Slowly, but surely — or at least I hope — the world is returning to some sort of normalcy.
And so is this space.
Today we're bringing back our "Lunch With ..." feature, which was suspended a few months ago when the pandemic was in its infancy. Prior to that, four or five times a year I would offer suggestions for virtual lunches, with four local people and four celebrities.
At long last, the lunch bell is ringing again. Here's this round of proposed lunch partners:
º Doug Mealy: Doug is the announcer at Quincy Raceways, which has yet to open this year due to governmental health restrictions. I've missed my regular conversations with Mr. Mealy, who like myself, never met a menu he didn't like. Lunch at: Finn's in Hannibal Mo., which is not too far from where Doug lives. I'll have the deep-fried shrimp. Doug can have the rest of the menu.
º Norman Reedus: He plays Daryl Dixon on "The Walking Dead," and I'm dying to know what happens in the long-delayed season finale, which was postponed back in March when production was shut down due to the pandemic. Lunch at: IHOP. I love the breakfast order that includes the crepes with the strawberry and cream sauce mixture, plus hash browns, sausage and scrambled eggs.
º Dan Veihl: Dan owns the downtown Butcher Block, which for those who might not know, offers a variety of meats, grocery items and a tasty lunch menu. Lunch at: Come on! You know the answer to this one — the Butcher Block. One of my favorite offerings is the club sandwich, a bag o' chips and glass of Mountain Dew with plenty of ice. Oh, and hold the mayo, please.
º Keisha Lance Bottoms: The feisty mayor of Atlanta remains my favorite politician to emerge from all the coverage of the recent unrest. I absolutely love her press conferences. Lunch at: Maid-Rite. I'm sure Ms. Bottoms would enjoy one of those Mega-rites and an order of onion straws.
º Jeff Carter: The owner of Summy Tire has a smile on his face 365 days a year, and in today's world that's quite a feat. Lunch at: Los Molcajetes, the Mexican restaurant that sits across the street from Summy. I would suggest Jeff try the two tacos, refried beans and rice offering for a quick — but filling — meal.
º Kayleigh McEnany: The White House press secretary has no problem going head-to-head with members of the media. She's as entertaining as she is talented. Lunch at: I doubt if Kayleigh has much time for lunch, so it will have to be quick. We can drive through Fazoli's, where I would get two pieces of pepperoni pizza, a Coke and two bread sticks.
º Lester Holt: In my opinion, the No. 1 anchorman on any network news show. He provides the news, without opinion, which is so refreshing. Lunch at: Lester and I will actually skip lunch and head right to the Baskin-Robbins drive-thru and get some boysenberry cheesecake ice cream.
º Sophie Keller: She's my 4-month-old granddaughter in Ohio I have yet to hold, thanks to the pandemic. When that day occurs at some point in the coming months, I'm pretty sure lunch will be strained something or the other. Lunch at: Daughter Kaysi Keller's kitchen.