Lunch At La Posada

My mother, sister and I started meeting for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant after both my sister and I had moved out and were living our own lives. My sister got pregnant soon after and had a charming baby boy named Cisco. When Cisco started eating the same food as the adults did, and he was old enough to take out, my sister brought him to have lunch with me and our mother. He was raised in a “foodie” family of foodies and always was a good eater. We met at my sister’s house and went to the restaurant together in my car.

La Posada was a small café type restaurant with windows all around the front with booths next to them and some smaller tables in the middle. We always had enough people to sit at a booth by a window. I had my first brand new car and I liked to sit where I could keep an eye on it, not that it was so valuable anyone would mess with it.

The waitress seated us and brought a high chair for Cisco, he was probably somewhere between two and three and had a pretty good vocabulary. We had never spoken baby talk to him and being my sister’s first child, my mother’s first grandchild and my first nephew he had received a lot of attention and we all spent a lot of time reading to him and doing things with him.

“What are you going to have? Should we spring for some guacamole since we haven’t done this for a while?”  I asked.

“Sure. That sounds good and will give us more time to decide what to order.” Mom replied.

“Have you decided what you want?” The cute little waitress asked us.

“Not entirely but will you bring us three Dos Equis, a small orange juice and an order of guacamole while we decide.” My sister answered her.

What I really liked about this restaurant is that it had lots of a la carte type dishes you could mix and match and you never had to order too much food like was the custom at many of the Mexican restaurants offered. I usually would get a cup of spicy ‘tomatos con chilies y arroz’ soup, a chicken taco and Mexican rice. It was all I needed and I didn’t have any leftovers.

Cisco had only been taken out to breakfast once or twice before this so he was having a good time. He was a very gregarious child and had a sunny disposition, he is still my favorite nephew thirty years later, but don’t tell his two brothers that.

When the guacamole and drinks arrived Cisco was given his own little plate with chips, salsa and guacamole. He started eating and looking around the restaurant at the people sitting at the tables near us.

“Hello.” He announced as he looked at the people right next to us. They didn’t say anything.

“Hi!” He said a little louder and still they ignored him.

He didn’t like being ignored by strangers, he was used to being the center of attention and everyone loved him. What was these people’s problem?

“Cisco. Do you like the chips?” I asked trying to distract him.

He didn’t answer me. He just looked around the room at the various people. “Fuck.” He said very matter of fact, it was actually pretty funny but of course I dared not laugh. Our mother had taught us that it was better to ignore things like this so that’s what we tried to do.

“F***!” This time a little louder, but not much, he wanted to be paid attention to.

“Shssh Cisco. Eat the chips.” My sister told him.

Oh no that wouldn’t do. “F***. F***. F***.” Still in a calm tone of voice but he was determined to get a reaction. My sister and I were trying not to look at each other because we were giggling. Our mother didn’t help because she really laughed. That was all she wrote.

“F***. F***. F***.” Again and since discipline was not something any of us were any good at my sister took Cisco out to the car and put him in the front seat where he could see the three of us in the restaurant and locked the car door and came back inside.

“I don’t know what else to do.” She said and then we looked at Cisco who had a crestfallen expression on his face. We waited until the food came and my sister went out and brought Cisco back in.

Cisco immediately started eating his food.  He got the hint that if he didn’t behave himself he wouldn’t get to sit with us.

There are many times through the years when I see parents hit their children for things like this I think back on this incident where we actually outsmarted the child.

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White Christmas

    1983 -December -Randy taping flashlight to his head to sled down the hill It was Christmas Eve and the snow had started coming down way before dawn.  Our family had been having our Christmas Eve celebration in the country at my parents’ house for many years. Their house was the only one large enough for everyone to sleep overnight at was the main reason. We enjoyed having hot buttered rums and wine and didn’t believe in driving after imbibing.  Spending Christmas there had become a family tradition for my sister and me, along with whoever we wanted to bring along, to eat, drink and be merry with. It had started as soon as she and I moved away from home after high school.

