August 21, 2011
Yesterday’s special, really: A New York Reuben (pastrami and pepper jack cheese) with sweet corn and cheesecake for dessert.
One more moment. The best part of yesterday. Late in the evening. Busy. The place is full. Everyone has come at once. Almost everyone is familiar and dear. Everything is messy. It’s hot. There are peanut shells everywhere, dirty dishes stacked high, unfinished projects galore for all of us: pies, waffle cones, dishes, etc. I think we–me, Rick, Jenna, and Laura–must all have the glazed look of the bone-deep exhausted. Just plowing forward, now, one step at a time, trying. Catch glimpses of people–Joe and Philly Bill and their families, Al and his kids, the Kopacks, the Zuiderveens, as well as people I know but don’t know their names. The tall nice guy with the deep voice. The smiley woman who loves the cookies. I want to thank them all for being here, for being so–great. Devoted. Part of our lives for so long. Patient and appreciative. This doesn’t erase the fact that we’re exhausted, but it makes the exhaustion bearable, worthwhile.
It’s Joe’s birthday. We bring him a piece of blackberry pie with one pink candle on it and everyone sings. He looks bashful and pleased.
There’s a long wait for food. Poor Rick. It’s all on him, very few pizzas out of those orders, and almost everything a big delicious slow thing to make.
And then, out of the hubbub I hear a little boy–Joe’s little boy, Joey–say, plaintive and certain, sad but not complaining, just sort of stoically making a statement of terrible fact: I’m not patient!
Clearly his parents have gently told him to be patient (he’s waiting for French fries, I later find out, unlimited French fries which are the payoff on a wager he won with his dad and dad’s friends), and he’s telling them, You’re asking the impossible. Laura and I catch this at the same time and look at each other with delight.
“I think that just made my day,” Laura says.
Me too, absolutely. It’s the best part of the day, hands down. Except later, after dinner, Joey spontaneously does the French Fry Dance and the Robot Dance, plus he imitates a crab and pinches Philly Bill (Bill surely deserved it, he always does), and maybe that was the best part of the day.
This is the kind of thing that will keep me going in the desert of August exhaustion for a long time.