My husband and I recently celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. It's a little embarrassing to say this, but now we have finally been married for as many years as we lived together before we were married. Can anyone say "commitment issues?" Anyway, we have now been together for 36 years and we've never been happier together. And it makes me happy to say that.
We decided to celebrate by going out to dinner. We chose our anniversary restaurant with utmost care. Which means that in true Florida geezer tradition, we chose the restaurant we already had a gift certificate for. A nice little restaurant nearby. That's the other Florida geezer rule of thumb.... find a restaurant nearby where you don't have to drive far to get back home afterward. We did, however, make one exception to the geezer code; we opted NOT to go for the early bird. In fact, it was actually almost dark when we entered the restaurant.
We were greeted at the door by somebody's mother, wearing an apron and a poker face. As she led us to our table, we immediately noticed that they had "entertainment" in the dining room. There was a man playing the piano and singing, very nicely dressed and somewhere between eighty and a hundred years old. It was hard to tell. As we entered the dining room he gave us a friendly wave as he pumped out the last few strains of "My Blue Heaven." Thankfully we were seated as far away from him as was geographically possible. But make no mistake, we were still able to enjoy his rendition of "Piano Roll Blues" and several other songs from the post Civil War era. His playing was sprinkled throughout with the occasional sour note, or as we say in the vernacular of the music business, clam. We settled into our seats as they dimmed the lights and Mr. Piano began crooning, "All of me... why not (clam) take all of me.." It was delightful.
We had a really nice waittress who took very good care of us. She brought us glasses of wine, we ordered appetizers, and we settled in for a fine evening of dining on our anniversary. As we sat and talked and enjoyed our wine, we must have passed through a time zone of some sort during which Mr. Piano shifted from his cocktail set into his lively numbers. When he launched into "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog" it took me so completely by surprise, I thought my Pinot Grigio would come out through my nose. Oh man, he was really rockin' - in a dixieland swing kind of way. The clams came fast and furious then, and I'm not talking about our appetizers.
Well, the evening was lovely, actually. The food was good, the service was good, and of course there was the gift certificate. Near the end of our meal, my husband excused himself to use the men's room, and when he came back he told me about this stuff they had in there, some kind of scented scrub, that you work into your hands and then rinse off. He said it was in a bowl next to the sink, with a spoon in it to scoop some out. He offered his hand for me to smell. It smelled of mint. He said the sign called the stuff "salts of the sea" or something, and today's scent was mint. Nice. He insisted that I be sure and go to the ladies room so I could experience this new thing. So I did. In the ladies room the scent of the day was pomegranate. There was the bowl of this orange colored sherbet-looking stuff with the spoon and the sign. All I could think was I sure hoped no one went in there really drunk and ate a spoonful of the stuff, cause it actually looked kind of appetizing. Anyway, I used it and it smelled nice. I reported back to him and offered my fruity hand for him to sniff. We were having a grand time.
So we finished our meal, paid the check, tipped the waittress and my husband made a point of walking over and leaving a nice tip in Mr. Piano's tip jar. After all, that could be us in a few short years. Mr. Piano thanked him and asked if we had a favorite song we'd like to hear. "Oh no no, thanks, we're just leaving!" my husband said cheerfully as we scurried toward the door and out into the night air.
When we got in the car we agreed what a nice evening it was. After a few moments he said, boy that mint smell is really strong, huh? And I said I couldn't tell, all I could smell was pomegranate. The smell seemed to intensify as we drove home and soon the whole car smelled of pomegranate mint. Unique. I finally sat on my hands until we could get home where I tried washing it off. Uh uh. Still there. That's okay, we knew it would go away eventually.
So end of story, we had a really nice anniversary. We always enjoy each other's company, and that's just the greatest thing. Maybe next year we'll try a different restaurant. One with a soap dispenser.