Thursday, December 30, 2004

Thursday dinners with Evelyn

In yesterday's post ("Me and Joe") I mentioned that we pick up Joe's mother Evelyn for dinner every Thursday night. All three of us really enjoy and look forward to this; not because we eat some place exclusive or fancy, but simply because we have a good time together.

Evelyn lives in a town with a surprisingly small number of restaurants for the town's population, so we frequent many of the same restaurants. And, some of the restaurants have been placed on our DNR (Do Not Return) list. Some of those on the DNR list include Bob Evans, TGI Friday's, and the chinese place next door to the vet. Now, we are not boycotting Bob Evans or TGI Friday's in general, we've simply learned that the food at this particular Bob Evans is horrible and the service at this particular TGI Friday's is terrible. We've never actually eaten at the chinese place next door to the vet, but the stories we've all heard about chinese restaurants replacing the chicken with cat AND it's proximity to the vet need no further explanation.

During our regular Thursday dinners with Evelyn she tells us in detail about her week's activities, family news, and upcoming events. She's a very active senior citizen. We get to hear all of the details of her Saturday morning shopping trips with Gloria at JC Penney, the day trips to Atlantic City NJ and Williamsburg VA, her overnighter to Ogleby WV to see the 'festival of lights' (the little town is lit up for Christmas), and her 4-day trip to Dollywood. She sometimes brings us back refrigerator magnets or Christmas tree ornaments from these 'exotic' locations. She often goes on these trips with various groups to which she belongs, and often one or more of her girlfriends will join her. We affectionately refer to her circle of female friends as the hag bridage. Gloria is one of the hag bridage.

One Thursday when Mike from Seattle was visiting, the four of us ate at Bertucci's, an Italian restaurant chain. The food and service are rather good, and there are no vets nearby. As Evelyn told us about her Saturday morning shopping with Gloria at JC Penney, she says that she and Gloria passed a man in JC Penney who was dressed as a woman. She continues: "After the man is out of earshot, Gloria looks at me and says 'Aw Christ! Did you see that? What is this world coming to?'" Of course, the four of us can barely contain our laughter as we imagine Gloria's tactless remark in the store. The rest of the evening we insert 'Aw Christ!' into our conversations.

Just recently, Evelyn told us about a trip taken with another of the hag bridage, Helen. Helen used to live across the street from Evelyn, but now lives in a condo. She's been married 6 times. She's 83 years old but thinks of herself as the senior citizen version of Heather Locklear. Helen doesn't like the way her beautician styles her hair because she thinks it looks 'too fixed'. Helen prefers her hair to look 'wind-blown'. Evelyn says her hair looks like she just rolled out of bed. Evelyn goes on to tell us that on this recent trip Helen was encouraging Evelyn to wear more make-up and to tossle her hair a bit. Helen even put Evelyn's make-up on for her, to show her how she should look. Never wanting to offend anyone, Evelyn kindly thanked Helen for showing her how to do her make-up. Helen kept going on and on, as if she were some beauty consultant. So Evelyn wrapped it all up by saying "I promise I'll try to do it like this in the future. I want to be just like you, Helen." Joe & I burst out laughing! 'I want to be just like you' is something a child might say, not an adult. But Helen apparently took the remark as a compliment. Evelyn said they had a great time together on the trip.

One Thursday our friends Hugh & Kerry and Kerry's dad George joined us for dinner with Evelyn. We ate at the Family Restaurant & Pizzeria. Afterward we all went back to Evelyn's house for coffee and apple pie. Evelyn didn't bake the pie, it was store bought. She says she 'cooked dinner every night for 48 years' for her husband and family (not actually true - they often ate out) so she rarely cooks or bakes now that her kids are grown and her husband is deceased. Evelyn made the coffee and asked me to help her cut and serve the apple pie. After placing a few pieces onto plates and sending them out to the others I notice that there is orange-colored fruit in this apple pie. Unknown to me and Evelyn in the kitchen, the others in the living room have discovered this is not apple pie - it's peach pie. I become a bit concerned and say out loud "Umm, there is orange-colored fruit in this apple pie..." From the living room Joe replies "It's peach pie." From the kitchen Evelyn shouts back "It's not cheap pie... it cost $6.99!!!" Amongst the laughter, Joe tells her "Peach pie - not cheap pie." I look at the box and sure enough, it's clearly labeled Peach. We all have a good laugh, and as Hugh, Kerry and George are leaving, we promise to get together for dinner again soon, and that we'll have to be sure to have some CHEAP pie afterwards.

Then there was the time Joe, Evelyn and I had finished eating at a restaurant called King Street Blues. (Evelyn calls it Hill Street Blues, like the late-80s TV show.) As we're leaving she and I both grab mints. Once in the car, I said something to Joe and he smelled my mint. "Is that spearmint?" he asked. I said "Yeah. It's green and white, rather than the red and white peppermints they usually have." Then from the back seat Evelyn pops up "Mine is sour cream flavored." I said "What??? I've never heard of a sour cream mint before..." and Joe and I begin to laugh. The more we think about it, the harder we laugh! Now, we can imagine mints that might be flavored like different fruits (remember those fruit flavored lifesavers?) but sour cream??? By this time Evelyn is cracking up too. I have to stop driving for a moment in order to wipe the tears from my eyes and recover from the laughter!! So now, every Thursday when we leave any restaurant with a mint, I ask Evelyn if she got a sour cream mint this time.

Check back regularly for more episodes of Thursday dinner with Evelyn. :-)

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