Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Grits, Grins and Florence

We drove back to Virginia last night. We arrived home at 1:30am, having made a midnight stop at the Waffle House because we were starved. I had never been to a Waffle House and so I was a bit reluctant, but we were starved and the options after midnight were limited. We stopped at two service places on 95 – both of which had no services (even the bathrooms were closed), and certainly there was no food. The Cracker Barrel was closed, and the Seven-Eleven was bleak. So the WF seemed the only reasonable choice.

The menu and short order cook were unbelievable. The chef was all business and the food was all butter, all the time. Butter with eggs, sandwiches, milk, grits, everything. Many people would think of this fare as disgusting. I am not among them. In fact, my favorite place to have butter breakfast (because you can’t get it everywhere), was a small place in Milwaukee where Tina and I would go whenever I was visiting with her. I am sure it had a name, but we just called it ‘butter’ because there was no better way to accurately describe the primary ingredients. It closed a few years ago and we have been mourning it’s demise. Despite the politics, I’m a big Denny’s fan, and I have been to a mega number of Cracker Barrels, but the WH is heaven on the highway.

David had Texas Toast (it’s grilled in butter) with sliced steak, onions (fried in butter) and cheese. It’s not a cheese steak in the Philly sense but it is fabulous. I had cheese grits and eggs over easy. Needless to say, they contained, and were drenched in, yes, butter. Along with everything butter I am also a big grits fan. If you are in Virginia finding grits is not a problem, but in the North it is almost impossible unless you happen to be on East 46th st. in NY and sitting at the Comfort Diner. Anyway, they served this delicacy (when you’re from New Jersey grits are a delicacy) in a bowl the size of Sheboygan. I cannot start to tell you how delighted I was to partake in this late night snack. I am sick as a dog (not from the butter), tired and stressed, and I forgot all my cares in a bowl of cheese grits. Who says I’m not easy.

This morning I stayed in bed for a while because, as I said, I am suffering with a big bout of bronchitis. When I finally got out of bed I realized we had no staples like milk, eggs or the sainted butter, so I rallied and decided to do a few errands. This involved staple shopping, returning books-on-tape to the library, picking up the black and white version of our annual holiday picture, (which I then hand tint) and purchasing a little color for my hair. Despite my chest discomfort, it was a nice day, which culminated in one of my favorite marital activities—don’t go there. David helps me to get rid of the dreaded gray roots. Yes, you probably thought I was perennially golden brown with just a touch of blond highlights, but alas, I started to gray at 25 and it’s been a battle ever since.

For a long time I colored my own hair, but Soozie yelled at me so I started going to a beautician at Saks in McLean. She was a lovely person and I was always happy with her haircuts (which I also used to do myself), but never the color. Then I went to Key West and found Debbie who colored to perfection and highlighted my curly locks with great aplomb. But I don’t live in Key West, so what was I to do when I returned home?

One night while I was struggling to apply medium golden brown, David offered to help. I figured if it worked it would save about $90. If it didn’t we would have a great colorful fight. What did I have to lose?

It worked but not just as a ‘cosmetic’ activity. We have some of our most interesting conversations during the process. And it’s not just the usual dialogue about life, love, kids, work and travel. It takes on a totally different tone because once David has put on the plastic gloves and taken the brush in hand, he starts to converse as if he were my beautician. I can’t explain it exactly, but his whole persona changes from photographic artist to hair colorist. Today, while we were like girls gossiping in the beauty shop, we realized the change in our conversation and dynamic. We started to laugh until we couldn’t stop, it was genuinely therapeutic. We agreed that if anyone is looking for a couple-bonding experience, you just can’t beat this as an activity. Of course it does necessitate trust, good humor and a guy who doesn’t mind being called Florence. We’re just sayin...Iris


Anonymous said...

You just cannot beat a Waffle House for what they've to offer travellers. I, for one, had eaten so much questionable food at questionable locations..oh, heck..pass the butter..

Anonymous said...

I suppose sometimes you gotta go with the Flo..Many couples seem to not care about bonding as others do, which is why those of us are the most fortunate to appreciate what we have in order to have the lenght of the marrioage in opposed to weeks..