Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reservations On The Line

                                                                                                 Julie Kemp Pick

My younger son is turning 20 soon, so I asked him where he would like to celebrate his birthday.  As usual he wanted to finalize his plans with his friends first, before he could think about our small family dinner. He thought carefully about selecting a continental restaurant that everyone would enjoy, and left me to make the reservations.

The woman who answered the phone placed me on hold to see if she had any openings for that evening. She apologized profusely for the wait, before asking how many guests were in our party. I told her 6 people for 7:00. When she asked for my name, it showed up on her computer, as we've been there before, and she asked if we were going for a special occasion.  When I told her that it was for my son's birthday, she was very appreciative and asked if there was anything special she could do to accommodate us.  Soon she would be very sorry that she asked.

The restaurant is divided into three rooms, so I requested one of the smaller quieter rooms.  I also asked for a round table, as it is more conducive to conversation. After taking copious notes, the cheerful manager asked if there was anything else she could do for me. Then I remembered to mention that my mom uses a walker and to make sure that the aisle is wide enough for her to get through en route to our table. By this time, my son had already taken a shower and left the house.

Now the manager's only concern was how to condense the instructions. She pleasantly asked, "Would it be okay if I left out the part about the walker, as it might bring up other issues?  Oh and if your mom enters near the restrooms, there will be three steps up to the dining area. Will she be able to go up the steps, or should I make a note of it?"

I pointed out that if she entered from the vestibule, she could avoid the stairs altogether. She concurred; silently wondering how I knew the layout better than she did, when she was stationed at the hostess stand in the middle of the restaurant. Then she inquired if I would mind if she didn't mention the part about the stairs either. I said that I would leave it up to her; silently wondering who exactly would be reading this report and if it would be part of my permanent record.

As we were getting ready to say our goodbyes, she confirmed that our reservation was for 7 people at 6:00. I gently reminded her that it was for 6 people at 7:00.  She apologized and thanked me for the 100th time.  To be on the safe side, my mom will be sporting her track shoes as we will be stopping in the night before for a test run.  I never realized that's why they have rehearsal dinners.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Testing On Trial

                                                                                                  Julie Kemp Pick

On rare occasions you meet someone who is a truly good soul, incapable of harboring an impure thought about anyone. This hard working, devoted family man, has worked for the government for over thirty years. When his family said their goodbyes at the airport, they had no idea what lie in store on a routine trip to Washington DC.

The itinerary included a battery of  drug tests in keeping with governmental policy. Afterward, the other employees invited my friend to join them for a night on the town, but he declined preferring to check in with his family back home, and relax with a good book in his hotel room.

The next day, his boss informed him that he tested positive for opium. Up until this point, his idea of living dangerously was buying in bulk. Even his aunt thought he was a force to be reckoned with when he brought a carton of paper towels over to her apartment. She exclaimed, "He has a special membership to an exclusive club that lets him buy large quantities of anything he wants. He must be important!"

At first, this Costco card carrier couldn't possibly figure out why they found traces of opium in his system. After much brainstorming, the culprit was found. The day before the test he had visited his favorite bakery where he consumed half of a poppy seed cake. The "sleep- bringing poppy" plant is where morphine and codeine, as well as other opiates are derived.

Recently in the news, a Pennsylvania woman was forced to give up her baby when traces of opium were found in her system from poppy seed salad dressing. She's suing the hospital who administered the blood test shortly after she had given birth. As a result, her infant son was placed in foster care with different families until he was 75 days old.

Another incident was also reported from the same hospital when a new mother had eaten an all season bagel with poppy seeds the day before she had given birth. These poor women and their families had to endure so much pain and suffering at a time when they should have been experiencing pure joy.

As for my friend, he's still the same kind- hearted, generous soul who walks the straight and narrow. But when he turns the corner, he stops off at his favorite bakery for poppy seed cake. Though he's mindful to floss afterward,  just in case.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fueling A Grueling Day


      Thanks to Shelly Brown  for giving me the opportunity to participate in the
                                          Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest


Fueling A Grueling Day

Spreading out the feedbag,
Driving in the cattle.
Grazing at the trough side,
Mouths too full to battle.

Slurping, gurgling, tails a wagging,
A freak show of hoofing, clawing, scraping bottom.
As vultures swoop in for morsels long forgotten.

The critters are hosed down,
The sun is slowly setting.
Until the commotion stirs up again,
The moment we've been fretting.

Meal time at the old corral,
Open 24/7 all year 'round.
Thank goodness we don't have pets,
That would really bring us down.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trading Places With The Cleavers

                                                                                                 Julie Kemp Pick

The other day I was watching a classic Leave It To Beaver episode. After Beaver took an IQ test, his parents were notified that he scored the highest in the class. His teacher suggested that he enroll in a special elementary school  for gifted children. During the interview young Theodore (Beaver) was asked what he'd like to be when he grows up. He thought for a moment and answered, " I'd like to be a garbage man. You don't have to wash your hands all the time, and nobody cares about how you smell."

Growing up my brother and I loved watching reruns of Leave It To Beaver. I tried to get my boys to appreciate the series, but it took a while for them to get used to viewing episodes filmed in black-and-white.

The series ran from 1957-1963, ending the year that Beaver was about to enter high school, while his older brother Wally was graduating. I wish we could go back to those innocent days set in the fictional town of Mayfield, but of course today things would have to be slightly different.

Saturdays in the Cleaver household were all about playing outside, helping with the chores, and sharing a lovely family lunch with Ward, June, Wally and The Beaver. Sometimes they would set off on a picnic, but they always spent quality time together and June was never seen without her pearl necklace. This scene takes place in front of  the Cleaver's garage.

Ward:  Boys, let's clean out the garage and after lunch we'll throw the ball around.
Wally:  Gee Dad I sorta had plans with the guys today.
Beaver:  Can I come too Wally?

In walks Eddie Haskell, Lumpy Rutherford and a new character who has a lot more stubble than Wally's other high school friends. He is sporting tattoos down his arms in place of shirt sleeves.

Wally:  Uh Dad, this is our new friend The Situation. He just moved here from New Jersey.
Ward:  (shaking hands)  Nice to meet you. What do you fellas have planned for today?
Situation:  GTL.
Ward:  Is that some new soda shop?
Situation: Gym, tan, laundry.
Ward:  Oh well I see that you already have a nice tan. Don't worry about the laundry part though, Mrs. Cleaver will be happy to do it for you. As a matter of fact, she's been spending a lot of time humming in front of the washing machine lately. She'd love to meet you. Oh June!

June enters flushed and out of breath looking perfectly lovely in a summer dress and pearls.

Eddie:   Hello Mrs. Cleaver! Did you just come from the dentist? Your teeth are as white as your dress!
June:  (while rolling her eyes) Thanks Eddie.
Situation:  Why didn't anyone tell me Wally's mother is a MILF?
Lumpy:  I told you that Mr. Cleaver is a DILF! 
June:  Would you boys like to stay for lunch?
Beaver:  No we're going to lift and look for hoes. Right Wally?
Wally:   Beaver!
Ward: Well I won't hear of  it! You fellas aren't doing anything on an empty stomach!  You can all go after lunch.

As they're all walking into the dining room, June grabs The Situation's arm and whispers in his ear, "Do you know where I could score some Xanax?"  The Situation smiles.

Then The Beaver asks, "Hey Wally, where's Lumpy?" 

Cut to Lumpy trying on June's shoes in her closet.