The main reason for our little getaway to Asheville was to celebrate my mom’s big 5-0 birthday. Since this is kind of a big birthday, we knew we had to make it extra special for her. So after a day spent touring the Biltmore Estate, we returned late that evening to dine at a fancy restaurant on the grounds.
After the hostess seated us, she asked my mom, sister, and I if we would prefer to use a black napkin rather than the white napkin that was currently adorning our plates. Huh? We looked at one another with confusion before quickly saying that the white napkin on our place setting was just fine. She walked away, and we burst out laughing.
What in the world? My mom was the first to speak, slightly insulted that the hostess had offered her a black napkin which she assumed was done on purpose, since it was her 50th birthday and all. Rach and I were then only further confused as to why we were offered a black napkin as well. We got such a kick out of this whole napkin ordeal until my dad who is far more cultured than us, informed us that this is typical at extra fancy restaurants. A black napkin is offered if the woman is concerned with getting white lint on her dress.
Ummmm… excuse me? Why didn’t Barbara Hinkel ever teach me this in her infamous Cotillion Class way back when??? Who knew?!
We began eating our dinner, and questioned my mom to reflect on her last fifty years- the highs and lows, and to tell us what she was looking forward to in the future. After thinking awhile, she began to share how precious family time is to her- weekends like these when the four of us can enjoy one another’s company… and then her eyes began to well with tears.
Now quick pause- anyone who knows me knows that “crier” should really be my middle name. Even worse is when someone begins to cry around me- no matter at home in private or in public, I begin to cry almost instantaneously. So I did just that. I began to cry hard. For goodness sake, my mom should know better than to talk about time and family and how quickly time has seemed to pass as of late with me around… that just seems to flip the switch inside of me. I turned towards the window while trying to contain my tears and not embarrass myself. My dad, however, was slightly yelling at me to go to the restroom (and fast!) while Rachel was ordering me to not let out one of my every so famous guttural cries.
This sadly continued for awhile as my mom would not stop being all sentimental which only made my puffy, red eyes and tears streaming down my face even worse. It did make me feel better that she was crying too! Rach was just laughing hysterically while my dad kept trying to tell “his women” to get our acts together!
Eventually, when the dinner course came, we had pulled ourselves together. Sure, we were still just as loud… telling stories, and laughing obnoxiously at one another, but at least the crying had stopped.
When our bottle of wine was almost at the end, my dad poured my mom the last few sips. As she reached for her glass, she made one of her loud, giggly screeches. She showed her glass to my dad, pointing at what appeared to be a dead bug at the bottom of her wine glass.
This was the icing on the cake.
At this point my dad made a comment that had us all laughing. Sadly I cannot remember it word-for-word, but it went something like this. “Wonderful. I bring my family here, trying to make my wife’s 50th birthday extra special, and you guys laugh at the black napkin ordeal, cry hysterically at the table, and then there is a da** bug at the bottom of this expensive Argentinian Malbec.”
It wasn’t a bug but just some nasty residue thankfully… but still… makes for a good story.
Here’s to more family dinners and excursions in the future. Because they are always so memorable.
*Sadly no photos were taken at this oh so memorable dinner, so photos from Waking Life Espresso will have to do instead.