Sem Ting

After having the oil changed in one of our vans this week, we stopped at McDonald’s for coffee before heading back down the valley. As usual during this time of year, there were a couple of Asian families eating lunch in there. I say ‘as usual’ because the Luray Caverns is a big draw for tourists and a lot will have lunch or refreshments at McDonald’s either before or after going through the caverns as they are near each other. Anyway, for some odd reason, I was reminded of an episode the Pickle Queen and myself experienced back in 1970.

I was stationed at Fort Ord (California) for my army basic and AIT training. The PQ came out for my graduation from ‘Basic’ as we had a few days before I had to report for AIT. We were walking through Chinatown in San Francisco really fascinated by all the Chinese restaurants, shops and signs. We turned a corner and saw a building with the sign “Lars Olaffsen’s Laundry” predominately displayed above the door.

“Lars Olaffsen?” I thought. “How the heck does that fit in here?” We walked into the shop and saw an elderly Chinese gentlemen behind the counter.

I asked, “How did this place get the name Lars Olaffsen’s Laundry?”

The elderly man answered, “Is name of owner.”

I pressed the gentleman further. “Well, who and where is the owner?”

“Me, is right here,” the elderly man replied.

“You?” I asked. “How did you ever get a name like Lars Olaffsen?”

“Is simple,” replied th man. “Many, many  years ago when come to this country, was stand in line at Documentation Center. Man in front was big blond Swede. Lady look at him and go, ‘What your name?’ He say, ‘Lars Olaffsen.’ Then she look at me and go, ‘What your name?’ I say ‘Sam Ting.’ ”

Thus endeth this episode.

Keep your fork

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