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.