Monday, October 6, 2014

Remember This

From Kate's Writing Crate…
          If you can't think of anything to write, remember something.
Here's a memory from my only trip to Ireland, home of my mother's side of the family.
My friend April, who had stayed with extended family enjoying home-cooked meals during her first visit to Ireland, wanted to eat dinners only at finer restaurants this trip. Her rules: breakfast at the B&B; lunches at pubs and diners; and no American chain restaurants ever!
One evening, we dined at a first-rate restaurant where a tall and dour maître 'd studied everyone—staff and customers alike—as he silently oversaw this thirty-table establishment in Dublin from behind a mahogany podium twenty feet from the entrance.
After we were seated, our waiter, who dropped his pen while writing down our drink orders, didn't bring them to us. The waiter who did took our dinner orders then bumped into a nearby empty table as he turned around. A waitress then brought us our appetizers, but she tripped and grabbed the bannister while going back down the three steps to the main floor level.
All glared at by the maître 'd, we never saw any of them again.
We looked at the other customers surreptitiously. It was such an elegant and tiny restaurant with only eight tables occupied so disappearing wait staff couldn't help but be noticed. However, no one seemed fazed by these banishments.
Both writers, April and I began imagining what happened to them: lashed to hot ovens; tossed into the freezer; thrown into the River Liffey; or reassigned to the pub next door. Our laughter about these scenarios caught the maître 'd's attention as our salads arrived via yet another waiter. Abashed, we settled down.
 This waiter walked away without mishap so we hoped he would return. Unfortunately, I'd ordered a plain salad, but received one with dressing. I wasn't about to complain; however, he came rushing back with the correct salad.
We weren't surprised when a fifth server arrived with dinner. We hoped she would survive unscathed, but she mixed up our side dishes. We tried to switch them unobtrusively while eating our entrees. When the maître 'd noticed, I jerked my arm back and knocked my fork into my lap splashing neon-yellow saffron sauce onto my white dress swirled with shades of gray.
April and I both froze. Would I disappear now, too?
I looked up apprehensively at the maître 'd as I picked up my fork, but he turned away. It hadn't hit the floor with a clatter. No other customers had noticed so my clumsiness was overlooked—except my dress was ruined. Punishment enough, I supposed.
I don't remember dessert, only that the newest waiter reappeared with our bill.
The maître 'd watched our every step as we left. I know because he was reflected in one of the large, spotlessly clean windows on either side of the front door as we walked out into the dark never to return. We're still wondering if the wait staff ever did.
Try writing about a memory and see where it leads.

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