Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

We’ve been discussing book characters and characters in real life lately. This got me to thinking and when that happens, unusual things take place. LOL!

This past weekend, we drove up to North Carolina to bring our youngest son his belongings after we had taken them home with us from Oklahoma when he was scheduled to go to Air Borne School. What a beautiful drive! Dogwoods, Redbuds and Cherry trees in bloom! We made it safely and were able to visit with him all day Saturday.

He had many errands to run and we set out to help him lasso his needs. Going into our foray into this North Carolina town, we didn’t know much about, we were equipped with a GPS. Using it didn’t turn out as easy as we expected but by 9 p.m. (Eastern Time) we were ready to eat dinner. By the time we got to a Japanese restaurant, we were famished and were ushered in to a Hibachi room.

Across from us were seated three men, two women and a couple with their teenage daughter. Seated to the left of us was a younger couple (husband having just gotten back from Afghanistan and celebrating his 23rd birthday!) and to the right, a couple with their 9 yr. old daughter. Very cozy!

The first chef arrived to cook and serve the table across from us. We watched him perform his duties, all the while becoming more aware of the three men on the other table. One gentleman’s face got red, his eyes a bit woozy. He put his arm around the woman next to him. Okay, my writer’s brain is beginning to sort this all out. The couple are married (man had on wedding ring and she did too) and are out celebrating with friends, which would explain the Saki they drank and chased down with beer.

The woman next to the man spoke animatedly. She teased the men, cracking jokes, leaning back on her mother, using “Mama said,” quite often in conversation. Finally, the chef did something fantastic and the woman’s voice rose with a most notable southern accent, “You done good, baby! My mama always said if I told a man that, I would go far.” (I nearly busted out laughing.)

Meanwhile, the couple and teen at the end of their table cast awkward glances about them. We, on the other table, watch as though expectantly waiting for the next weirdest thing to happen.

Happen, it did! While the spectacle escalated, our chef arrived. He was very creative, but it just so happened that he was missing his front tooth. He began to shuffle his spatulas like they were numchuks but had a mishap. He said, "I'm much better with knives." My eyes bugged out of my head! (Imagine an oriental chef with no front tooth, knife twirling problems, and a southern belle making a ruckus across the way.)

To add to the escalating chaos, the southern woman held up her breasts with both hands, in front of the men, and gazed down into her lap to see if she’d spilled anything. The man next to her got up over and over again, once swerving as if he didn’t know where he was. He always returned and put his arm around the woman who laughed and conversed with them as if she’d known them all her life.

Our chef — remember him? — cooked shrimp then flicked one of the tails onto the man’s lap. He never noticed and we busted out laughing. But our wily chef wasn’t done with us. No! He had an ever greater trick to play.

Be patient, grasshoppers! Wait for it!

Where was I? Yes! Oh, our chef was very creative. After he cooked shrimp and mixed vegetables for us to snack on, he then unloaded a ton of rice onto the Hibachi grill. Tons! Enough that he was like the Michelangelo of the Hibachi Grill. He worked the rice with his spatula. "Is that a football?" I asked. He grinned and continued to sculpt. “Is that an arrow?” I asked again because I’m always curious. Another sly grin.

Now, I beg of you to imagine the Hibachi grill in your mind’s eye. See a big lump of rice molded into an arrow shape. Yes, you’re almost ready… He sculpts some more, smoothing out the sharp edges of the arrowhead, which now looks like a long shaft with a curved base. I looked at hubby. He looked back at me. I turned and looked at the woman next to me. She looked back at me and then we both looked at her 9 yr old daughter. The chef squint his eyes appreciatively, his hands ever working the rice sculpture with ease. He then took out some sesame seeds and— wait for it! — covered the now duel / rounded shaped base in patches. I looked at the woman next to me and busted out laughing. Was it? Did he? All eyes go to the 9 yr. old girl who is thankfully oblivious. Our laughter cannot be staunched. Can you envision the image before us? The sly/jovial chef then slits the long rice shaft and puts half of a lemon on the base. OMG! “It’s a rabbit!” I cried with relief.

“You people have dirty minds,” our chef said with a wink.

Meanwhile, across the Hibachi more mischief is going down. The waiters come over and sing Happy Birthday with bongo drums and threadbare enthusiasm. The woman then stands, does a dance, then sings over the man’s shoulder, “Happy Birthday to you, Your wife’s gonna kill you!”

