The Light in Carol's Kitchen - Page 4

The Light in Carol's Kitchen - Page 4

The Nights in Carol’s Kitchen

Working with Arlene the friend (AtF), CtM set up four French bistros in LA. The concept was ‘great food/decor in a sterile office building.’ Their replacement of the ‘sawdust sandwich’ cafeteria was a hit and CtM found a job for TtS doing kitchen prep – chopping onions, dishing out chili, and laying up those awful five gallon buckets of green split-pea soup. The hit film, The Exorcist, was making box-office boffo business at first-run theaters. In my night-vision, the green split-pea soup matched an image of a Devil-possessed Linda Blair puking all over the screen.

As the restaurant business took off, CtM and AtF leased one location out to a famous Hollywood Jazz nightclub - Shelly’s Manne Hole - where evening concerts took hold of my life. When I finished my work shifts, off came the kitchen apron and I’d grab a seat to hear the greatest jazz sounds of the day – Kenny Burrell on guitar, Les McCann’s trio, Shelly Manne (drums) and his Men, The Lew Tabackin Big Band, and the trumpet sounds and voicing of Chuck Mangione / Esther Satterfield performing their 1973 hit, ‘The Land of Make Believe'. Snippets of that verse speak back to me through time –

The Land of Make Believe
"When you're feeling down and out
Wondering what this world's about
I know a place that has the answer.
It's a place where no one dies.
It's a land where no one cries.
And good vibrations always greet you.
How I love when my thoughts run
To the land of make believe.
Where everything is fun forever.
We are waiting to help you
Find the dream made just for you.
In a few words let's just say
That in answer to your quiz
Imagination is the secret."


The ‘Land of Make Believe.’ Indeed. I can still see the hands of the house manager emptying the nightly cash. Louis Ledesma the Crook (LLtC)'s third-party staffing company stole the restaurant profits and bankrupted the business. By the time it all went bust I had switched to a bartender’s gig at the Westwood location. I got this phone call on a Friday afternoon – “We’re closing up shop.” Putting down the phone I gazed out at the TGIF patron crowd and let out a yell – "Drink up everyone!!! We’re busted. The bar is open. Drinks are on the house!!!"


Carol at the FDR Memorial - Matisse Cutouts - modern-de-londres