Adriana Zoder: Summer winding down and we have not eaten yet

Aug. 10, 2013 @ 11:59 PM

So many people start talking about fall when Aug. 1 rolls around, I feel very confused. Don't we have another month of summer ahead of us?

Please, let's show some respect to the most wonderful season there is. Summer may be dying, but it is still able to hear us. Although, based the amount of rain we have had, this summer has been a disappointment. I have heard several people say they do not remember a rainier summer.

Of course, the first weekend in August in Tennessee means tax-free shopping. Last year, I learned that taking advantage of the tax-free weekend meant 50-person lines at the checkout counters, so I did not go to Tanger or anywhere else for that matter.

Truth be told, I am very thankful for the tax-free weekend and all the people who did have the patience to face the traffic and the lines in their quest for the ultimate bargain. Stimulating the economy is the gift that keeps on giving.

Mothering two children has turned me into this convenience-oriented person I can't recognize in the mirror any more. That is why I love events like the Craftsmen's Fair, which just ended on July 28. See, I told you summer was still here. July was here only a few days ago and we all agree that July is summertime.

What's so convenient about the Craftsmen's Fair? First of all, it is in Gatlinburg, so I don't have to drive far. Secondly, it is something for everyone. My children enjoyed the craft corner very much. I enjoyed the fact that these crafts were free to make and somebody else cleaned up the mess.

My sister and her family got a lesson in culture, an activity they always enjoy, when I explained to them the band was playing “Rocky Top” and “The Tennessee Waltz.” Like most Europeans, they had never heard these songs before and had no clue what they meant for this area.

Meanwhile, while we were not looking because we were too busy thinking summer was winding down, Taco Bell joined the slow food movement. At least, the Pigeon Forge Taco Bell did. The last time I was there, on Aug. 4, it took them 25 minutes to get the food out. The previous time, it was 15 minutes.

I should have walked over to La Carreta where, while waiting, I could have stimulated not only my taste buds with chips and salsa, but also my neurons, by means of a chat in Spanish with the waiters.

The Taco Bell staff's excuse was, “We ran out of everything.” Sure enough. They were even out of napkins. However, it did not make sense. They still produced food. They just put it out slowly.

The most impressive thing though was the attitude of the staff. None seemed stressed out. This young lady, who was training a newbie and gave us tips about the back of the receipt for a customer satisfaction survey so fast, you knew she had been doing it for awhile, was all smiles as she communicated to everybody, “There will be a 15-minute wait. We'll get it out when we can.”

If she can be this serene while hungry customers look at her with a John McEnroe “you cannot be serious” in their eyes, I want to take her training course. Forget my cheesy gordita crunch, substitute beans, with extra baja sauce. I'll have what she's having.

— Adriana Zoder, who was born in Romania, is an American citizen living with her husband and two children in Gatlinburg.Email to