Saturday, June 7, 2008

Gusty. Like the Wind.

Gusty Crunkleton's son, Adam, says his mom's name ain't short for nothing except the wind. He stretches out (giant arms) then claps (giant hands) as he yells a loud 'Ha!'

I choose to forego alerting Adam that his joke doesn't make a damn bit of sense.

My argument addressing how adjectives and abbreviations are different animals seems unneccesary as I watch him fiddle behind the bar at Bon Appetit in Clayton, GA. Wiping down surfaces. Tightening already-tightened tops. Shifting weight foot to foot. Okay, maybe he isn't fiddling. With his crew cut, broad shoulders, and middle linebacker frame, it's more like he's blitzing.

"I carry Stella for one customer. And you're him!" Gusty is faux-berating the regular named Mark who has an affinity for the Belgian beer.

I like the tough love in this place.

If she had been slumped in one of the booths, I would have easily placed her just shy of 70. But her flexibility throws me. She stands stork-style behind the bar with one leg hiked up, knee cap to left ear. She planted the ball of her foot on the bar-length, Bacardi-embossed strip of rubber. The one that keeps the shakers from sliding.

She managed restaurants off and on for years, but Bon Appetit is the first one she has owned. Needed to keep making cash even after she and her husband, John, sold the broom factory.

"You can tell housewives don't design brooms," she says. "They just want plain wooden handles. No colors." When a red broom slides against a white wall, it leaves a red mark.

Adam sweeps in and pops another Fresca for John, who has his own stool at the bar.

I like the family feel of this place.

That's what he mixes with his Canadian Club. I'm betting they carry those blue cans only for him.

So Gusty's not short for anything?

"Nope. Just Gusty." She emigrated from Leipzig, Germany when she was 15. Her aunt was a famous actress over there. Augustina.

"Her nickname was Gusty," she says. "I'm named for her nickname."

1 comment:

kimpluseddie said...

I hope you ordered a second beer, at least.