They were seated in a booth diagonally across from us a few feet away. He was dressed in a gray suit and seemed to be about 80-something years old. She sat with her back to us and all I could see was a corner of her turquoise-colored straw hat peeping around the corner of the booth. I remarked to my dining companion that a sweet-looking older couple were all dressed up to have lunch at Red Lobster.
I am a lobster lover. I know this is politically incorrect as the lobster population has been dwindling for some time. But I believe that it may be on the rebound now that we’ve stopped spraying for West Nile Virus. (Lobsters are in the same family as mosquitos, so were killed off by the spraying.)
In any case, despite the fate of the lobster population, Red Lobster announced its annual Lobsterfest about a month ago. I was very excited until I realized that my lobster-eating companion was vacationing in Florida and wouldn’t be home for a month or so. “Oh well,” I thought. “I’ll have to wait until summer for my lobster bash.” My husband doesn’t care for lobster and my two children refuse to eat them any longer due to their scarcity.
About a week ago my lobster-lover friend returned from Florida and immediately called me to ask if I wanted to go to Red Lobster for the Lobsterfest which was not yet over. My heart soared. We went there yesterday and were seated at our table near the older couple.
Every now and then I would glance over to see what they were up to as we ate our lobster extravaganza. The gentleman was trying to crack his crab legs with one of those tools designed for the purpose, but he couldn’t because his hands were shaking so badly. It upset me so much to see him struggling I couldn’t bear to watch him.
Eventually I noticed that they were getting ready to leave. He had put on his coat and was heading for the door. His companion in the turquoise straw hat was still beside the table struggling to put on her coat, trying to get her arm in the sleeve. I couldn’t help but notice that the fashionable little jacket she wore with her black skirt was the same color as her hat. She was wearing nylon stockings and it was then I observed what beautifully shaped legs she had.
“You have very nice legs,” I said to her as she turned toward us. She smiled and immediately walked over to our table. For the next 20 minutes she regaled us with the story of her life.
“It’s my birthday today. I am 84! I just came from church where I gave my testimonial. Do you know monseigneur _____? Well, everyone in the church was really surprised to learn that I had breast cancer 20 years ago but my husband refused to let me have further surgery after my mastectomy so there’s nothing here,” she said as she slapped her hand on the spot where her left breast would have been. “See…there’s nothing there,” she said as she hit her chest again. “I’m a born-again Christian so I gave my testimonial today and, boy, were they surprised to learn that I had cancer because, you see, I never told anyone about it. It’s my birthday and….
This stream-of-consciousness speech went on for at least another 10 minutes. I tried to gently end it by saying several times, “Well maybe you should find your husband. He’s probably wandering around somewhere wondering where you are.” But she was in no hurry to leave us. “Oh, he’s fine. He’s so slow he probably hasn’t even gotten to the door yet.”
“Well, happy birthday and enjoy your day,” was my last attempt to close out the conversation. She finally left.
Next time you go to Red Lobster, beware of complimenting an elderly lady wearing a turquoise hat while lunching with her elderly spouse at Red Lobster on her 84th birthday. But I do think it made her day!