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No curbing shirt reminiscing

June 17, 2012
By KATHRYN SPIRA , For The Leader Herald

One of my favorite shirts is a light blue, faded denim button shirt that was given to me after I prodded for it from its owner. It's another of my "off the owner's back" shirts I have acquired over the years.

I was reminded of how I came to get the shirt as I was watching an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" starring Larry David. If you remember watching "Seinfeld," he was the co-creator (with Jerry Seinfeld) of that show.

I hadn't seen the show, since we don't get premium cable channels like HBO, but reruns are on the "Entertainment on Demand" channel on Time-Warner Cable, and since I'd heard it was a great show and saw some episodes were available on T-W, I decided to give it a shot.

Herman and I watched it together just last week and found ourselves laughing out loud at the ridiculous situations Larry, Ted Danson and his friends get into - all very reminiscent of the kinds of thing "Seinfeld" was famous for years ago. Basically, ordinary people doing ordinary things wind up in outrageous situations due to poor choices, circumstances and terrible social faux pas.

In one episode I watched, Larry and his pals are envious their buddy's girlfriend, whose character's name is "Cha Cha" played by actress Tia Carrere.

Let me bring this back around to my denim shirt. The shirt was given to me by the owner of "A Votre Sante," (French for "To Your Health") which is a restaurant - actually the last restaurant I worked in during my illustrious bartending career.

At the time I worked there, the owner was married to Tia and I often ran into her at the restaurant, where she acted like a very nice, ordinary, regular person. She had no airs or attitude and treated everyone with kindness and grace. The same wasn't as true about her husband, the restaurant owner, who came down hard on restaurant staff and bartenders in particular.

I just happened to catch him in a relaxed mood one day and when I complimented him on the shirt, he kind of winked and said, "You're a great bartender. It's yours. It's the least I can do."

At the time, my body was actually starting to fail me due to the MS and I was on my way out of the entertainment field in LA. The bar at the restaurant was upstairs, and I remember painstakingly taking each step with my cane to pull myself up to tend bar.

This was the restaurant where "The Flintstones" movie held their wrap party with John Goodman and Rosie O'Donnell and where, as I have written before, Goodman was nice enough to help me stock the bar, as well as give me the sound advice to face what was really happening with my body and whether it was worth gambling my health with the sharks in the entertainment business.

So, with this memory, I recommend "Curb Your Enthusiasm," especially if you were a "Seinfeld" fan back in the day since the humor is very similar. And I fondly remember Tia, the restaurant and, at least on that particular day, the owner who parted with his shirt.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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