Monday, February 15, 2010

Order anything you want

Hayter family eating with Oklahoma kinfolk. This was BA. (Before Al)

MARK’S ARTICLE – February 15, 2010

"No pie for you"

I just got off the phone with Dennis. Nothing earth shattering. He couldn’t read what he wrote down for our sister Sue’s phone number, and wanted to know what I had. I was his third call… the first person he caught home.

I learned a couple of things from the phone call. First of all, I found out that in an emergency I’m the third person Dennis would call. That kind of hurts. -- Wait a minute. -- Okay, I’m over it.

The other thing I learned was that Dennis and Dardon Ann ate supper out yesterday. I don’t remember where. (And I just took the call. I’m worrying myself.) Fortunately, Dennis didn’t tell me what he ordered, ‘cause we’re not that old… yet. -- "Then I got the peas. No, it was the beans. The limer beans. Somethin’ green." -- When that starts happenin’, just shoot us. Dennis first.

One thing that Dennis did tell me had to do with a guy who brought his entire family to the restaurant. Must’ve been eight kids and his wife. They all ordered whatever they wanted, and the dad paid. Probably about $150.

That started the big conversation about when we were kids. Doesn’t take much to start that conversation. You can count on one hand the times Dad took us all out to eat. Never took us anywhere fancy. Wyatts Cafeteria was the only place I recall.

I don’t ever remember Mom standing there in line and telling us what to get. We just understood that we were to ask for the cheapest stuff. "Yes, young man? The chicken fried mystery product? What else for you?"

Once I did ask Mom if I could get pie for dessert. I don’t know what I was thinking. It was coconut cream, icebox pie and it called to me. Then Mom called to me. --"Are you outta your ever lovin’ mind? You touch that pie and you’ll set off a chain reaction that will start with Dennis and stop down there at li’l Al, and it’ll end up sending us all to the poor house! ‘Can I have a piece of pie?’ Idiots! I’ve birthed idiots!" -- Mom didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s what I heard.

These are the people who woulda wanted pie. Too many kids. Too much pie.

I can remember only one time in my life when I was allowed to order anything I wanted. I was about 10 and Dennis 13. We were in Florida with Dad and Larry and Grandma Pearl. Pearl was the rich grandma. The stuff of scandal.

Grandma took us to a foreign restaurant. Spanish, French, Romanian…? Who can remember? Dad said we could order anything off the menu, ‘cause Grandma was buying. He didn’t say that in front of grandma, of course.

It was the first time Dennis or I had seen a menu that was more than a page. The only thing I recognized was the fried chicken, so we both ordered it. When the waiter took our order, Dad was all over us. "Here you are in a fancy French or Romanian restaurant, and you order fried chicken! What’s wrong with you two?"

Grandma got after Dad for yelling at us, but we still felt like clods. We couldn’t even order a meal right. We’d played the "eating-out game" and lost. Mom was so right.

Dad was right, too. When at a Romanian restaurant, never order the fried chicken. Maybe since the Iron Curtain came down they’ve improved a bit. But, back in the day, they cooked a vile bird.

Well, that story is what Dennis and I kicked around for a few minutes. Probably the 68th retelling. Before Dennis could hang up, I said, "Hey, dawg, don’t forget to call your sister." There was a brief pause and then he said, "Oh, yeah. You got her phone number?"

We are so close to being there. Don’t forget. Dennis first.



  1. Good article Moke. I loved those Wyatt's days, I too remember they did not occur very often.
    I should go very shortly after Dennis and then after you... After y'all left the February Family Gathering at my house last Saturday, there was Nalin & his Family and Clintrock and his Family having a nice visit, and there I was nodding off! I heard someone say, I think it was Na, "I think we'd better leave Aint Jill is dozing off." I was so embarassed - there I was... Ma, dozing in my chair while everyone visited around me! What the hey! I'm only 57, 58 in two months... that's not old enough to be dozing when you have company!!

  2. Thanks to Ms Anthropy I am here on your blog and your write brilliantly and with great wit! Thank you!