Saturday, November 14, 2009

Birthday Dinner

The Reverend Sir has a conference all weekend, so last night was the appointed night to celebrate my birthday. I was instructed to come home after school, put on a pair of jeans, and get in the car. So I came home and did as I was instructed, but was told to wait, because the freezer repairman was supposed to be here at 4:30, to install a part that was on order for two weeks. Nothing says freezer repair urgency like turkeys on sale for 25 cents a pound. So we waited, and waited. Waiting is good! It really teaches virtues, like patience, and muttering under one's breath, and feeding your child cookies so that he can wait to eat dinner when it is past his bedtime.

The repairman finally came, and he left before I realized he was gone. The freezer hums! It is now a hungry maw awaiting our frozen greed. (sorry, I am in the midst of a unit of Shakespeare). I was finally given clearance to get in the car and off we went to the mystery restaurant. An aside about me: I really don't like surprises. I tell myself I do, but you are reading the blog of a woman who has been known to unwrap Christmas presents when no one is around and then re-wrap them. I leave the room at the climax of crime shows because I just can't stand the suspense. Weird, perhaps, but some may find it charming. So, I am squirming in the passenger seat of our car because I have no idea where we are going. I know it is not a fancy restaurant because Lucas is with us, and I am wearing jeans. Those days went away a long time ago. I don't think The Rev. would take me to Marie Callender's or Mimi's for my birthday, because he never mentioned a coupon. My solution to my angst was to play with my cell phone, which drives my husband nuts. So, I have a child in the backseat who is stressing me because he is being so good and it is his dinnertime so something must be wrong with him, and a husband who is dangling a mystery restaurant over my head. To me. A self acclaimed food snob. I'm surprised I didn't break out in hives last night.

We wound up in Vista, and The Rev. said, "Help me find the Famous Dave's." Famous Dave's? You are taking your wife, who spent the majority of her life raised on juke-joint barbecue and her mama's farmhouse potato salad to a chain barbecue restaurant? You must think that age has begun to soften my gray matter. But, dear reader, I kept these thoughts to myself, and while I was pondering them in my heart, I pointed and said, "Oh, look, it is the new Sonic. How cute." And then The Rev. gets this sly grin on his face and he says, "Maybe you would rather have Sonic." Dumb me, I reply, "Nah, I don't think I want Sonic." Dumb me. Of course you want to eat Sonic, because that WAS YOUR HUSBAND'S ORIGINAL INTENT YOU MORON. Your husband, who you think doesn't listen to all the important words you have to say, decides to do something sweet and romantic (albeit totally southern, mildly redneck) way and you deny him. Nice. He deserves the birthday meal for agreeing to put up with you until death. So I recover and I say, "Well let's figure this out, they don't look that busy." HA HA HA.

We circle the block and the restaurant has the entrances blocked off. We pull up and ask the uniformed girl what we have to do to get our cherry limeade fix. She pointed up the street and said, "Take two rights and go to the dirt lot. That's the staging area." Wait. Staging area? What is that? It's Sonic. I come from a part of the country where Sonic is as ubiquitous as Baptist churches, Dollar General stores, and Kroger. Seriously, a staging area? At least it is in a dirt lot, that evokes some memories of home, and authenticity, but who am I to judge.? I was going to eat Sonic; I could handle a little off-roading. So we drove the appointed two blocks and looked at the 36 cars lined up in the staging area and we decided to go to Famous Dave's. The Rev. and I agreed that while we did indeed love and cherish one another, we recognized it was not worth a test of one's patience, especially not one of that magnitude.

We ate our barbecue, and we enjoyed our beer, and Lucas was an angel during the meal. When we left, we thought we would drive by one more time, because maybe the line wouldn't be so bad and we could get a Banana Cream Pie shake. We pulled up to the staging area, and the teen-age boy asked, "Do you want car-hop or drive-thru?" I replied, "Food doesn't taste any different if a girl on roller skates brings it to me, so give me drive-thru." He waved us through, gave us a ticket (are your reading this, my Tennessee friends? Especially the ones who would sneak off campus with me at lunch to the Sonic that was a block from the school? You better RELISH your next Coney dog, or Toaster sandwich, because you are eating PURE GOLD.) and off we went to wait for fifteen minutes behind a guy who read the entire menu before ordering. You think I am exaggerating that point. I am not exaggerating that point. We finally ordered, and I had to settle on a chocolate cream pie shake because they were out of banana. It really didn't matter because I got two sips before a greedy toddler screeched in my ear for a sip and clutched the cup to him like it was a chalice from the last crusade.

It was an enjoyable ride home, and the Sonic trip kindled some memories of our early marriage, when I would sell tickets at the high school football game and The Rev. would watch the game in the stands, often sitting behind the mother of one of my students. She would clang a cowbell and in a thick, syrupy accent screech, "Low-Ull! Low-ull!" Her son's name was Lowell, and I think you get the picture. After the game we would go to Sonic and listen to the high school football reports on the radio and talk about Hunter's Lane's chances at the playoffs. Now we marvel at how different our lives are, but different in a better way. It was worth the suspense.


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