All hope of ever keeping the 9 yr old in the dark has now passed. The young girl repeated the lyrics, singing them and laughing out loud. The singers then turned to our table and began the tune (with drums) again. Our returning war hero stood and performed the Sprinkler to the delight of his wife and all of us. We applauded his return from Afghanistan. But our odd evening was not over. No! Before the southern belle left table across from us, the man she'd spent her meal with had gone on another bathroom run, and she found the other two men haggling over the bill, thinking to rip off their buddy. “He’s too drunk. He’ll never know,” they said. The young womanizer swerved back into the room and as the woman passed him, she yelled over her shoulder, “You’d better watch out. They’re going to rip you off.”

Then, as mysteriously as she'd entered our lives, the southern belle was gone.

I turned to my husband and said, “You just can’t make this stuff up.”

What stuff have you seen that simply could not be real? ;)


  1. I see things every day that no editor would buy because it is to unbelievable. Of course, it may not be as strange as your Southern Belle experience but still hard to believe. One thing that springs to mind is the parents who didn't want their 4th grader to play Little League baseball because he might get hurt and not get to start football season 100%. Crazy, crazy, crazy!

  2. Remind me to never visit that restaurant! LOL

    I was at a horse show and there was a cart class. Tennessee Walkers are very good at pulling carts like Standardbreds (race sulkies). There was this woman who was wearing a sequined tube top under her jacket who was driving one of the carts. As the horses went faster and faster around the ring, her top kept going lower and lower. Until...you got it, the entire top went down to her waist. Irate mothers were covering their kids eyes and men were leaning over the railings to get a better look. Most of us other women were laughing. Her hands were full with the reins and controlling the horse so she didn't bother with the top (wardrobe malfunction). When the horses lined up and stopped, she still didn't bother with the top. Guess who won first place? She took the ribbon and drove out still bouncing all over the place. Only in the South!!!

  3. Hysterical stories, ladies! I'm with Cheryl--think I'll steer clear of that restaurant, too. I don't go to horse shows, but they certainly sound entertaining!

    Okay, the only thing that springs to mind at the moment is a tragic story I will not share. To do so would spoil the festive mood ignited by this post. Suffice it to say, the incident I refer to left me in a state of utter disbelief. It was the kind of thing you read about other people seeing.

  4. Last week in the grocery store a young man approached me and asked if I knew where to find the canned pumpkin. (I have one of those faces. I am forever crawling around on the floor picking out cat food for people who can't bend down or reading labels for people who can't see. I hope someone will be willing to cheerfully do these things for me one day.) Anyway, this guy was about 25 and clearly capable of crawling and seeing. He just didn't have much pumpkin buying experience. I explained that it was sometimes with the canned fruit and sometimes with the canned pie filling. We found it in the latter. We then had to work out if he wanted pumpkin pie mix or solid pack pumpkin. Again, it was the latter. Then he told me why he wanted it. Turns out, according to him, pumpkin is an excellent dog laxative. (Don't try this at home. There was nothing about this young man to lead me to think he was a liar or vindictive but, then again, there was nothing to lead me to think he was a vet.)Then I got way to much information about his dog's bowel movements and lack there of.

    By the by--that woman was not a Southern Belle. She was trashy.

  5. "Po' white trash" as my Bigmama used to say.

    Thanks for the info on the dog laxative Jean. Hope I don't ever have to try it. I too have one of those faces. People, especially waitresses, will tell me their life stories (like I want to hear that), with ALL the details. My husband has learned to just sit there and take it because I am too polite to say I don't care. LOL

  6. Stephanie, there are some things stranger than fiction. ;)

    Wow! Cheryl, that is quite a loaded story (pardon the pun). What some people will do to get attention... LOL!

    Crystal, there are some things that aren't mean to be seen. It's like those WalMart pictures. Have you ever seen them? People wear the wildest and most disturbing stuff to WalMart.

    People always ask me questions when I'm in a store. I guess because I've worked in retail they think I work there and know where everything is at. Or maybe this says something about the purposeful way I walk into a store, concentrate on what I'm looking for, then wistfully lose track of time. Whatever the cause, strangers will ask me if I work there.

    Cheryl, I can't go anywhere without my mother telling her life story to someone. ;)

    This raises a few very important questions:

    What is wrong with this world we live in?

    Who raised these people?

    What line were they in when brains were being handed out?

    And, as an aside about caring faces, in a world where no one cares about strangers, one smile, one spark in the eye during a conversation can open up people's hearts. Obviously Jean and Cheryl have that spark and that is why complete strangers feel so at ease speaking with them.

  7. I'd also like to mention that it was so cute when the newly returned soldier opened his birthday gift from his wife, a very expensive bottle of Tequila and a shot glass. (Huh? Am I the only one who thinks that's weird? LTC says "maybe he really likes Tequila.")