    This year would be no exception even with the heavy snowfall. Everyone would make it there in their various four wheel drive vehicles no matter how much snow fell. We always spent the night there so we could all be together on Christmas day. This would be the eighth year we had been engaging in this tradition.

My sister and her husband Randy, with their two sons who were six and three, arrived at our parents’ house first in their four wheel drive Explorer. Next on the scene was a good friend of both of us two daughters, his name was Aaron and we frequently referred to him as our brother. Aaron usually went to his parents’ house for Christmas. They lived two hours north of us and because of the heavy snow it was too dangerous to drive there so he drove out to join the party in the country with his second family.  Aaron arrived in his old four wheel drive jeep that he owned for just this kind of occasion.

My boyfriend, Greg, and I arrived last in Greg’s Volkswagen bug which navigated the snow very well. We would be sleeping on the pull out couch in the family room. Aaron would get the large couch in the living room where Annette’s two boys would sleep on the floor in sleeping bags and Annette and Randy would get the spare bedroom. There used to be a third bedroom but our father had turned it into his hobby room after my sister and I moved out and had kicked the bed out of it.

By the time Greg and I arrived the hot buttered rums were flowing freely and everyone was getting buzzed on the alcohol. The two boys were outside playing in the deep snow. When they came in the house they would steal a drink out of someone’s unwatched glass now and then. The snow hadn’t let up all day and by the time it got dark there was over three feet of snow on the ground.

“Hey Dave, do you have a sled around here?” Randy asked his father-in-law.

“There is one up in the barn. It’s hanging on the wall over the shop. Do you want me to go out there and show you where it is?”

“No I am sure I can find it. Aaron, do you go up to the barn with me to get the sled?”

“Sure. Let me go put on my sweater and snow pants. I’ll be right out.” Aaron left the room to go get the clothes he brought that were still out in his jeep.

They went out to the barn and returned with the sled.

“So who wants to go down the hill on the sled with me?” Randy looked around the room.

His two sons jumped up. “Let me ride it.” They both yelled at the same time.

Randy and the boys went outside and everyone else watched from the living room. Randy sat the kids on the sled and shoved it down the hill. After a while the kids got tired of sledding and came back in the house to lust after the presents that were sitting unopened under the tree. Aaron took the sled down the hill after the boys and took an unplanned journey off of the road into the bushes.

Randy, Greg, Aaron and Dave proceeded to get quite toasted on hot buttered rum. The women were not too happy with the men.

“Dave, how about you and me and Greg go down the hill together on the sled?” Randy suggested.

“You have got to be kidding. It’s pitch black out there.” Greg wasn’t too enthusiastic.

“I can hold a flashlight.” Randy responded.

“Oh really.  How can you hold a flashlight and hold on to the sled?” Greg asked.

“I can tape it on my head,” and Randy proceeded to take duct tape and taped the flashlight on top of his head. Michele quickly grabbed her camera and took photos, she figured this ought to be good blackmail material when she got the photos developed.

Michele, Annette and their mother couldn’t quit laughing as they watched the spectacle unfold. Dave laid down on the sled first and Greg lay on top of him. Then Randy, with the flashlight taped to his head, got on the very top and the three of them proceeded down the hill.

The women watched from the living room window as the three drunken fools took off on the sled. When they were went around the corner out of sight they went to the kitchen and brought out the Christmas Eve munchies feast. This was the family tradition to have a meal consisting of all appetizers on Christmas Eve and then have a traditional dinner the next day.

When the three men walked back in the house they found everyone was sitting at the table eating.

“What took so long?” Michele asked.

“When we got to the big corner Dave couldn’t get the sled turned so the sled went off the road and ran us into the blackberries. We aren’t going to do that again.”

“Do you know how stupid you looked with that flashlight taped around your head?” Annette remarked.

