I wrote a funny story about my dad yesterday so today I thought I'd share one about my mom.
Here's the thing--you don't mess with my mom. My mom is tough and my mom can be mean and you most definitely do not want to cross her. I have had plenty of run-ins with her in my life and it hasn't been pretty! I have had to endure months-long silent treatments for doing or saying things she hasn't agreed with and I have learned to tread carefully around her to avoid these situations at all cost.
It hasn't been all bad though--I went to an all-girls Catholic school and if I ever had a problem with one of the nuns being mean to me or whatever--I would report back to my mom and she would be all like "Oh no she di'n't" and would march to the school to defend me. To this day, if I have any kind of trouble with anything, I can count on my mom for help.
But my mom's attitude can be tricky in certain situations--especially when we are eating out in restaurants. My mom is one of those people who will not tolerate poor service or bad food and she will make her feelings known--much to the dismay of my sister and me who brush those kinds of things off. So when my sister and I are out eating with my mom, we always feel like we're on pins and needles--trying to will good service and no mix-ups with the food so we can just get out without an uncomfortable incident.
On this one particular morning, back when we were in high school, we were having breakfast with my mom in the dining room of a fancy hotel. We went there often because my sister and I loved their French toast. I can still taste it with its perfect dusting of powdered sugar and warm maple syrup...
Anyway, my sister and I knew right away that trouble was near when we saw our waitress. She was burly and mean-looking--she looked like she should be the warden of a high-security women's prison. Her name had to be something like Big Bertha or Warden Wilma. But she pretended to be nice--just the kind of person my mom hates!
So she took our orders in that fake-nice way and things were going okay. So far, so good! The food arrived without incident. I started to relax and pour the maple syrup while my mom prepared her wheat toast.
There was a "jelly caddy" on the table that had three or four glass jars of jams with little spoons in them. I could see my mom, toast in one hand, looking at the jellies and deciding which one to use. In the dimly-lit dining room it was hard to tell what kind of jelly each jar contained, so my mom had some a spoon and brought it closer to inspect. Strawberry? Grape?
Suddenly, Big Bertha appeared out of nowhere and grabbed my mom's wrist--the one that was holding the spoon. Let me just say that again--she grabbed my mom's wrist.
And then she snarled "Honey, we don't taste the jelly."
My sister and I stopped mid-French-toast-bite. We were frozen with fear--I don't even think we were breathing--as we waited for my mom's wrath.
There was a moment of stillness--my mom's hand and the jelly spoon still dangling in Bertha's meaty grasp. The calm before the storm.
Bertha released her and my mom, very calmly, said "First of all, don't call me honey."
Then she stood up and screamed, right into Bertha's face "NOW GET ME THE MANAGER!!!!!"
Bertha stumbled away and my sister and I sunk low in our chairs. The manager came over and there lots of phrases like "...never been so humiliated in my life." and "What kind of place is this?" and "How dare she...!"
I remember the panic-stricken manager pleading "Please, tell me how to rectify this!" and I remember Big Bertha skulking back to the table and apologizing. More phrases like "..looked like you were eating the jelly..." It was ugly.
But, in my mom's defense--Big Bertha had clearly crossed the line!
I know we got the breakfast for free and I don't remember seeing Big Bertha around there anymore--or maybe we just never went back after that? Even that incredible French toast wasn't worth chancing a run-in like that again!