Christmas Day is usually a day that I love to cook. I try to make our meal time special, the table settings, real napkins, and Christmas china and of course, food that is much different from my normal food. I love to plan for it and I always want it to be special.
Throughout my life, I can count on both hands the number of times that I have not had Christmas dinner either at my home or at a friend’s home. There was the time where we took the bus over to the Yokohama train station and went to the underground mall. We spent the afternoon shopping and I believe we ate there also, another time, we went to Disneyland for Christmas Day. It was crowded, but fun. It was the first year our whole family was not together, so hubby and my oldest ferried me up to a hotel on Christmas Eve and we spent the day at the happiest place on Earth, having a lovely dinner at Downtown Disney. It was a special day, but, it did not help my loneliness at not having my girls together with me. I am certain there were other times and adventures, but, honestly, besides those two times that stick out in my mind, I have always had a meal at home.
So, this year…. I could not cook. The thought of a full septic system and me in my kitchen just could not be reconciled. I told hubby mid day that I could not fix a meal to my satisfaction. He said whatever was easiest for me was what we would do. I spent an hour online trying to find a place that was open. Nothing was. Denny’s was open. So, off we went to Denny’s. Now, I usually do not mind a meal at Denny’s. I joked on the way over that moons over my hammy might be a good choice for dinner. I did not get the laughing response I thought I would. About that time, I looked over towards a strip mall and commented that the chinese restaurant was open and there were only three cars parked in front of it. Everyone groaned a bit, but laughed. We continued towards Denny’s. We arrived, went in and noticed immediately the long lines. We then noticed that there were an incredible amount of empty tables. People were complaining. Loudly! No Christmas cheer in this place. We sat down and waited to be seated. We waited for a good half hour, getting to know several people who were also patiently waiting. Eventually, Little Miss got loose from us and wandered towards the counter area. My daughter chased after her, coming back to tell us all that we were not going to eat there. She had glanced in the kitchen and was appalled at the appearance there. Obviously, being short-staffed, they figured that cleaning the kitchen was not important. We left.
Once in the car, I once more suggested the Chinese restaurant. Once more, I was ignored. We headed to another known place ~ IHOP. So, off we go. The wait was long, but, we were at least seated. We got drinks, and they were refilled when they went down. We finally ordered and after another hour, our mediocre meal arrived. We were thankful for it, but, I honestly, at that point was thinking, full septic tank or not, I should have figured out something to cook at home. Little Miss needed to be changed after dinner, so my daughter took her to the restroom to change her. Upon returning, she reminded us of a couple whom we had talked with at Denny’s. She had run into her in the restroom and found out that shortly after we left, a fist fight broke out at Denny’s between a staff person and one of those disgruntled customers. I guess the police were called. Definitely no Christmas cheer there…
We left the house at 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Day. We didn’t arrive home until after 7:30. It was a long time for a disappointing meal, but, we had food in our tummies and for that we were grateful.
On the way home we noticed that the Chinese restaurant was still open. My daughter, who, was tired from keeping Little Miss occupied and happy, said, I am going to check and see what the reviews of that place is. If it is even a 3 star review, I am going to kill myself. Opening the phone information she read off several 4+ star reviews. With a mixture of laughter and indigestion we sighed. We could have had some good Chinese food. Oh well, I guess that is something to keep in mind in case we ever have another Christmas like this one.
We came home. Victorious. We had survived Christmas… It was not the version I had dreamed of for weeks before it’s arrival, but, a Christmas very different. I know through the years the story of this Christmas will be remembered. It will be retold. Years from now it will be a family story that one begins to wonder if it really happened. For those of us who were there, we will remember. We may forget what gifts were given. We may forget the frustration of the day. We may even forget what started the whole day, but, we will remember how different it was. We will remember laughing over the stupid things. We will remember it was a time of bonding. How can you not bond over septic waste and shop vacs? Yes, this is what our Christmas was this year. I think I am looking forward to 2017. Thanks for stopping by today, have a great few last days of 2016 and may 2017 hold all the joys and blessings your heart can hold. Cathi (DAF)