“The best part is I’ve got a photograph. That is going to be a priceless photo!” Michele had trouble talking she was laughing so hard.

“I don’t care, you girls can screw off!” Randy was drunk and couldn’t really get too mad.

Everyone continued sitting at the table and ate the munchies the women had prepared. The boys were chomping at the bit to open their presents.

“It’s getting really late. Can we open the presents you said we could?” Zak pleaded to his mother.

“Oh you boys sound so pitiful. Go ahead and open them!” Annette laughed.

As soon as she had given the boys permission they rushed to the tree to find the presents that had been set aside for Christmas Eve. The rest of them would be opened the next morning.  Everyone watched as the boys tore open their Christmas Eve presents. This was the real reason everyone was there this evening. Snow and sledding had been a bonus.

White Christmas

1983 -December -Randy taping flashlight to his head to sled down the hill

     It was Christmas Eve and the snow had started coming down way before dawn.  Our family had been having our Christmas Eve celebration in the country at my parents’ house for many years. Their house was the only one large enough for everyone to sleep overnight at was the main reason. We enjoyed having hot buttered rums and wine and didn’t believe in driving after imbibing.  Spending Christmas there had become a family tradition for my sister and me, along with whoever we wanted to bring along, to eat, drink and be merry with. It had started as soon as she and I moved away from home after high school.

This year would be no exception even with the heavy snowfall. Everyone would make it there in their various four wheel drive vehicles no matter how much snow fell. We always spent the night there so we could all be together on Christmas day. This would be the eighth year we had been engaging in this tradition.

My sister and her husband Randy, with their two sons who were six and three, arrived at our parents’ house first in their four wheel drive Explorer. Next on the scene was a good friend of both of us two daughters, his name was Aaron and we frequently referred to him as our brother. Aaron usually went to his parents’ house for Christmas. They lived two hours north of us and because of the heavy snow it was too dangerous to drive there so he drove out to join the party in the country with his second family.  Aaron arrived in his old four wheel drive jeep that he owned for just this kind of occasion.

My boyfriend, Greg, and I arrived last in Greg’s Volkswagen bug which navigated the snow very well. We would be sleeping on the pull out couch in the family room. Aaron would get the large couch in the living room where Annette’s two boys would sleep on the floor in sleeping bags and Annette and Randy would get the spare bedroom. There used to be a third bedroom but our father had turned it into his hobby room after my sister and I moved out and had kicked the bed out of it.

By the time Greg and I arrived the hot buttered rums were flowing freely and everyone was getting buzzed on the alcohol. The two boys were outside playing in the deep snow. When they came in the house they would steal a drink out of someone’s unwatched glass now and then. The snow hadn’t let up all day and by the time it got dark there was over three feet of snow on the ground.

“Hey Dave, do you have a sled around here?” Randy asked his father-in-law.

“There is one up in the barn. It’s hanging on the wall over the shop. Do you want me to go out there and show you where it is?”

“No I am sure I can find it. Aaron, do you go up to the barn with me to get the sled?”

“Sure. Let me go put on my sweater and snow pants. I’ll be right out.” Aaron left the room to go get the clothes he brought that were still out in his jeep.

They went out to the barn and returned with the sled.

“So who wants to go down the hill on the sled with me?” Randy looked around the room.

His two sons jumped up. “Let me ride it.” They both yelled at the same time.

Randy and the boys went outside and everyone else watched from the living room. Randy sat the kids on the sled and shoved it down the hill. After a while the kids got tired of sledding and came back in the house to lust after the presents that were sitting unopened under the tree. Aaron took the sled down the hill after the boys and took an unplanned journey off of the road into the bushes.

Randy, Greg, Aaron and Dave proceeded to get quite toasted on hot buttered rum. The women were not too happy with the men.

“Dave, how about you and me and Greg go down the hill together on the sled?” Randy suggested.

You have got to be kidding. It’s pitch black out there.” Greg sounded skeptical.

