My son’s birthday was this week. My mother decided that she would take him out to eat for his birthday. So far so good. One issues was he never knows exactly when he is going to get home and mom doesn’t eat late. Shoot, she is usually in bed by six thirty in the afternoon. So we didn’t go on his birthday. He was off work today, so this afternoon they made plans to go out around six this evening. Surprised me too. I bet she won’t do that again as it got crazy.
Plan A, was to go to a local fish house. The food is great, the service is great and you get more than plenty to eat. My son left to go and get us a table as I pulled down to my folks to pick them up. I had been drafted to drive. Which was fine. Anyway, we get almost there when mom realizes that she doesn’t have a mask. She usually keeps one in her sweater pocket, only she was not wearing her usual sweater. I told her that I thought I would have one that would work long enough for her to get to the table and back.
When I pull up to a traffic light that is just above a fire station, we see the lights of a truck preparing to pull out. Even when the light changed for me to go, I waited to see which was the firetruck was going. As I headed in the direction of the fish house, I should have taken that as some warning. No, the firetruck wasn’t going to the restaurant. My son called though and asked where we were. I told him we were almost there, why?
He told me it was bad. The parking lot was full, people were lined out the door and there was a two hour wait. Nope-nope-nope. Its good, but not that good. I first told him that I would go on past and just go back home. That was when he asked about a different possibility. One for which mom and dad readily agreed.
Plan B, Cracker Barrel.
But first, we had to detour back home to get mom her mask. It wouldn’t be that much out of the way.
We get her mask and head back out. As we are making our way there, my son calls and asked where we were. I told him we were on our way, exactly where we were, and that we had went home for a mask. He then told me that it was a forty minute wait. Which, considering we weren’t there yet, was not a problem.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned, I really don’t care much for driving at night. One reason, oncoming headlights. Like the one that came suddenly around a curve, lights on bright and all I could see was white. The driver did dim the lights finally. Two seconds before they went by me. I finally get to the restaurant and then begin the search for somewhere to park. My son calls this the Cracker Barrel five hundred. Especially if it takes more than one trip around to find a parking spot.
I did manage to find parking in the back. Where I pulled in there was two empty spots. Plenty of room. We sat there in the car waiting. My son who was also parked in back joined us. It got strange after that.
The conversation was one of those disjointed, jump around, wise crack and step right to the edge of rude without crossing over. Poor mom, all she wanted was quiet. Dad doesn’t seem to know quiet. Finally dad decided he wanted to go inside and my son walked with him, leaving me with mom.
Did I say it was strange before? For some reason all mom could talk about was dead people. While she talked about yet one more relative that had passed a car pulled in beside us. We watched a very large motor home look for all the world like the driver was considering pulling in to the Cracker Barrel parking lot. Sitting where I was watching, all I could say was, you’ll regret that move. Mom distracted, watched with me as someone got out, walked a short way away, then came back and they left. Good call.
Finally mom also decided she was ready to go inside.Remember that car that pulled in beside me? Mom couldn’t even open my car door enough to get out easily. But stubborn as she is, she would not slide across the seat and get out on a side with plenty of room. She was determined to get out on that side. It took some doing, but she made it out. By the time we got around and inside the building, my son was calling to let me know we had a table.
We were waited on quickly, the food came fairly quickly and was very good. The conversation, well that was the normal insanity that had mom wondering if she could sit at a table by herself. That was when my son noticed that the man from the family that had been seated not too far from us, looked a lot like Martin Truex Jr. He then proceeded to say something to the guy about how much he resembled him. My poor mom, she looked exactly as if she were trying to find somewhere to hide. The guy was super cool about it all though.
The meal over, mom went to pay the bill while we helped dad to stand up and make sure he had his walking stick. My son went around to get my car and then helped make sure they got inside and buckled up. Home safe, I made sure they got inside and had firewood in the box.
As I pulled out of their driveway I saw my son coming down the dirt road. He helped me to cover the Jeep in an attempt to keep the feral cats off.
Now, I’m sitting here writing this, taking that mental stroll down memory lane. Living in Florida. Alabama, here. Vacations. Dad clearing away the overgrown side yard and creating a make do ball field. The Pointer bird dogs he raised. Mom helping the dog who had her first litter and didn’t know to feed the puppies. Mom working, snapping beans on the porch talking with her mom. My folks, strong, capable, able. I am so very glad they are still with us. I know we are so very blessed they are still with us. I treasure the times.
I will sit and listen to mom talk about what ever she wishes. Whether the house she grew up in, times with her mom and dad, things that happened when she was working at different places. I will listen to her complain, I will be here for her. As she was so often for me. I will treasure ever single moment. For every single moment is a blessing and a memory.