With a grandchild staying overnight we know that we will have to entertain and almost always take them out for breakfast. It's a standard routine and one that we love. Saturday night Peg worked on arts and craft items with five-year old Laci until after ten. I had been in bed a long time. I'm an early to bed, early to rise type of person. I woke up at 4:30 and worked at my computer until after 8:00. I was surprised Laci wasn't stirring. At 8:30 I called and made reservations for 9:30 at CI Shenanigans for their brunch. Then I made repeated attempts to raise Peg and Laci. Time-wise everything worked out perfectly. We were on the road by 9:15.
We were seated with a beautiful view of Puget Sound and Vashon Island. Peg and I ordered coffee (excellent) and a glass of juice each with a combination of orange and cranberry. Michelle took our orders and continually refilled juice and coffee until we declined any more. Laci just wanted water.
While we waited a few minutes to be seated, Peg and Laci had pulled out some art they had been working on the night before. Peg loves the togetherness of the work and enjoys experiencing the creativity the children bring to art at an early age.
We didn't need instructions on how to serve ourselves for the Sunday brunch, but we were taking it easy over juice and coffee . . . and art.
The joy of a buffet is choosing a combination of favorites and new dishes. Shenanigans offer both breakfast items and currently Italian selections. I chose three sausage links, three slices of bacon, lower portion of eggs Benedict, a small crusty cut of lamb, a large forkful of smoked salmon, a pork roast roulade, scrambled eggs, and "au gratin" potatoes, and country fried potatoes. I knew I wouldn't like the scrambled eggs and the country fried potatoes, but you never now.
I didn't like the scrambled eggs and the country fried potatoes. Both were over-cooked, which was almost a given.
The "au gratin" potatoes were very good. The poached egg atop the muffin was excellent. The roulade was a little dry, but well seasoned. The lamb was just as I hoped. It was the first cut and I wanted the crust. I knew it would be over-done. For my normal rare slice I would have waited until others had taken some and worked the chef's way into the roast. Sausage and bacon were very good. Any little complaints on the food were whisked away with the smoked salmon.
For a little sweetness at the end of the meal I cut into a large pan of bread pudding. I loved it.
I took Laci to the table of sweets and she chose a chocolate covered strawberry for herself and one for her grandmother. The strawberries were huge and juicy. It took Laci some time to eat hers. Peg? Not so long.
Something else I appreciate at Shenanigans is the tiny little plastic cups of creme brulee and chocolate mousse. I also chose one of each. A teaspoon finishes one off in about three or four bites. They're cute and make sampling easy . . . and almost guilt free. This is a smaller version of the in-expensive samplers they normally have at dinner. They are almost a reverse amuse-bouche, which is normally a single, bite-sized hors díúuvre to start off a meal.
From Shenanigans we left for the Galaxy Theatre on Mildred over by Tacoma Community College. Cars 2, the animated film had just been released two days before and we thought Laci would really enjoy the 3-D feature.
The film received good reviews, but Laci woke me from a nap and asked to go back to our house. I did what all grandfathers would do, "Tell your grandmother," I said. Peg wrapped her in a blanket and hunkered her down until the movie was done. I stayed awake for the finish. I liked the first film but this one just didn't connect with me.
I did like one review I read about the movie: "This is a film for mechanics, NASCAR dads, car lovers, Bond fans and anyone who wants to spend an hour with Larry the Cable Guy. Just donít be surprised when Mater whips out a Gatling gun and starts firing indiscriminately into a crowd of Gremlins and Pacers. After all, who hasnít at some point in their life wanted to do just that when their car wonít start in the morning?"
As it turns out I am a car lover, but only a mechanic if I have to be. Our next stop was in Fife for the second annual Waltís Family Affair Car Show. There were around 200 street rods, custom cars, vintage cars and other special interest vehicles filling Frank Dacca Park for the event.
My father owned a 1957 Ford Ranchero, which was built on the chassis of the Ford Fairlane, so when I saw the fancied up model at Dacca Park there was an instant connection and a jolt from the past. I remember my dad telling me that the Ranchero engine was the same one used for the Ford police and state patrol vehicles. It would get up and move. Or it did until I took my driver's license test in it. I killed the engine three times at a stop light. Ah, yes . . . fond memories.
The Ranchero was quite a workhorse for my dad and the two motels my parents owned. As a teenager one of my jobs was to mix the concrete that my dad poured into forms that became the sidewalks between our thirty-some unit Ponder's Corner motel. I remember so overloading the truck with sand and gravel that the mudflaps dragged on the road.
In my sophomore year in high school I boarded the bus with perhaps the coolest boy at Clover Park. Oops, I mean the other coolest boy at Clover Park. He played clarinet (very badly) in the concert band, while I played Baritone Saxophone. He drove a black 1951 Ford. There in Fife was a black 1951.
Ken was one of those people who looked tough (but had a heart of gold) and he rolled his pack of cigarette in the sleeve of his white tee-shirt. He would sometimes give me a ride to home football games where we played spirited tunes to help the Warriors defeat our foes.
My fondest memory of Ken goes beyond band and his 1951 Ford. He asked me to save a seat for a friend of his who boarded the bus several miles after we got on. I was in lust . . . but didn't know what to do about it. She was a year ahead of me. I saved her a seat every day I rode the bus my sophomore year. I think of this every time I see a 1951 black Ford.
I've owned dozens and dozens of cars. I like cars. I could have walked around the fields at Dacca and found memories with more automobiles, but as Peg circled the parking lot one more time I spied a 1966 El Camino. I owned a 1964. It had been altered with a floor shift. The 327 gave it lots of power and zip. However, I replaced the clutch twice, which was once too many. The last time, I sold it and bought a brand new Mazda pick-up truck that had a much smaller engine, less get-up-and-go and got worse miles per gallon. That was one of my worst decisions of my life.
Well, it was only partially bad. At the same time I bought the Mazda pick-up for me, I bought a Mazda station wagon for Peg. It was dark green and she called it the Orcmobile. It was a plain-jane vehicle with no radio, but Peg could handle that car, well. It delivered great economy and hauled our kids and their friends all over Tacoma from one soccer field to another.
After leaving Dacca Park we drove to Edgewood and traded granddaughter Laci for granddaughter Bailee. We brought Bailee back to our place and put her to work. She's eager to earn money for horse camp in July. She worked through the late afternoon and then we dined on Clover Leaf Pizza, which had its roots in Ponder's Corner at the Roma Cafe, which was about a hundred yards from my parents' motel. It's a small world and one with fantastic memories at every turn . . . or stop light.