“I can hold a flashlight.” Randy Responded.

“How can you hold a flashlight and hold on to the sled?” Greg asked.

“I can tape it on my head,” and Randy proceeded to take duct tape and taped the flashlight on top of his head. Michele quickly grabbed her camera and took photos, she figured this ought to be good blackmail material when she got the photos developed.

Michele, Annette and their mother couldn’t quit laughing as they watched the spectacle unfold. Dave laid down on the sled first and Greg lay on top of him. Then Randy, with the flashlight taped to his head, got on the very top and the three of them proceeded down the hill.

The women watched from the living room window as the three drunken fools took off on the sled. When they were went around the corner out of sight they went to the kitchen and brought out the Christmas Eve munchies feast. This was the family tradition to have a meal consisting of all appetizers on Christmas Eve and then have a traditional dinner the next day.

When the three men walked back in the house they found everyone sitting at the table eating.

“What took so long?” Michele asked.

“When we got to the big corner Dave couldn’t get the sled turned so the sled went off the road and ran us into the blackberries. We aren’t going to do that again.”

“Do you know how stupid you looked with that flashlight taped around your head?” Annette remarked.

“The best part is I’ve got a photograph of you with the flashlight taped to your head. That is going to be a priceless photo!” Michele had trouble talking she was laughing so hard.

“I don’t care, you girls can screw off!” Randy was pretty drunk so he couldn’t really get too mad.

Everyone sat down at the table and ate the munchies the women had prepared. The boys were chomping at the bit to open their presents.

“It’s getting really late. Can we open the presents you said we could open tonight?” Zak pleaded to his mother.

“Oh you boys sound so pitiful. Go ahead and open them!” Annette laughed as she said that.

As soon as she had given the boys permission they rushed to the tree to find the presents that had been set aside for Christmas Eve. The rest of them would be opened the next morning.  Everyone watched as the boys tore open their Christmas Eve presents. This was the real reason everyone was there this evening.

Don’t Laugh At Your Mother

Mom brings the barbecued chicken to the table while Dad finishes cooking his Cajun spiced potatoes.  Brenda and Dennis just arrive from Portland to spend the weekend and my sister and I help bring their luggage in while Dad and Mom finish getting dinner ready. The table is already set for dinner and waiting for everyone to sit down and eat.

Brenda is our stepfather’s daughter by his first wife and she and Dennis bought an acre of land next to our place and are moving here at the end of summer. Dad and Dennis work on the plans on where to put the trailer they bought to put on the property. Annie and I are bored so we ask if we can borrow the car and drive to the town that is five miles away and hang out with our friends until it gets dark, which will be in about three hours. We are given permission so I drive us the five miles to Marcola in the Jimmy, it is not a sexy vehicle but it beats the alternative.

It is a beautiful summer evening and when we arrive at the gravel parking lot across from the tavern, the official party zone, there are already quite a few people there. Several vehicles are backed up to each other to form a circle and everyone stands in the middle of it while they simultaneously drink and smoke various substances as they listen to music blasting from the car stereos.  It is quite a rollicking scene and one which we are quite eager to join in on.  This is where all the local teenagers hang out and try to talk their legal age buddies into buying them booze when they come out of the tavern. Frequently, especially if there were cute teenage girls in the crowd, the over 21 guys drink out in the parking lot instead of in the tavern because there are hardly ever any women in there.

After the party in the parking lot dies out we hang out with a couple of guys that rent the house next to the parking lot. They recently graduated from high school and both work at a local mill and there is a party at their house almost every night. This particular night the parking lot crowd left earlier than usual so my sister and I play a rousing game of Dominoes, smoke a joint, drink a beer and listen to the Doobie Brothers with Doug and Ken. We are having a good time and end up staying about half an hour after it got dark. It is only 10:30 so we should be alright and not get in trouble.

