These are dark days for the past-prime Los Robles Lodge, but old-timers will remember when its dinner house boasted service and panache unseen in down-home Santa Rosa.
Original owners Claus Neumann and Tony Vicini opened the Lodge in 1962 and introduced Sonoma County to flaming cherries jubilee and crepes suzette. Diners who pulled up on rainy nights came to expect Tony to meet them at the car and usher them in beneath an umbrella.
Maybe Los Robles, which was cleared Wednesday to reopen, will survive its temporary closure by health inspectors and maybe, like El Rancho Tropicana, it will be razed for yet another shopping center.
Whatever happens, the flamb?will live in infamy.
YOU WON'T BELIEVE what just came in the mail at the Sonoma County Clerk's office.
It's a postcard stamped "Not Deliverable as Addressed, Unable to Forward." The county clerk had mailed it to one Mrs. Bertha Dresbach of Petaluma.
The card informed Mrs. Dresbach that the county had appointed her as Registrar of Selective Service Registration for her voting precinct. She was instructed to open the precinct for 14 hours on a specified day and to register young men from her neighborhood for the military draft.
The just-returned card was mailed to Dresbach on Oct. 8, 1940.
HE'LL BE BACK: Before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped by Nancy Miller's home last week for a coffee klatch, Nancy had no strong feelings about him one way or another.
But by the time Schwarzenegger and his people left, Nancy said she couldn't have been more impressed by them. Nancy, a Santa Rosa Schools employee, said they seemed genuinely interested when she told them the district soon will open a culinary arts program at Piner High and an automotive-tech program at Maria Carrillo.
She said the frosting on the cake was when an aide to the governor phoned her the morning after the visit. The message: Schwarzenegger is so hot on career-technical education that he'll come to at least one of the grand openings.
IT WAS BAD ENOUGH when a pit bull mix charged up last Friday as 60-year-old Nita Boucher walked her Chihuahua mix, Poquito, at Healdsburg's Badger Park. The loose dog attacked, gashing Nita's arm as it snatched the little old dog from her arms and shook it like a toy.
Now Nita, who lives on disability benefits, is told the owner of the pit bull has flaked out and she's stuck with the $889 bill for the vet who tried, but couldn't save Poquito.
THE ICE ARENA that cartoonist Charles Schulz built near Coddingtown in 1969 was a year old when Jim Doe -- formerly of downtown's Doe's Little Diner -- signed on to run the rink's cafe.
Year after year, Jim accepted more responsibilities from Schulz, who adored that arena and every day put down his pens to have breakfast (typically, bacon and eggs) and lunch (usually a small hamburger, no tomato) at the cafe.
This week, Jim, 64, celebrates his 35th year at the arena. Ask him how much longer he'll stay on as manager and he'll say he really doesn't know.
Ask him how long the rink will be around and he'll show you the $1.4 million project that's underway to replace the antique machines that heat and cool the place and create the ice, and he'll say, "A long time."