Editor’s note: While The Beacon is publishing only one weekly print edition to cut expenses in an attempt to outlast COVID-19, the columns about national politics written by Russ White and David Rauschenberger have been suspended. Both men have been invited to submit occasional columns on local topics and the local response to the pandemic, and Rauschenberger’s first such column is published here.
So, “Miss Barb” (Shepherd) contacted me a week or so ago and told me The Beacon wouldn’t be able to publish my regular column for the foreseeable future.
I think it was The Beacon telling me, and anyone else who wanted to know, that “politics” is the last thing any of us should care about right now. Frankly, I agree.
I started writing for this newspaper when Mano’s Restaurant was still around. Joe “Mano” was a good friend of my father’s.
We used to eat at his restaurant all the time, and we used to get pizza on Wednesday evenings every week for years. My dad would take me to what was then West Volusia Memorial Hospital for his “rounds,” and we’d end up at Mano’s just after dark.
The pizzas would be spinning in the air, and my father’s antipasto salad was made right in front of us. It was another time I long for.
My wife and I tied the knot in 1988. We continued the tradition of “Mano’s on Wednesday night.” It was a Rauschenberger tradition.
Terri ordered ravioli, and I ordered the best lasagna on the planet (only Genovese’s Café in Ormond Beach comes close).
We lived in what we called the “Little House.” And it was.
My columns in The Beacon resulted in “Mr. Mano” telling me, via a letter to the editor published in the paper, that he didn’t agree with my politics. He didn’t hold back.
I patronized his boiled-peanut stand out on Old New York Avenue for years, and I don’t think he ever really knew his customer was that political writer he so vehemently disagreed with.
I loved Mr. Mano. His name was Joseph Romano. Late in his life, I met his daughter. I asked about her dad. He was “family” to me.
I’m an old-school local foodie. I’ve supported the local eateries as best I could. It never mattered whether we were in a recession or a boom.
I’m a guy who’s loyal to local and independent restaurants. Won Lee’s was my favorite Chinese restaurant for almost 40 years. Tom’s Pizza and Bellini’s were my wife’s favorites. I miss Fresco’s.
A recent letter in The Beacon implored all of us locals to keep supporting local eateries through this terrible pandemic. And it is terrible.
We can argue about the big-boy decision that weighs economic calamity with the normal course of viruses on our planet, but that’s a discussion for later.
We all should do what we can to support our local Mano’s-type restaurants.
Frankly, I don’t care that those calling for us to rally around local restaurants previously disinvited me from their establishment because of their hatred for President Donald Trump. I can rise above politics.
You can, too. Think …