When we get home the porch lights are on outside but the lights inside the house are turned off and everyone is in bed, even Brenda and Dennis.  We think this is a good thing, because no one will even know we are a little late. The only problem is that we can’t see where we are going but we manage to get upstairs without making too much noise or turning on the lights. We manage to fumble our way into the bathroom before we go to our bedrooms, Brenda and Dennis are sleeping downstairs in the family room. We start to brush our teeth and take turns using the toilet, my sister goes first. We are giggling because even though we are trying to be quiet it seems like we are making a lot of noise. Every time I drop something my sister cracks up. Pretty soon mom yells for us to be quiet and we don’t say anything except we giggle a little more.

In a few more minutes we hear, “I told you guys to be quiet.”

We turn and see mom standing right by the bathroom door with her hair standing on end like she has stuck her finger in a light socket. We look at her at start laughing hysterically.

She isn’t amused, “Dave and I are trying to sleep. Be quiet and go to bed.”

“We will,” we both answer in unison.

We finish brushing our teeth, still giggling at how funny mom looks. I look over at Annette and I can see our stepfather is standing next to her in the doorway.

“Your mother told you to be quiet and to go to bed.”

I do not know what possessed my sister but she says, “We will, good night,” and shuts the door in his face.

We hear a thump against the door and then another louder one and my sister quickly jumps away from the door and hides behind me. When the third thump happens the bathroom door came crashing in, having been punched off of its hinges by our stepfather.

We stand there, terrified, as he stands there in his underwear looking at us, “Don’t laugh at your mother.”

At any other time this also would have been funny, but not this one. He turns and goes back to bed.

I whisper to my sister, “I still need to go to the bathroom but I’m afraid to. Let’s go to bed.”

We go to our bedrooms and go to sleep.

The next morning we get up and go downstairs and everyone else is already up drinking coffee.

Dad looks at us, “I ought to kick you girls asses for making me knock the bathroom door down, now I have to fix the damned door.”

“Sorry, we got stoned at Ken and Doug’s and couldn’t quit laughing.”

“I figured that out myself. You girls had such terrified looks on your faces it was hard not to laugh in the hallway but I did enjoy scaring the hell out of you after you pissed me off and I broke the door. It was almost worth it, almost.”

Mom laughs, “I heard you whisper you were afraid to go to the bathroom after Dave left to come back to bed. We got a laugh out of that, served you right!”

”I asked Dennis if I should go up and see if everything was alright and he said ‘hell no stay down here’, so I did.”  Brenda says with a laugh.

We still laugh about this incident and it is known as the night the bathroom door came crashing in.

A Dinner To Remember

My sister and I have had many incidents through the years where we have laughed so hard we could hardly talk.  There is one incident in particular that “lives in infamy” in my mind.  We went to a family reunion together and it was a road trip of about eight hundred miles.  It was the first family reunion that her and I had attended together at that particular point in time. Our genetic father died in a plane wreck when I was three months short of being three years old and my sister was three months short of being born. Our mother remarried when I was four and my sister was one, our father had several brothers and sisters that came and visited our family when Annette and were very young but my mother and stepfather became fairly anti-social as the years went by and eventually all of our relatives on our real father’s side stopped coming to visit. We had one aunt who always kept in contact by writing letters to my sister and I and as we got older and could drive we were always invited to the family reunion affairs that they held every memorial day at one of the aunt, uncles or cousins houses. We weren’t particularly interested in attending them as most of them lived in fairly unpopulated areas in the state we lived in and we were pretty much raised as “city kids” and weren’t particularly interested in what we considered the “back woods” life. One year I received a letter from my Aunt Rosalie telling of the recent reunion she had attended and that there had been a visit by a new neighbor of my Uncle Lester’s at that reunion. Lester lived in the most remote location of all of my relatives in a very small place that probably has a population of less than 30 people so the fact that Uncle Lester even had a neighbor was fairly rare but that he had an extraordinary one was virtually unbelievable. The story that was, and the one that is told, says that my Uncle and his son-in-law were playing their fiddles at a bar in one of the nearest real town of Lewiston Idaho and a man walked up to my uncle and said there was a man in the audience who wanted to play with my uncle and his band. It is said that my uncle asked if he was any good. The answer was “he used to play with Creedence Clearwater Revival”. My 65 year old uncle then said “so does that mean he is any good or not?” “Yes he is good” was the answer and John Fogerty played with my uncle that night and ended up buying a piece of property in Troy, Oregon and started up the Troy Resort (it was managed by the Shiloh Inn at that time) so that he had a place to stay when he spent time there. It was during the period of time that he had left CCR in the early 1970’s and was on his self-imposed sabbatical from the band. There is a small article about John and his time in Troy on the internet if you look it up. Well that made these family reunions way more interesting to us than they had ever been before.

