While visiting Nana Maude down South last week, I took her to Olive Garden, one of her favorite restaurants. I’m not a huge fan of the Garden, but their spaghetti and meatballs are okay.
However, every single time we go there, Nana scowls at the server whenever he or she asks if we’d like a glass of wine because Nana grew up Pentecostal. If you’re unfamiliar with this fundamentalist religion, Pentecostal folks do not partake of spirits. In fact, they believe alcohol to be akin to crack, heroin or crystal meth.
Aside from her disdain that the manufacturing, drinking and serving of alcoholic beverages is, in fact, legal in the United States, Nana complained constantly about Dad’s collection of Budweiser in their fridge until he passed in 2009. And I’d always say the same thing…
“Well, Nana, he is of legal age, and I doubt he’ll change his ways anytime soon.”
At which point, she’d frown at me and utter a very disgruntled, “Hmpf.”
However, this time, things went a little sideways at Olive Garden.
“Hi, I’m Jenny,” the waitress said with a warm smile. “I’ll be your server today. Would you ladies like to start off with a glass of wine?”
“I’ll have you know that I do not drink, nor have I ever, and my Granddaughter doesn’t drink wine either!” Nana grumbled emphatically in a rather rankled tone, nodding toward me.
For those who read -
… you know my Grandmother’s statement is a load of ca-ca…
The poor server, a lovely blonde who looked to be 23 at best, reacted with the horrified expression of one who had just been beamed with a 2′ x 4′, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to squelch my laughter.
“What’s so funny?” Nana asked, her sharp blue eyes targeting me.
I shook my head at the poor waitress with a button-lipped smile hoping to convey the idea that my Grandmother was a cranky old coot, but poor Jenny continued to look petrified.
“It’s okay. You’ll have to excuse my Grandmother,” I said smiling, and finally, Jenny the waitress began to breathe again.
“Excuse me from what?” Nana snapped.
I grinned again, relishing what was about to transpire. “Nana, do you remember those pictures I showed you the other day?”
I began digging in my purse for an envelope full of pictures that I’d brought to show Nana as the poor waitress started to get really antsy. I started stacking the photos of my husband’s new truck, one of my cats, whom she loves, and such on the table until I came to a photo of the flowers my husband had given me for Valentine’s Day because Nana loves that sort of thing.
“See? Remember this picture?”
“I remember the flowers, but what’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?” Nana asked.
“You see that bottle of Merlot next to the flowers?”
“The bottle there beside your flowers that looks like a big thing of Coca-cola or red pop?” Nana asked.
“Yes, that’s it. You see, Nana, that’s not a bottle of pop. Merlot is red wine. That was just a promotional thing of some sort the ABC store was running that week. That’s why it looks like a 2 liter of Coke. That was my other gift from Charlie.”
Nana gave me the stink eye.
I ignored her by winking at the waitress who finally smiled nervously and said, “So, today we have a seafood linguine with…”
But Nana didn’t want to hear about the specials that day. So, she interjected with…
“I’d like a glass of ice water, please, with lemon,” Nana said in her usual attempt to divert the conversation away from something she found unpleasant – by changing the subject and acting as though the unpleasant event hadn’t occurred.
“And I’ll have a Diet Coke,” I said.
“Coming up,” the waitress replied. Then, she disappeared while most likely heaving a big sigh of relief that Nana’s little tantrum was over.
The rest of our lunch was pleasant and unremarkable. Nana ate most of her chicken and gnocchi soup and only complained a couple of times about the “green stuff” otherwise known as spinach in the soup.
I don’t know if she was incensed by the glass of wine question on this particular day because she’s frequented Olive Garden for more than 20 years and just got fed up, or she was in a bad mood because they lost another pair of her pajamas at the nursing home, or what…but if I wanted to be a real BITCH, I’d send her a copy of this photo below…which has graced the pages of my blog previously…
The lady on the left is my Aunt Shirley (my Mom’s youngest sister), and the other woman, the redhead is none other than Nana Maude holding a cocktail! And I would imagine the martini glass close to Aunt Shirley’s hand was her drink as well. And I love the fact that Aunt Shirley is smoking because Nana loves to say that when she saw Shirley walking out of community college smoking a cigarette, that she threatened to “Yank her out of college right now if I ever caught her smoking again.”
Funny thing, Aunt Shirley obviously didn’t quit, given the photo above, and she obtained an associates degree in legal studies in 1970. Though this photo was obviously taken in the ’60s, given the bodacious beehive hairdos, I don’t remember ever seeing Aunt Shirley light up a cigarette. So, she must’ve quit before I was born, or shortly thereafter unlike my mother who, sadly, was sucking on cigarettes until she died of lung cancer in 2007.
So, there you have it. Yet another day of conflicting realities in the life of Nana Maude…:), and I must go for now because my Merlot is singing MY NAME…:)
~Over and out from Tenacious B’s Bar and Grill
© Tenacious Bitch 2014