Posted tagged ‘out to dinner’

“It isn’t how much time you spend somewhere that makes it memorable: it’s how you spend the time.”

July 13, 2017

The weather is crazy. It is sunny then cloudy then sunny again. The humidity is so thick you can cut it with a knife (my father loved that old saw. The wording is repetitive, I know,  but what the heck). It is supposed to rain later today and again tomorrow. I have nowhere to go so I’m just fine with rain.

When I was a kid, I loved summer rains. We used to stay outside and get wet, even soaked. The stronger the rain, the more the fun. We’d splash at each other with the rainwater running down the gutters in the street. Sometimes the water ran so strongly it resembled a river with white rapids, or at least it seemed that way to us. Paper boats never had much of a chance. I think my love of the rain came from the joy we felt during summer storms.

We didn’t always go on vacation when I was a kid. Mostly we stayed home and did day trips, what they call a staycation now. I think my family invented that. We kids didn’t care. My mother and father planned great excursions. We did beach days. I remember swimming in water left by low tide and surrounded by sand bars. The sandwiches always had a bit of grit. We’d walk the beach and collect shells. By the end of the summer, I’d have quite a collection.

I remember the museums. They weren’t air conditioned in those days, but they always felt cool, the way my hometown library and post office did. I have two vivid memories of stuff at museums. At the Museum of Fine Arts, I remember the sarcophagi. They were in one giant room and they looked enormous to me. I was impressed and amazed they once all held mummies. At the Peabody Museum at Harvard I remember the outrigger hanging from the ceiling and the ape heads in jars. For some reason those heads fascinated me. They were in rows, jar after jar.

We went to the drive-in often as my grandfather had a pass so our car got in free. Bringing bug juice and popped corn from home and candy from the store made it a fairly inexpensive evening. There were always two movies and an intermission. The first movie was for kids and the second for adults as kids were expected to have fallen asleep by then or why the pajamas?

We’d go out to dinner one night during our stay at home vacation which was such a treat as we seldom went out to dinner. We’d go to Kitty’s in the next town over. It was always busy and cheap enough. I remember the waitresses carrying huge trays with several plates of foods on them. I watched kind of hoping to see plates hit the floor. They didn’t.

It never occurred to me we stayed home because we didn’t have the money for an away vacation. All the wonderful day trips are what I remember the most. I love museums thanks to those trips. I have seashells on display in the kitchen. Our Saturday outside movie nights are like the drive-in without the car but not without the candy.

“The most fortunate are those who have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy.”

November 26, 2015

I am reposting last year’s Thanksgiving musings. They can’t be bettered. There is, however, one change. We are going out to eat. I’ll have to dress for dinner. Yesterday I made my chocolate pie. My sister made her chocolate pie as well as her other pies. My other sister literally had to stuff her huge turkey into the roasting pan. It just fit.

I always think a day set aside for giving thanks has to be the best of all days.

Thanksgiving is the least adorned holiday of them all. We don’t buy each other presents or decorate the house. There are no new outfits in spring colors. The highlight of the day is dinner and being together around the table as a family related by blood or friendship. Of all the holidays, it is the one in which we all share so much in common. Traditional dishes unique to each family are served but so are turkey and mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy and all those pies. It is the time for us to remember the people we love who are no longer with us and to appreciate the ones who are. We give thanks for the good in our lives, the food on our tables and the glory of every day. We talk together and laugh together at dinner. We pass the rolls, the green bean casserole and the canned cranberry sauce with the ribbing. We eat until we can eat no more. We finish by doing some cleaning up then relaxing in the living room until we have some room for dessert.

This morning I will watch the parade, the same as I have done as long I can remember. I’ll talk to my sisters to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. I won’t dress fancy for Thanksgiving, none of us really do. I’ll sit with my friends and enjoy every part of the day. I am thankful for the life I have been lucky enough to live, for the people I love and the people who love me.

I am thankful for all of you, my Coffee family.

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.”

April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

I set my alarm for 7:00 and sneaked down to my neighbor’s yard to decorate the tree by their deck. Just as I was nearly finished, the back door was opened and the dog came out. She wagged her tail and walked over some pats. The door was closed behind her, but I left right then with a few eggs still in the bag hoping I had escaped unseen.