I went the first one of those reunions after I found out that John might actually attend with a close friend of mine. John did not come to that one but nonetheless I saw some magnificent scenery and had a good time meeting, for the first time for most of my relatives, some very nice people.

John did show up at the reunion the first reunion that my sister and I went to together but that was only the reason we started to go to these events and not the real subject of this story. That actual family reunion is a story unto itself which I will save for another time and another story.  The story I want to tell about right now is about the funniest dinner I have ever had and definitely the most fun dinner I have ever experienced at a restaurant.

To make the events leading up to this dinner somewhat more minimal than they really were, let me suffice it to say that for the most part it was a very fun road trip with a certain amount of stress along with many other events that were novel to this particular road trip.  My sister and I are very good at traveling together, when one of us needs to stop for any reason we always happily do so, and enjoy each other’s company and have the same tastes in food and enjoy eating and drinking the same things for the most part.

On the last day of this trip when we were three hours from home (the place we journeyed to for the reunion was eight hours from where we lived so we made it a three day trip – one leisurely day to drive to the location of the reunion, one day for the actual reunion event and one day to travel home) and we were both hungry and we were approaching the last small town on our way home before we would be in a very large city at dead 5:00 rush hour if we waited any longer to eat.  So we decided to eat at the convenient location that is a well-known resort destination so we had high expectations that the food would be good and I had read good reviews of it.  When we entered the hotel we immediately got the impression that the place was a bit pretentious but we didn’t see any reason to let that deter us from having dinner there.

We first went to the bar to have a cocktail and relax a bit from the five hours of driving we had just completed. My sister and I walked into the bar and we both ordered a Bloody Mary from the fairly old waiter that asked us what we wanted.  It was the most boring one we had ever had and we started giggling when we both sipped on it and thought that very thought but what did we expect from a seventy year old man who looked like he only drank martini’s?.  A very young waiter noticed us laughing and came over to ask if we needed anything else and I told him that we wanted to have dinner there when we finished our drinks.  He told us that he would put our names on the waiting list and then he walked away.  My sister and I looked around to see who was waiting and there was absolutely no one in the bar or in the restaurant which had barely opened for business. We exchanged a smile with each other over the thought that we would actually have to wait to be seated when there was no one around but it was a hotel so maybe everyone was waiting in their rooms until it was time to eat.

We finished our drinks and walked into the restaurant and were greeted by a middle aged woman.

“Do you have a reservation?”

We looked around and saw almost all empty tables but politely replied “Yes, we had the waiter had put us down for a reservation.”

The woman looked in the reservation book and even though I couldn’t read it very well upside down it was obvious there weren’t very many names on it.

“I don’t see your name here but if you will be done by seven thirty I have a table that isn’t needed until then, will that work?”

My sister and I looked sideways at each other. It had only been 5:30 when we had gotten there and it wasn’t quite 6:00. “If it takes us more than an hour and a half to eat there would have to be a problem.  Oh sorry, that will be plenty of time, thank you.”

