"Are you Baptist?" "No," we said, a bit puzzled, so Crabby Bill handed my brother-in-law and me two beers as we stood amid construction debris in the newest restaurant he is building.
But this wasn't Indian Rocks Beach, where the crusty codger runs one of the most popular seafood restaurants in the bay area.
This was Bat Cave, N.C., a little town on U.S. 74 southeast of Asheville, near Chimney Rock.
My wife and I spent several days in the mountains last week visiting her sister and brother-in-law, who have often vacationed here and eaten at Crabby Bill's on the beach.
As we drove into Bat Cave one afternoon, we all saw the portable sign about the same time: Coming soon. Crabby Bill's Seafood.
Could it be? Na-aaw. But we had to find out.
"Are you the same Crabby Bill . . ." we started to ask. Yep, sure is. And we were not the first people to inquire, he said. More than 100 others have stopped to ask the same question.
Crabby Bill (whose real name is Bill Loder, although few people know it) is renovating a former restaurant that overlooks the Broad River. The building is on a small parcel, and he had to buy some land across the highway for parking.
He said he'll be able to seat 80 to 90 people and hopes to be open by early next spring.
Crabby Bill said he plans to continue operating the Indian Rocks Beach restaurant and will send one of his sons to run the Bat Cave branch.
Training course set for disabled
If you know someone with severe physical disabilities who would like to be trained for a profession that pays a starting average salary of $20,000 _ no more handouts and feeling sorry for yourself _ call this item to their attention.
Abilities on Thursday will begin its ninth yearlong course to prepare disabled adults for entry-level positions as computer programers. The Clearwater non-profit agency has graduated 125 men and women and placed 88 percent of them in jobs.
Call Jack Humburg at 530-0617.
Time to check into tour T-shirts
We have some 1990 Times Bicycle Tour T-shirts left over and are selling them for $5, with all proceeds to be turned over to Special Olympics.
You can get them at the Clearwater Times Building, 710 Court St., or by sending a $6 check, which includes the cost of postage, to Times Bicycle Tour, c/o Dale Kleine, 710 Court St., Clearwater 34616.
They're good-looking, good-quality shirts.
Chamber plans to laud teachers
The Greater Clearwater Chamber of Commerce is planning a big teacher appreciation breakfast at the Long Center on Jan. 18, and is seeking individuals and businesses to sponsor tables at $60 each. Each contributor will receive one seat for himself at a table for 10.
Eight-hundred teachers in the Clearwater area are expected to attend.
Call Georgia Ronk this week at the Chamber, 461-0011, if you're interested.