind my mechanic’s counter in his station. The contents within his pot appear to be the super-concentrated, jet-like (the black gemstone, not the plane) by-product of a week of evaporation!

I saw no signs like those displayed at the service station where I get my car worked on: “This premises protected by Glock,” “Complaints? take a number and wait” (the caption beneath a picture of a hand grenade with a numbered tag looped around the pin), and “A lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine!”

The signs there only pertained to the regular offerings, with the Soup of the Day written on a blackboard in multi-colored chalk.

The cashier was most courteous and grinned knowingly when I included with my compliments of the decor, an additional complement on their beautiful, glass-multi-paned “French doors” (the kind there, which, instead of opening from left-to-right, or right-to-left, open from bottom-to-top).

Back at my car with the take-out box, I noticed a small “darkish-drop” of something over in one corner of its lid. I immediately said to myself: “Aha, I have you now! You thought you could change an old service station into a thing of culinary “chic;” but a drop of old evaporated automotive grease has “precipitated” out of the ceiling and “rained” down onto the lid of my turkey sandwich take-out box! You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!”

Seeking corroboration for my eyes from my nose, I put it to the drop and sniffed.

I detected a somewhat darker-complected variety of Dijon.

(Postscript: The sandwich was great! I’m advising all my friends to get there stomachs worked on there too!)

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