Saturday, May 14, 2016

Burger Time

    It’s been 10 years, since I ate at Burger King. Husband, however, gets a hankering for a Whopper every once in awhile. This comes from a man who eats chicken and fish seven days a week, won’t eat sausage, and has low-fat yogurt every morning for breakfast. The last time he had a craving for Burger King, I passed. Today is a new day.

            We arrived in Minnesota two days ago. My pantry is bare and I really need to go to the grocery store (and state-run liquor barn), but we have one vehicle, a new diesel truck. Hubby isn’t ready to turn the key fob over to wife just yet. I’ve learned a long time ago to not mess with a man’s truck! Around 11:00 a.m. he states that he wants to go to either Burger King or McDonalds for lunch, and he actually asked if I wanted to go along. I considered this my way of entering the vegetable aisle at Central Market, so I agreed, as long as we made a stop at the grocery store. He agreed. He asked me which I preferred, Mickey D’s or Booger Palace. Not wanting a flat, tasteless piece of cardboard, I chose the King.

            He ordered the Whopper meal deal. Since this will probably be my last visit to BK for another decade, I ordered the bacon burger with cheese, meal deal. It was advertised as having A-1 sauce on it, which was the deciding factor. I went to get my drink, squirt ketchup into five of those little tiny cups, and searched for a clean table. I always have a mixed drink when I go to the fountain, half Diet Coke and half Cherry Coke. The Cherry Coke adds a little flavor to the seltzer fizz that usually comes out of the Diet Coke spout.

            I opened the wrapper on my burger and the grease had already saturated the wax paper. It’s a good thing I grabbed a handful of napkins (I usually take some home for the dining room table) because I used every one of them. I found two 6-inch diameter beef-by-product patties squeezed to a height of an eighth of an inch, sliding between two minuscule buns. The bacon was barely warm and the processed cheese square hung out one side. As I ate, I searched for the A-1 sauce, but apparently the cook forgot that part of the deal. I kept eyeing husband’s Whopper, wishing I hadn’t been such a pig and opted for the healthier lettuce, tomato, and special sauce burger.

            As I watched the other patrons entering the restaurant, I could tell they ate at Burger King a lot. At least I can still see my feet. Then I started to feel my own belly expand and my stomach object to all the grease it was forced to digest. My veins began to harden, and my legs buckled from the added dose of cholesterol. Quick, give me a statin! I’ve always been a good girl, however, and eaten everything on my plate, except the French fries. I couldn’t choke down any more of those little twigs.

            After lunch, we drove by Central Market. It was packed! Cars were lined up down the road to turn into the parking lot. The marquee was flashing, “Mega Meat Sale Today Only.” No wonder. We are in carnivore country. Turning right, we headed towards Wal-Mart where we knew we could get bread and milk without having to fight the herds – well, almost. It is Wal-Mart, after all.

            With so many delicious pubs around lake country where we live, we have a huge choice of yummy grass-fed, all-beef hamburgers. And we can always wash them down with an ice-cold beer. I love the hamburgers in these pubs, not the factory-made pressed meat of a chain. No more Burger King for me.

            Disclaimer, just in case Burger King is reading this: Okay, I admit it, I really enjoyed my Burger King hamburgerJ.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day

Today is Mother’s Day. I am sitting in a truck with my husband driving through Utah on our way to our summer home in Minnesota. It’s raining, and the Beatle’s song “Just Another Day” is appropriately playing on the radio. You may be asking yourself some questions: “Why are you traveling on Mother’s Day?” and “Why are you driving through Utah to go from Arizona to Minnesota?” These are very good questions, and husband believes he has very logical answers. Walleye season opens on Mother’s Day weekend, and Bass season opens the weekend before Memorial Day. Husband must have time to prepare the boat and get settled in the house before the marathon fishing begins. To answer the next question, we drive west, then north, to avoid tornado alley through Kansas and Nebraska. What do I know, I’m just along for the ride, which pretty much sums up my married life.

            I had a wonderful mother. She was kind, always putting others before herself. She was devout, bringing her children up in the church. She was smart, keeping up with the bookwork and finances for her entrepreneurial husband. After reflecting on the 20 years I spent in my mother’s house, a few stories come to mind.

            Birthdays were always a special occasion. It didn’t matter which family member’s birthday we were celebrating, we would first go to a favorite restaurant and then come back to the house for cake and ice cream using colorful plates and matching napkins purchased from the Hallmark store. If it was a special birthday, like turning 10, 13, or 16, she would host a party for my friends with a theme of my choosing. One year I had all my friends over for a slumber party and we made crazy hats to wear. I still have the goofy pictures of us sitting on the sofa in the living room.

            One afternoon when I was about 10 years old, I found a straight pin and decided to scratch my name on the wooden footboard of my antique bed that my mother just had refinished. I honestly don’t know why. Children don’t usually know the reason why they do something. An idea pops into their heads, and they just do it. That’s the first time I saw my mother really angry with me. She even walloped my behind. Later, she felt bad that she had spanked me and sat down with me to discuss what I had done. She analyzed that I had some special inner need to claim something that truly belonged to me, so that’s why I branded my bed with my name.

