Thursday, December 7, 2017

Avocado, and Wagon Ho!

Last night Dave and I had elaborate plans (well, not so elaborate) to go get a Christmas tree. We were going to walk up to the local lot, but just as we were about to head out the door, we began debating the possibility of adopting the library tree when school closes next week. After all, it just gets thrown away.

We figured, why buy a tree of our own when we can probably bring that one home?

How to get it here is still an unresolved question. But never mind that -- we took off our jackets and abandoned our tree-buying plan. Meanwhile, in lieu of a real tree, I dug out the Christmas lights and wound them around the avocado in the living room. It's the most festive avocado tree in London, I'm pretty sure!

In even bigger news, I finally solved a mystery that has been bothering me for years.

When I was a child, there was a restaurant on Florida Avenue in Tampa shaped like a big covered wagon, with a statue of a bearded guy at the front, his arm raised as if driving a team of horses. I remembered this place vividly, even though I never ate there. (I tried to get my parents to go, but Mom said it was "nasty." I'm not sure how she knew.)

Anyway, every once in a while -- maybe once or twice a year -- I'd do an Internet search to try to find a photo of this place. I was never successful, which seemed very strange. Wouldn't you think someone would photograph a building shaped like a covered wagon?

I seriously began to wonder whether I'd imagined it.

But finally, last night, I dredged up a couple of pictures. Turns out the name I remembered for the restaurant wasn't correct, at least not originally, which probably hampered my earlier searches. It was called Wagon Ho! and there were several of them in Florida. I don't know which location is in the photo above, but the Tampa building looked just like that.

Here's an interesting blog post about the brief history of the Wagon Ho! chain -- according to the article, it went bust in 1970, though the buildings hung around for a while after that. (Which is probably why I remember the restaurant being called Michael's.)

Whew! I'm not crazy!


  1. Sorry Steve but - trawling the internet to find evidence that you didn't just imagine "Wagon Ho!" hardly proves that you are sane - probably quite the reverse. I mean anybody who decorates a houseplant with Christmas lights must have a couple of "issues".

  2. I bought a Norfolk Island pine a few years ago or maybe last year. Who knows? The thing is about four feet tall now and I might just drag that little sucker in and put a few ornaments on it. Maybe. Whatever. It needs repotting and that would be a lot like work.
    As I said on FB, I would have begged my parents to take me to that restaurant. Who cares if it was nasty? But honestly, actually going there probably would have ruined the magic.
    Still, it's nice to find verification of the place. In some ways, it's the internet itself which is magic.

  3. now I think I'm going crazy as I thought you already posted about Wagon Ho with two pictures and no avocado tree. Ms Moon gave me a clue. Perhaps it was on FB that I saw it.

  4. I love the Avocado tree and I can't wait to hear how you are going to get that tree from school to your house. That Wagons Ho restaurant would be very hard to forget. It's funny that your mother said it was not a good place. My parents always had the attitude that specially shaped buildings as restaurants always had the worst food.

  5. Some searches get interesting and lead to unexpected places.

  6. I like the idea of taking the library Christmas tree home. Not sure how you'll do it, but maybe Olga could help! Great sleuthing on the internet to find that photo!

  7. I LIKE your Christmas avocado plant! Very festive, in a south of the border way. You might have found one like that in any of the Wagon Ho! restaurants.

  8. i love your avocado christmas tree! and childhood memories can be so elusive. glad you nailed that one down!

  9. Lol that is. One puss poor Christmas tree substitute xxx

  10. UNLIKE JOHN I love the Christmas tree substitute! :) If I had only myself to consider I'd probably wind lights around the nearest vertical thing and call it a day :)