I think its pronounced "Boo-Fay"
I've been married some twenty years now. Just not to the same woman. Thumper and I just celebrated our fifth and my in laws celebrated their ten times that much late last summer. Late, as in, the early rainy season. Or the beginning of the Pennsylvania monsoons.
It's doubtful that we'll get to fifty because we're already into middle age. Were I to live that long, I'd be at a point in life where farting is the highlight of your day. Not something I look forward to. Add to that the improbability of anyone dealing with me every day for the next forty five years. No, at some point, even the strong, like Thumper, will snap at the next dirty limerick or off color nickname for the cat.
So let's stick to the present. The in laws were celebrated for their fiftieth and we were invited to the party which consisted of dinner out at their favorite local restaurant. Fine, other than their local is four hours away from our local. There's going to be a bit of driving. Still not a problem since it is summer and, unlike the last time we went up in winter and a freak snow squall had me checking weather on line for fear of more, nothing like that was going to happen today. See, the car doesn't do well in winter weather. It tends to pirouette randomly, for lack of a more concise description.
The question remained, do we do it all in one day? In other words, do we drive up, sup and return or do we get lazy and spring for a hotel room. I have no idea what mind altering drugs we were on but we opted for the former and began to actively deny we'd be spending eight of the next twenty four hours in the car and no more than three at dinner. So it was decided we'd meet at the restaurant which stopped taking reservations for that particular evening three weeks ago but never mind, we've always managed to find a table.
It began to rain about a half hour away from the place which wasn't a problem. When we pulled into the Country Themed Knick Knack All You Can Eat Buffet though, we noted that the weather was taking on a more problematic overtone. The natural reaction to rain is to either let your passenger off under an awning at the front door so she doesn't get wet or to park as close as you can to protect them from the elements. Option one was out. The second of three tour busses was regurgitating it's octogenarian content and the septuagenarians had copped all the good spots with their Cadillac's.
So it was a healthy sprint in the now heavier rain to get inside at find ourselves at the end of a 150 count line of geezers to get into the place.
Folks were old here. Really old. And fat. Really fat. All you can eat joints seem to attract old, fat people. We're neither. This place had two sections: non-smoking and oxygen. There may have been a life support reserved table, I'm not sure. I do know the defibrillator was vying for a spot on "American Restoration."
We're at the end of this line. Had we been Israelites, the thought was that, you know, maybe the Pharaoh wasn't such a bad guy after all. Did I mention that the place had stopped taking reservations three weeks ago? This was going to end badly.
But like most of my predictions, it didn't. Maybe we managed to get to the head of the line just as the table for six cleared, maybe one of the tour busses had to leave early, or maybe the waitstaff favored our ability to be seated without physical assistance, but before you knew it we had menus in our hands and were perusing the section marked "beverages."
Other non cola named after a characterization of folk inhabiting the Appalachian or Ozark region of our great land.
Yet another non cola featuring citrus references in its brand name but as likely to contain same as affordable care is to be either.
Iced tea, sweetened or not.
This wasn't a beverage selection, this was the children's menu.
More old, fat people shuffled in, either on their own to sit on steel girder reinforced chairs or rolled in on heavy duty double wishbone suspension wheelchairs. Our family showed up as well, downright giddy that they had picked the place and not us so there was no figuring out which fork to use, where to put the napkin or what wine not to select. Heck, they were so excited, they even splurged on lemons in their water so they could drink something with seeds. Everybody ordered the $19.95 all you can eat buffet except for the good wife and I who asked to order a la carte. After we explained that we weren't inquiring about the Pirate's shortstop from '76 to '79 we were able to pick something off the menu by pointing helpfully at the pictures.
When we didn't finish every breadcrumb extended dish on our plate (in contrast to another diner at the table who made a slab of prime rib their second helping and was still eyeing the mashed potatoes and planning on which pie would be desert round one) we were asked if everything was all right. It was, I just don't generally eat my cat's weight in food at one sitting.
Then it was time to go and we went. Back to the fray of the rain soaked interstate where deer carcasses helpfully substitute for actual lane markers. There are parts of our state, actually most of it, where the roads are in such disrepair that carloads of Bosnians routinely traverse, shaking their heads and wondering out loud how we managed to win the war. The drive home didn't disappoint, four full hours of squinting through rain and fog and pulling in at midnight.
Finally, we rewarded ourselves with a martini and a cigar on the front porch and at twelve thirty, speculated if they had finished desert yet.
I doubted it.