The lady took us to a table in the fairly large and totally empty dining room, though I did notice four people had just come walking up to the reservation desk as the lady led us to a table.  The table was by the very large window overlooking the scenic river that the hotel and restaurant were named after so we could at least look out at the beautiful setting the place was in even if the people working there were a bit on the snooty side.  The place might be a bit on the pretentious side but we were hoping the food would live up to our expectations and it looked like it possibly could from the way the dining room was laid out.

A waiter came to the table and asked if we wanted a beverage while looking at the menu and we couldn’t help ourselves.

“Bombay Martini’s please, shaken not stirred.”

Our order didn’t even get a smile from the waiter and he turned and walked away.  As soon as he walked off another man came to the table and said something with a very heavy accent that we later figured out were the specials of the day but there was no way we could understand what he had just said to us.  It was time to look at the menu.

“So did you understand any of what he just said?”

“Not much, it sounded more like he had marbles in his mouth than an accent, kind of odd if you ask me.”

“I guess I don’t want any of the specials since I don’t know what they are after hearing them explained in some language that I don’t think even exists.”

We started to laugh. “I didn’t know dinner was going to include entertainment as well as food but this should be fun, or should I say funny, as well as tasty I hope.”

Just about then the apparent maître-de walked over to the table behind us and we could over hear him explain the same specials, at least we assumed they were the same since we still couldn’t understand him, to the people at that table.  After the man walked away from the table one of the diners at that table said very loudly.

“What did he just say the specials are?  I couldn’t understand anything?”

Another person at the table answered. “I didn’t hear them either because his accent was so strong.”

Upon hearing that my sister and I looked at each other and we tried to laughed quietly.

There was a small room with two small tables in it which was off to the side of the main part of the restaurant and we watched as the maître-de and two young men dressed in waiter’s uniforms walked into it and we could hear the man address the young men in perfect English.

“I want you to move these two small tables together and cover both tables with one tablecloth and put a fifth chair at the opposite end from the doors leading in here. Set the table with place settings for five and then let the hostess know when it is ready.  Do you understand what I want?”

The two young men replied in the affirmative.

I looked at my sister and we didn’t even have to say a word before we both burst out laughing.  A waiter walked over to the table and looked at the two of us.

“May I ask you what you are laughing about?”

“Yes you may ask and then you can answer us as to why the maître-de talks so weird that no one can understand him when I just heard him speak perfect English to the help?”

“I had a feeling that was why you were laughing. He thinks that his having an accent will impress the customers.”

“It is impressive alright. I am impressed at what an idiot he is.  No one is going to order the dinner specials because they can’t understand what he is saying.”

“Let me help you with that part then, we have seafood special with a crab cocktail, a small lobster tail and large prawns. Both are grilled and served with a drawn butter dipping sauce along with risotto and a green salad.  We also have broiled lamb chops served with a red wine reduction sauce that is served with a stuffed baked potato and sautéed green beans.”

“Now that I can understand what the specials are that changes my order. I was going to order from the regular menu but now I want the seafood special.”

My sister ordered the lamb chops.  As the waiter walked away my sister and I burst out laughing again.  The waiter brought a basket of bread and a plate with an assortment of raw and pickled vegetables with a small dish of dipping sauce and placed the food on the table along with glasses of ice water.  Soon after that the maître-de brought us soup and said something else that was unintelligible as he set them in front of us.

That was the last straw and as soon as he turned away we started laughing so hard we were practically choking on our soup.  The people at the other table even looked at us because we were laughing so hard but all we could do was try not to look at each other because if we did we immediately burst out laughing.

The waiter came back to the table and he smiled a little bit.

“Your dinners should be ready in about fifteen minutes, is there anything else you would like before then?”

We managed to choke out an answer.  “Yes we need a bottle a bottle of the Napa Valley Chardonnay that was on your special wine list.”

The waiter brought out our wine immediate and the dinner in about the fifteen minutes that he mentioned. He set plates of very fine looking food in front of us and then asked if we wanted fresh ground pepper on anything.  I noticed that the small red potatoes that were mixed with new white potatoes had been trimmed up to look like mushrooms and couldn’t resist making a comment.

