I don’t understand why Anderson had to start getting it together ten years after I moved away. I went back last weekend to visit the folks and realized there was actually some interesting things happening downtown. I saw people walking around drifting in and out of the coffee shop, I had tea in the authentic English tea room that is there now. It was called “The Victorian,” and the only thing that seemed really English was the flag flying outside.
I wonder what qualifies it to be “authentic.” I’m quite sure none of the owners were from England. My waitress seemed really proud of her potato soup with bacon bits. I hated to cut her short with her well-practiced speech but I was only there for one thing. It was the little sign outside that read “famous chicken salad.” I’m not sure how famous it was but it was certainly colorful and they gave me plenty of it.
I have to admit that using whole cashews on top was a strange idea. Not that they used a nut in chicken salad, just that they didn’t bother to chop them. The highlight was the Irish breakfast tea that I ordered. I had a little blue teapot and a matching cream container. Everything was so pretty and neat. I had never really put cream in tea but it was very good. A nice place to take your granny or your mom and just sit and talk about nothing. I didn’t have anyone to talk too so I ordered three sticky buns, since they do only make them on Saturdays, and drove thirty miles back to my parents house.
Later that same night my mother got a wild hair and decided she wanted to go out with me. We made the long drive into town and ate at some trendy new restaurant that wasn’t there the last time I was visiting. She discovered artichoke spinach dip and I discovered extreme patience. My mom glanced at the menu for a second then realized she couldn’t read it so she had to dig glasses out of her purse. Then she announced a sudden need to go to the bathroom. By this time the waitress had already been by twice to ask if we were ready to order. I had to again tell her “no.” My stomach was furious.
My mom came back and told me that a woman in the stall next to her was singing a hymn while going to the bathroom. She said it was most likely to cover the noise. “I just started singing with her, and then we harmonized,” she said. I felt a little envious that I had never gone to the bathroom and been treated to a random one person concert. I had a Bahama Mamma with my meal but was disappointed to find that the one I’d had at Red Lobster Orlando three weeks ago was much better. My mom also said that her virgin daiquiri was not as good as the ones at Red Lobster.
As if the night could get any better! I realized it was too early to go home and we had two hours to kill before our 10:35 movie. We walked over to the Irish Pub Corbett McGee’s. I have to give this place credit because at least it existed while I was in college. There were two men playing acoustic guitars and my mom found a table right in their face, and I found the bar. It was going to be a long night. At least my dirty martini was only $3.75.
I had two martinis and mom had nothing but coca cola and much more fun than me. She was really into the two-man band. I guess it just didn’t take much to give her a little thrill. To her credit I think the guys actually appreciated her attention and input. And when she asked them what songs they were doing next in between the sets, they gave her the entire list and asked for her opinion! At which point she told them to do “Yesterday” by the Beatles. They didn’t know the song that well so she proceeded to sing it to them. I think at this point if they’d asked her to join them on stage to sing something, she would have.
My mom got to hear her Beatles song and we left shortly after. I was bored to death but she was enjoying herself so much I had a hard time making her leave. It wouldn’t have been such a bad night if there were anyone under fifty there for me to talk too. I mean really, I grew up in this town, it isn’t that big of a place and there isn’t one single person in the one decent bar that I vaguely know? It wasn’t that bad though, better than sitting on my parents couch all night watching Western re-runs with my dad!