Friday, January 29, 2016
Sunday mornings -
after the endless, mind-numbing Mass -
our then-family of six
would race the few blocks
from the church over
to the Village Inn restaurant
The privilege and extreme treat
of going out was allegedly
completely dependent on us
kids behaving during the service.
If we had ALL been successful at
not fidgeting in our itchy dresses
on hard wooden pews
through the interminable droning
of the priest and mystifying,
eternal rituals of sitting/standing/kneeling,
(and had resisted
the urge to pinch or tickle a sister or
even give her a look out of the corner of one's eye
or cried because one was just too
little to sit still for over an hour
or rustled the pages of the missal too loudly
or kicked one's shoes
against the kneeler or floor or
the pew in front of you - horrors!
or fiddled with the lace/hat pinned
to unruly curls -
the list of infractions was
interminable and ever evolving
it was time for fun!
Four little heads bent over the
coloring place mats provided by
a friendly waitress, busily employing
crayons to tint pictures, connect dots,
and (for older ones) figure out mystery
words and puzzles while our parents
murmured and sipped coffee.
But the best part was the pancakes.
This was before we had discovered
the mandatory glories of bacon.
Pancakes as big as a plate,
heavily decorated with the whipped
cream stylings of the day's cook
with strawberries strewn in decadent
abandon over the crisp tender disks.
Powering through this sugary treasure,
one carefully and thoroughly chewed
dainty bites of sweetness at a time, savoring
the cream, the cakey richness,
and the fresh jeweled fruit, delicately
dusted with powdered sugar.
Never imagining that some day,
I would be sitting at work, sipping a
protein shake, typing away,
while visions of strawberry tower
breakfasts with my little sisters would
sweeten my memories.