“Yes I would love to have pepper on everything and could I also get some butter for my mushrooms?”

“Actually those are all potatoes, the chef just likes to make the food look pretty and he trims the red potatoes up to look like mushrooms but they are really potatoes and I would be happy to bring you some butter as soon as I finish giving everyone fresh ground pepper that wants it.”  He looked at my face when he finished talking and he could tell by the smile I was sharing with my sister that I already knew that there were no mushrooms in the potatoes.  He didn’t say anything but my sister then made a priceless comment.

“We will make sure we put that in our review.”

The waiter kind of acted a little nervous and walked away to get the butter I had asked for.  We had ordered a nice bottle of wine so it gave my sister’s comment some credence that we might be having an official dinner and we were dressed up in the nice clothes we brought for the family reunion that we didn’t end up wearing (because we arrived on the day of the reunion instead of a day early like we had thought we were doing, but that is also part of another story) so we could have been working for a magazine.  Instead of paying cash like we had originally planned I put the meal on my company credit card just to complete the rouse of eating at the restaurant for an assignment.

The rest of the dinner was a nonevent; we had already had a very interesting dining experience. It was an excellent meal and the most fun I have ever had at a restaurant, still.CGH

The Night The Bathroom Door Came Crashing In

One evening when I was 16 and my sister was 13, we were living a few miles out of the small town my family had been moved to a year before that, my stepfather’s real daughter and her husband were at the house visiting and after dinner they sat around in the living room drinking wine and talking. My sister and I were bored and asked if we could borrow the car and drive down to the local hangout in town until it got dark. It was summertime and it didn’t get dark until around 10:00 and it was only 7:00 when we asked to leave. They said yes so I drove us the four miles to the town and we hung out with the teenager that lived on the main street of the town that had just graduated from high school and had rented a trailer house to live and party in. We stayed and flirted with the guys until a bit longer than dark, it was probably about half an hour. When we got home the lights were out inside the house and everyone was in bed.  We were thinking we were lucky because then no one could get mad at us for being a little late. The only problem was is that we couldn’t see where we were going. We managed to go upstairs to where our bedrooms were, Brenda and Dennis were sleeping in the family room downstairs on the fold out couch. We first went in to the bathroom to brush our teeth and go to the bathroom before we went to bed. We were giggling because even though we were trying to be so quiet it seemed like we were making a lot of noise because it was so quiet in the house. Pretty soon mom yelled out for us to be quiet and we didn’t say anything but we did giggle a little more. Then in a few more minutes we heard “I told you guys to be quiet” and we turned to look and mom was standing at the bathroom door and her hair was all messed up from her being in bed. We looked at her at started laughing at her messy hair, she told us to go to bed. We told her we would. We finished brushing our teeth and looked over to see our stepfather standing at the door and he said “Your mother told you to be quiet and go to bed.” For some reason my sister, who was on standing by the bathroom door said “We will, good night” and then she shut the door. We heard a thump against the door and then another one and my sister quickly jumped away from the door and hid behind me. The third thump brought the door wide opened having been punched off of its hinges by our stepfather. We just stood there terrified and he just looked at us and said “you better do what your mother asked you to do” and then he turned and went back to bed. We got really quiet and went to bed immediately. The next morning when we got up they were at the kitchen table drinking coffee with Brenda and Dennis. Nobody said anything for a while. A little later when my sister and I got a chance to talk to Brenda and Dennis alone they asked us what happened. We told them. Later on in the day Brenda told us that her dad had told her that when he got mad at us for not doing what mom had said and knocked the door off the hinges that we had such terrified looks on our faces it was all he could do to keep from laughing. He was also mad at himself for doing it because he was going to have to out the door back on the hinges. She also said that she asked Dennis if she should go up and see if everything was alright and he said “hell no stay down here.”  In a few years we would laugh about the event but not that day!