Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Kiss and Roses and an Odd Anniversary Experience

Our 58th wedding anniversary last Sunday started with a good morning kiss and a hand-picked bouquet with roses on the breakfast table. I spent the morning at Katherine’s giving meds and breakfast.  Since it was also Father’s Day, I met up with Gerald and our  daughter Mary Ellen and her husband Brian after church, and they drove us  down to the floating restaurant at Elizabeth for dinner.  Gerald and I had talked about going there since we like being on the river, and we like the boat’s  somewhat primitive atmosphere The Taylors had never been, and it seemed the perfect beautiful drive to climax with fish from the Ohio River.  We all had hoped Trent might go along and he almost did, but as I will explain in a minute, we ended up being glad he had chosen to stay home.

By the time we drove there, it was a late dinner hour and we were hungry.  The cars lining the river bank warned us that many fathers thought their fish dinner was a good idea for Father’s Day, but that was to be expected.  In recent years, a double deck extra room has been attached to the original boat, and we also noted a couple of families had pulled their boats up on one side for a drive-in dinner.  Inside we were sent back to the outside to climb up into the extra room where they thought we would find seating.  

The waitress there explained there was no communication between the inside and outside and all tables were taken.  Rather than stand there in the narrow aisles looking like hungry vultures waiting for other customers’ table, we climbed back down and decided to enjoy the wooden walkway over the river on the other side of the boat.  Gerald went back in and put our names on the inside waiting list.  Actually it was not that long before our name was called although we figured already that Trent would have had his fill of waiting by then and we laughed at his wise choice. 

It is customary to share tables, and the waitress sat another couple at the end of our long table and we acknowledged each other with smiles and nods as they carried on their conversation and we continued ours.   A long time later menus arrived and our table’s orders taken.   And we continued visiting.  Until we ran out of anything to talk about except wondering when they were going to bring our food. 

By now we had started conversing with the couple on the end of our table and found out they had been at the Marion race track the evening before although they lived in another area town. The man was a long-time hobby race car driver and the wife his fan,  Although none of us had ever been at that rural track, we have always been able to hear the pleasant buzz of the racing cars on Saturday night. The couple knew all kinds of people we knew, and soon we were well acquainted and enjoyed being distracted from our hunger. They said usually on Sunday they go to the Red Onion in Equality for a wonderful menu of home cooking. But they decided to do something different; by the time they saw all the parked cars at the boat, it was too late to make it to Equality before the 3 o’clock closing time. We had never heard of the Red Onion, but their description made us salivate. Others around us were growing increasingly impatient and grumbling loudly that it was well over an hour since their orders were taken.  Some walked out.  We held our breaths when someone was testy thinking perhaps one table finally served may have come in after their order was taken. It was getting ridiculous.

Fortunately Mary Ellen and Brian were pleasant companions, and we all knew that fate had been kind that  21-year-old Trent had elected to stay home to eat and happily enjoy his games and many close Internet geek friends and skyping with his girl friend in New Jersey.  We made dumb jokes about their having to fish out the back of the boat in order to have the fish to cook for our orders.  But we were hungry.  And there were no snacks served nor any explanations.

Finally the two very young waitresses arrived with trays of food for both ends of our table.  They started to leave us with no utensils to eat with and fortunately the woman on the end told them we needed silverware.  Before I knew it, I had snapped, “And an apology.”  Immediately the good manners the  two young women had received from their parents kicked in, and they both spoke sincere-founding apologies.  No explanations, however.

When we realized we lacked catsup and tartar sauce, I retrieved them from a nearby table now empty.  I was feeling sheepish about my rude remark, but at the same time, I thought it was good the young waitresses got the instruction the management failed to give them, and I hoped they gave the apology to the other hungry waiting customers.  As far as I know, no apology, explanation, nor adjustment of the bill was given to Brian, but he was gracious enough to sum up the experience with the remark, “The fish was good!” 

We had another lovely drive home going through the Garden of the Gods enjoying the cliffs and all the greenery there.  Southern Illinois is beautiful this time of year.  We swung through historic Equality and saw the Red Onion.  I am sure we will go back to the boat someday, but it will not be on a Sunday or holiday.  But maybe the Red Onion will be tried this summer.

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