            When I was home from college one weekend, I drove 50 miles to visit my boyfriend in another city. I didn’t get home until almost midnight and of course, my mother was still up waiting for me. Instead of getting mad at me, she got mad at my boyfriend for allowing me to drive home so late. She never criticized me or made me feel stupid.

            Sharing special moments with my mother will always be imprinted in my mind. We sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee with Half and Half and eating a warm sweet roll smothered with melting butter. We’d make chocolate-covered marshmallows, and she’d show me how to tell a soft ball from a hard ball by dropping the chocolate on an ice cube. She wanted to try a cigarette one time when I was home from college, so we sat in the family room and smoked one together. We shopped for clothes together. We sat on the porch swing as she told me about her childhood as a preacher’s kid. I could ask her anything and she would answer. She attended all the plays I performed in and told me how much she enjoyed them. She bragged to her friends about my good grades. She told me I was pretty.

            Mother would never ridicule me or make me feel stupid. She would walk beside me and rejoice in my accomplishments. She would listen to me and valued my opinions. She was not judgmental and respected all creeds and races. I treated my own children the same way.

            I miss my mother, and I will remember those special moments when I feel down and I’m just “along for the ride.”

Monday, May 2, 2016

Falling Down

I have a propensity to fall down - a lot! Lucky for me, I haven’t broken anything - yet! I feel very fortunate that I still have all my bones and skull intact because the more severe the injury is in direct proportion to the age of the person. The following four missteps - pun intended - can be viewed as the most humiliating.

            The first falling down was a terribly embarrassing moment. It was a lovely day in Small Town, Minnesota. Husband was playing golf, and I had the entire day to do just as I pleased. I took myself to town, treated myself to lunch, and indulged my womanly urge to go shopping. I left the local department store on Main Street carrying a few packages, and I’m sure I was whistling a tune because all was at peace with the world. Suddenly, the toe of my sandal caught on a crack in the sidewalk, and I went flying, face down, onto the hard surface - shopping bags became airborne. Other than the wind getting knocked out of me, I was fine, except for the red gushing to my cheeks from embarrassment. I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a car slowing down. The woman passenger was staring at me with a surprised expression. I’m sure she was struggling with her inner “Minnesota Nice,” trying to decide whether or not to stop to pick me up. With the look of a dog that had just fallen off the sofa, I pushed myself up, picked up my bags, and continued walking down the street with my head held high – and my eyes on the path in front of me.

            The next falling down was simply due to stupidity. We were in North Carolina for a NASCAR race. I was walking with my husband’s cousins back to a motel after eating at a restaurant, and we decided to take a short cut through a field of dried grass and dirt. I saw the wire fence. I observed that part of the wire was lying on the ground in front of us. I watched as everyone stepped over the wire. And I reminded myself to step over the wire too. My mind, however, did not communicate these observations to my feet. I felt my ankle tangle in the wire, and down I went. “I’m ok,” I confirmed to the cousins’ backs as they continued walking. After freeing the wire from my foot, I stood up, brushed dirt and weeds from my jeans, and hurried to catch up.

            The third falling down involved alcohol. It’s a good thing, really, because there could have been blood and a possible lawsuit. It was Super Bowl Sunday and we had been invited over to a friend’s neighbor’s house. They both live on a hill overlooking a golf course and lovely views of the colorful Arizona sunsets. Their homes are just as lovely and upper class. We walked into a tile entryway, and as with the more elegant homes, the entryway had a step down into the living room. My feet automatically stepped down, one by one, without any effort at all. My mind successfully communicated this endeavor to my lower extremities. After a few glasses of wine, and socializing with the elite, the football game was finally over and friends started to leave the party. When my party of four decided to depart, my feet apparently did not recall the step down because they did not mindfully step up. I stubbed my toe on the step and sprawled spread eagle across the tile entryway. This was not only embarrassing; it was humiliating to act like such a klutz in the company of the upper echelon. I’ve never been back to that house.

            The final falling down occurred a few months ago. My friend and I had just left an event where we had imbibed in a few glasses of wine. I was completely lucid, but very relaxed from drinking nature’s calming elixir.  My friend wanted to stop by her daughter’s house for a few minutes. I had been in this house many times before. There is a large entryway, a step down into an office off to the right, and a step down into the family room just beyond that. We stepped down into the family room, I conveyed my pleasantries to their sweet family, and patted their bouncy little yellow lab puppy. We had a charming little chat; I inquired about the daughter’s health. We turned to leave and my brain must have fallen asleep because I tripped on the step up from the family room, rolled around with my feet flying in the air, and fell down the step into the office. Sympathy from my friend burst forth in a belly laugh, and the lovely family could barely contain their chuckles. Had the dog not been ushered outside earlier, she would have come to my rescue with a big slobbery kiss. It was certainly a good thing I had leggings on under my skirt or my red face would not have been the only thing exposed.

            In the future, in order to protect my osteoporotic bones, I must either succumb to using a walking stick, or give up drinking. I think I’ll check out those new canes at the medical supply store.