On our latest visit with her, we found that Mary E. was feeling blue with being inactive and having to wait for people to drop by and visit. My dining partner and I were discussing remedies as we walked to the car.
“She needs cheering up,” said my partner, “and needs to know her family and friends haven’t forgotten her.”
“What do you suggest?” was my question.
“How about a picnic?”
On our next visit to see our friend, the dining partner and I pulled up to the Buc Deli Drive Thru and ordered the fixings for Mary E’s picnic. Johnson City’s Buc Deli has been a fixture at the corner of Indian Ridge Road and West Market Street for a good long while. Opening at six in the morning for breakfast, they stay open straight through until seven in the evening serving lunch and supper through the drive thru pickup window. Their breakfast biscuits (especially their sausage biscuit at $1.39) are a nicely warm remedy for a chilly morning.
Breakfast aside, we had the provender for our picnic to get. My dining partner chose the Buc Deli cheeseburger ($4.35) along with an order of onion rings ($2.19). I ordered a barbecue chicken sandwich ($4.75) with some coleslaw. For Mary E. we chose her favorite, a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich ($2.99) with an order of Buc Deli’s curly fries ($1.69) to go with it.
We had no problem lugging our picnic goodies through the hospital’s main lobby. Riding in an elevator loaded with people, different story. Leaving our new fans behind we made it to Mary E’s room, picnic goodies untouched and ready to go.
Mary E. was dozing, but awakened with a sniff and a “What have you got there?”
My dining partner began unpacking our food and sent me around to the ward’s drinks station to get everyone a freshly-iced soda.
Mary E. got a big smile on her face when the BLT sandwich was unwrapped with her curly fries placed along side. My partner cut her Buc Deli cheeseburger in half and the half into quarters so Mary E. could have a taste. The fried onion rings were left back, as their fried smell made Mary E. a little queasy. I offered to divide up my barbecue chicken sandwich, but Mary E. declined, stating that the coleslaw made it “too messy.” I offered to un-wrap the sandwich for her gradually in order to minimize the mess, but Mary E. had already started on her BLT.
As for my barbecue chicken sandwich, Buc Deli Drive Thru does a very good job of taking a plump, moist chicken breast, grilling it with some of their proprietary barbecue sauce and serving it with melted Swiss cheese, smoky bacon, lettuce and tomato. The coleslaw I had them add gave a nice counterpoint to the tang of the barbecue sauce and the mild acidity of the tomato.
Both Mary E. and my dining partner enjoyed Buc Deli’s cheeseburger very much. The Buc Deli folks take a quarter pound of lean ground beef grilled just right, then top it with cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. I had a small bite of the cheeseburger that I finished with a crunchy fried onion ring, all of it excellent.
Mary E. took her time with her bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, taking small bites and rolling them around her palate, a smile on her face showed that she was enjoying the smoke-tinged crispness of the bacon, the tart ripeness of the tomato and the mild mayonnaise note on the grilled toast. Really, this is the best way to jump-start a bored appetite and give someone a better outlook on life.
We had fun at our impromptu picnic, cheering Mary E. with funny stories from the past, and regaling her with tales of What’s Going On In the World. We also let her know (gently) that she has friends who care about her, who want her to get better, and that following doctor’s orders is the best and fastest way to accomplish that goal. Maybe you know of someone like Mary E. who could do with a cheering-up visit. Why not take them a picnic like we did, and have Buc Deli Drive Thru provide the fixings?
Buc Deli Drive Thru
1018 West Market Street
Mon - Fri 6 a.m - 7 p.m
Sat - 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Available on Facebook
Credit cards accepted