Tuesday, March 16, 2010

(Not New) Delhi and My Date with a Pregnant Woman

If you ever find yourself passing through Delhi, California you must stop and ask yourself, "Why would any one stop here?"  You must stop, or you would miss the place all together before you were done asking.  And you must ask, because the place does not have much to recommend itself (with a few exceptions, to be noted later).  It is dry, flat, and sandy, with nothing nearby, but more of the same.  Yet, there lies a town.

It was founded in 1920 as an experiment in community farming.  It failed.  During the Depression, the federal government offered free land to get people to settle and farm there.  The people who came, were hardworking, salt-of-the-earth people, to be sure, but they must have been hardworking, salt-of-the-earth people with low self-esteem if this was the best they thought they could do.  Ninety years on, it is mostly a dairy town, with a housing development, two freeway exits, and some interesting cartographical quirks.  For example, when Second Avenue crosses South Avenue, it becomes Fourth Street.  This may have been done during the Cold War to confuse the Communists in the event of an invasion.  About this, I am not kidding.

Oh, I should also mention, it is not Delhi, as in New Delhi.  It is Delhi, as in, "Del.  Hi.  You get your new bull semen catalog, yet?"

This past weekend, I drove to Delhi--and not my first time, either--through four counties, to help my dear, and very, very pregnant friend, Jennifer, pack up her house, so she can move.  I have also made the trip to help pull weeds, plant hasta, take her dog on a bike ride, and bury my cat.  I have known Jen for a long time.

I have known her longer than her husband, Robert has.  This is actually a bit of a sore spot between us, so we don't discuss it much.  You see, Jen and I met Robert around the same time, at church.  He took to me quickly, attempting to woo me with song and pet names.  "Barracuda" is a compliment right?  As charming as this was, I put off his advances, until he gave up.  Jen has him now.  They're happy, and not just because they are moving out of Delhi.

So, I drove, and drove.  We packed, and packed.  It was the perfect opportunity to gossip about everyone we have ever known catch up on old times.  And when we were done, Jen and I left Robert home with their very tired little girl (and his melancholy over the-one-who-got-away) and went out to dinner, like grown ups.

We ate at a place calling itself, without any sense of irony, The Elegant Bull.  (Now, I am going to say a few words about this place, and all of them are true(ish) but I want to make it perfectly clear that I liked the place very much.)  From the outside, it looked like nothing more than a shack, painted an elegant shade of brick red, and nestled elegantly up against the freeway off-ramp.  The hours and dress code were displayed at the front door.  "No Tank Tops."  No shirt?  No shoes?  No problem, I guess.  But, bare shoulders are not elegant.

Upon entering the Elegant Bull, I was surprised to find that it was, well, kinda elegant.  Low light, cut-glass candle holders on every table, white linen table cloths.  By "linen," I mean a poly-cotton blend, but they were real cloth, as were the napkins.  We were shown to our table by a very professional waitress with a subdued voice and menus.  Nice, right?

Then I sat down and looked around.  This bull had a whiff of the elegant about it, but only from the chair rail down.  On the walls, there were shelves displaying ceramic barn yard animals, and not one of them was a bull, lest you think I was deliberately missing the point.  There was a bovine clock, the numbers printed on it's belly, it's udder, a pendulum.  At least, I hope it was an udder.  There were seasonal decorations as well: Shimmering paper shamrocks and a life-sized paper leprechaun.  I think it was life-sized.  How is one to know, really?  All of this, was accompanied by the dulcet tones of Willie Nelson.

You see, The Elegant Bull is like a mythical creature.  Half restaurant, half truck stop.  All Dining Experience.  The staff was friendly, the ribs were great, the prices reasonable, the bathroom clean.  So...

If you ever find yourself passing through Delhi, California, you must stop and ask yourself, "Why don't we go to the Elegant Bull?"  But don't look for Jen and Robert, because they moved.


  1. Tracey, this is my favourite post of yours! Funny, perfectly written and the sort of deliberately redundant closing line that always makes me laugh.

  2. I had to look up Tank Top for it kinda means something different here. Same overall shape, but instead of thin cotton, think Kevlar. Anyhows, I looked up the town in the goo-earth, there doesn't seem a whole lot to do other that watch high-school sports. And what are those orchards, Oranges ?.
    Oh, Willie Nelson AND his entire family are coming to Ireland in early Summer. And LOL can you imagine in California if the restaurant was called the Elegant Heifer, mind you if it was the prohibition would probably be removed.

  3. Wishing you and yours a happy St Patrick's Day.

  4. I have tears from laughing so hard! This post was THE BEST! Delhi sounds a bit like my dairy farming town, but our 'elegant bull' is called 'Jack's', and according to a recent business excellence award was nominated under the 'fine dining' category. Now that is just silly! But we are moving up in the world. We are getting an optometrist!!!

  5. There's a little town in Indiana near where I was born called Delphi, but Delhi is much more amusing! Love salt of the earth people.

  6. Ah, I disagree. Bare shoulders are very elegant when worn well :).

  7. i must find this elegant bull...