The vet could find nothing wrong with Gracie. All the tests for a stroke were negative. He suggested, as a couple of you did, that she had eaten something in the yard or had something caught in her teeth. I gave her one of her Easter treats this morning: a dog cannoli. She bubbled at the smell, and it disappeared in a heartbeat. She still has another cannoli and a frosted bunny left. Gracie likes Easter.

The day is sunny and bright, a bit chilly but a spring morning chill, the sort which disappears as the day grows older. It’s a quiet morning on my street, the way Sundays used to be. Not even the dogs are barking.

My friends and I will go out to dinner this afternoon to our Easter restaurant. It is a dressy place: men wear suits and most women wear dresses and some even have hats. We wait for a table by the window as the view of the ocean is amazing. The surf hits the rocks and the water spews into the air. Seagulls swoop over the water and we can hear their loud squawks through the glass. The food is delicious and the drinks remarkable.

Sometimes the Easter Bunny left our baskets on the kitchen table. Other times we’d find them on our bureaus. The big chocolate rabbit was always in the middle, in the most prominent spot. I remember some rabbits were hollow while others were pure chocolate inside and out. I liked the jelly beans and black was always my favorite. I loved sticking out my black tongue, an Easter phenomenon, for everyone to see. We never had a big breakfast on Easter morning when we were kids. Mostly it was cocoa or tea and toast. Nobody wanted food. We wanted candy.

I don’t like soft peeps. They have to be so hard they make a noise when tapped on a table. That was how they arrived in Ghana after two months in transit, and I have loved then that way ever since then. My mother used to buy them, open them and let the air make them hard. Right now I have two small packs of opened peeps too soft still for eating.

I wish you all a wonderful day.

‘Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.’

December 19, 2013

Yesterday what usually takes an hour and thirty minutes or, at most, an hour and forty-five minutes took three hours and forty-five minutes. I went from the Cape to a town about 15 miles from Boston to pick up my sister to go out to dinner. Along the way were electronic signs saying things like Exit 12, seven miles-forty five minutes. My favorite was the five miles, fifty-five minutes warning. They weren’t wrong. On the radio, the traffic guy kept saying he hadn’t seen the like of these traffic jams in and out of the city ever before on a normal day. The traffic was the same the day before but a snow storm was the cause. By the time I got to my sister’s, my body was permanently molded in the shape of my car seat. I got out and stretched but to little avail.

My sister came right out as we were pretty late for our reservation and off we went. I decided not to look for a parking spot and, instead, parked in a lot right by the restaurant which a sign explained was not for patrons of the restaurant. The sign in front of where I parked my car threatened towing. I threw caution to the wind figuring I had already had my hell on Earth for that day. The hostess didn’t look up until after we had given our name. When she did, we both let out a happy, surprised shout. We hugged. She, Sully, explained to my sister we had known each other since the first grade at St. Patrick’s and then told a story about Sister Hildegard, the nun about whom we all still tell stories. Sully got whacked by her for talking in line. Sully’s mother took the stance all parents did when it came to the nuns, “You must have deserved it.”

Dinner was delicious. Mine was lobster ravioli in a light brandy tomato cream sauce. My sister dined on sautéed shrimp with mushrooms and artichoke hearts in a white wine sauce over penne. I had them make me a cosmo with pomegranate juice instead of cranberry. That first sip alone almost made the trip worthwhile.

I amazed myself by not being crazed. What could I do? I listened to Christmas music and sang along. When I got off the highway, it was to more traffic at a red light, but I was at Spot Pond and across the way I could see the colored lights from the zoo, an every year attraction. A huge lit tree with swags of lights was right next to the road. I didn’t go through town but went the back way through streets I used to walk as a kid. I saw two of the most decorated houses I’ve seen all year. They were so amazing I drove that way to my sister’s house after dinner so she could see them.

The ride home was at g-force. I was a red flash on the highway and made it home in under an hour and a half. Gracie was thrilled to see me. I immediately changed into slippers and comfy clothes. I must have had a Pollyanna moment because when I thought about the trip I decided seeing my sister made it worthwhile. Dinner too was delicious, and it was a wonderful surprise seeing Sully again. Christmas sneaks up on us in most unusual ways. 

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