The first day of my vacation proved to be satisfying, but it wasn’t yet over. We had been exchanging text messages with the bride-to-be the entire day and knew that we’d eventually see her. Sure enough, we arrived at the hotel and had arranged a visit.
I stole the above title from one of my favorite movies, Room With A View when one of the Miss Allens was describing Lucy Honeychurch’s appearance as a bride-to-be. This was the first thing that my sister, FloraV and I noticed right off the bat. It was clear to us that the bride, Barbara was overwhelmed. She walked hunched over as if the whole world were bearing down on her. She gave us a tired hug. Her smile was faded and her face appeared drawn. This was not the look of someone who was about to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime event. This was a look of distress and frustration.
She stepped into our hotel room with both her adopted daughter, Anna and her sister, Fifi in tow; she appeared to be lackluster in every possible way. To cheer her up, both FloraV and I decided to present her with the smaller wedding gifts we had brought conspicuously in our luggage. She received these much like an exhausted parent would: politely reserved. There were a few chuckles sprinkled here and there, but mostly she expressed her concern over having the last-minute preparations done in time. Then she went on to complain that she really didn’t even want to have a large party at all, that this was mostly her family’s idea. “So what do you want?” I asked. Her face suddenly lit up. “I want to go to a spa and just relax and not have to worry about anything.” Light bulb!
Enter Anna Banana, Stage Right
While her mom chatted with us on our AWESOME double-beds, Anna entertained herself by trying on everyone’s “big girl” shoes and flip-flops. But as two-year-olds are wont to do, she was also clearly actively looking for some mischief. She found it in the door jamb of the entryway as she gently pinched her finger in it. Barbara got up and soothed Anna who cried more from fear than any real injury. “You understand what I’m sayng, Anna. Stay away from the door,” Barbara said. But of course, Anna Banana was eager to get back to that malicious, brutal door because…well…she’s a terrible two-year-old and that is her full-time job. Soon, Anna got bored and turned her attention to the pretty, shiny high-heeled pumps my sister brought for the trip. What could happen with those, I wonder?!
I’m Not Fat…I’m Big-Boned
What do four big girls and one little one want after a few minutes? You guessed it: F-O-O-
Oh, I’m hungry…
We decided to keep it local because we didn’t think that Anna Banana would be able to handle a long trip (what with her bruised
finger ego and all). So we drove across the main highway to a little place called, Cracker Barrel.
Cracker Barrel, for franchise enthusiasts everywhere, is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. It has the nostalia feel with its rustic decor (why are you staring at me, Buck’s Head?), antique farm equipment scattered about, and large hearth (which appears to be as useless as antlers on a Florida gator). And it offers a true country breakfast all day: biscuits and gravy, grits, etc. which always make big girls happy. But, there’s an edge to the eatery which can only come from the Yankees up north. And, it’s gimmicky: note the rocking chairs on the front porch (which is also a tradition associated with clever marketing techniques). I could totally see Elvis peeking out the corner, asking for a “hunka-hunka burning” peanut butter and banana sandwich. Either way, yum.
We chatted and Anna spilled a little glass of something…which again, was no big deal. But I was impresssed with the way my niece handled it. She pressed Anna to apologize to the server for the spill. Then, she joked with the server to hand the mop to Anna so that her daughter could clean up her own mess. It was parenting genius.
All in all, it was a perfect way to end our evening. It also helped me find out what the bride really wanted…so I put a pin in it and saved that thought for later.
TO BE CONTINUED…