An Evening With The Family

My Mom's birthday is Friday but I'm going to be out of town so we celebrated it tonight. I said I would take us all out to dinner if she picked the place. I knew what would actually happen is that Steven would tell her what place to pick but at least a decision would be made.

We ended up at our traditional birthday restaurant, The Outback. Steven mauled the loaf of bread and demanded a Bloomin' Onion. He also ordered a big Miller Lite which is not like him. My Mom stuck with her usual Raspberry iced tea but still had to ask the server if they had flavored teas and what the flavors are. We really go there a lot and she always orders the same beverage but, OK, whatever.

I decided to order a glass of their house Cabernet so I said to the server, "I'll have the Cab". She asked if I wanted the Jacob whatever it was and I said yes. Shorty then said, "I'll have a tab."

Huh? The server, Steven and I all just looked at him in bewilderment. He then pointed to me and said, "I'll have what she's having." I said, "I ordered the Cab and it sounded like you said tab". He insisted he meant what I ordered. The server then suggested we just get a bottle and I said sure and so did Shorty. Steven burst out with a "What the hell? Really?" We kind of ignored him because he often acts like he has Tourrette's.

The server brought out my Mom's tea and Steven's beer then came back with the opened bottle of wine and two glasses. She put one in front of me and poured into it. She then put the second in front of Shorty and he said, "I don't want wine."


This stunned our server and I said, "It's OK, leave the bottle and he can order something else." When he realized we were stuck with the bottle, he said it was OK and he'd drink it. I really tried to get him to order something else but he wouldn't.

The server walked away (probably thinking we were a bunch of kooks) and Steven asked, "Why'd you take your hearing aids out?"

Ah, it was suddenly clear. Shorty couldn't really hear what I ordered and thought I'd picked some sort of bottled beer so he was following along. What does it say that you are the role model in alcohol for your parent? I'm not sure I want to know.

We got our dinners and started chowing down. About a third of the way through the meal, I noticed Shorty was making a weird noise. He reached into his mouth and pulled out a piece of steak but still made the noise. I asked, "Does Steven need to Heimlich you?" It would have been helpful if he'd known the international symbol for choking but he managed to nod.

Steven jumped up and started the move. I realized he had Shorty aimed right at the table so I said, "Move him to the side!" I was imaging him spewing all over our meals and the wine. A few pumps to the gut and another piece of steak came up. It didn't even projectile.

At that point, Shorty was done eating and drinking. I guess a near death experience curbs your appetite. Maybe I should try it some time.

We loitered for a while as I put a dent in the bottle of wine but I didn't finish it. It was only $15 so I didn't feel too badly. If it had been a $30 bottle, we might still be there as I worked my way through it.

We drove back to my parents' house and I think I stayed a whole 10 minutes before I made my "Gotta go home and pack" excuse.

The kicker in all this is that we might have to do it all again next week for Steven's birthday. Sigh.

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