What's Down that Lane? - Chapter 8
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas flew by. The decorations for Thanksgiving turned into Christmas without much help from me. The tree was decorated over the two stones as ordered, the landscapers put two men on cutting the grass back and scrubbing the stones and I set three huge poinsettias around the base of the tree. It was hard to get them in place because one planter insisted it sit almost on top of the newly uncovered stone.
Since I knew Bridgett's husband wanted his stone showing like hers, I was fighting with the plant for a couple of mornings only to have to fight with it each morning. Finally, the landscaper tied all three up to the tree itself, about a foot off the ground. When he left, I asked if it was alright that way, making sure the stone was visible. I looked up and saw the lantern go one and off.
I had my dress, Caleb had the flowers, white roses for me and a million huge poinsettias all over the place. The banister was festooned with white lights, white roses, red poinsettia blossoms and evergreen boughs all in silk. Each of the tables was done in bright white tablecloths with tapered red or green candles and red poinsettia blossoms. It sparkled and it was stunning when the candles were lit.
We stood under the tree with the minister's back to the truck and said our vows. Everyone in the restaurant had come out to see us get married and the kitchen staff stood at the back so they could rush back in and keep up with orders. But the best part I could remember was seeing the lantern come on and stay on before the sun's rays left it and over in the corner I could see Bridgett and her husband standing there, holding hands, and smiling at us.
I have learned many things since that day. Getting married is now probably the least of the things I remember about that day, even though it is still a big part of that day and the key to remembering that day, but it was the last time Caleb and I saw Bridgett and her husband. It's also the first day of a long line of days that spelled a lot of money and work because the landscaping crew had managed to hack their way through the rotting-cloying jungle over and through the last of the slavery quarters way in the back of the property.
There were three of them, nearly built on top of each other. There was nothing inside except three small stones, some small bones, and a couple of feathers. Before anyone would touch them, they insisted I get a voodoo expert in to analyze it and ensure it wasn't a curse.
Of course he said it was, but my contention, after a great deal of thought was, how could he know. When I asked him over the phone, he said it was because of the way it was laying on the floor.
"But what if a rodent or two had wandered through it all and moved some of the pieces?" I asked.
"Doesn't matter. It's thrown out of a bag, box, or jar, and it's what was there, the bones, the stones, the feathers."
It was all too late, I had scooped the stuff up and dumped it in the trash. I had spent hours, days, a month praying that God would forgive me for my misunderstanding of something like voodoo and anything I had to do with it, but I wanted the stuff out and I had torn the buildings down.
I prayed the people who had been forced to live there would forgive me, too. I think they did as we were never plagued by anything or anyone. In fact, life seemed to get better and easier for us. Our kitchen staff won some cook-off award that was apparently, prized by those that work in kitchens. We had an inspector in the kitchen and through the dining room every year and never failed a thing including a thermometer pushed into a small bowl of whipped butter on a dinner's table. The bowl of butter was immediately replaced for the customer and apologies and a credit given to appease the rudeness of the inspector to our guests, but we still passed because the butter he tested was still cold enough to pass the test.
Caleb was a fanatic on the clean kitchen and all the dishes and flatware. He would, at various times, drop everything and wander over to the room where the dishwasher worked and ensure that the inside of the washer was clean and free of particles, the glasses had no lipstick on the rims, the silverware was being dried so no water spots were left on them and the plates glowed, top and bottom. He insisted that the dishwasher use a green scrubber, called a ceramic sander on the bottoms of the cups, saucers, and plates to ensure they remained spot free. He insisted the dishes and flatware was dried with white towels in order to ensure no water spots and it forced people to look at the silverware to ensure it was sparkling clean without particles glued to it.
The floors were scrubbed nightly, the bins were emptied and scrubbed weekly, the windows were kitchen windows were washed daily and the dining room windows were washed weekly, sooner if needed and I'll never understand why people allow their young children to stand on the seats and put their filthy-grubby hands all over the window so the next person doesn't even want to sit there. So the wait staff was trained to clear the tables and wash off the windows of all prints and goo. But I always wonder if it's what their windows at home look like.
Caleb and I have our own little ones running around, but they are restricted to upstairs with the nanny when it's dinner time from 4pm on. As they get older, we'll have to consider something else, but for now, it works.
Every year our sou chef makes us a cake for our anniversary and every year, it's bigger so that the family can enjoy it, too. She also makes a cake for the children's birthday appropriately on their birthday and never misses.
Caleb always take the night of our anniversary off so we can be together, with children and no nanny, for the night. It has become a favorite family night for us and it's looked forward to as Christmas Eve in our house. As it turns out, we've been closing the restaurant on Christmas eve with the excuse that we get a big crowd on Christmas day. We do and no one seems to mind that we are closed on Christmas eve.
Our lives have become grand, thinner, thanks to SparkPeople, who have a free and un-solicited poster on my wall by the cash register. I've had many that ask and ask and then sign up and most of them have managed to stick with it and thanks to Caleb and his staff, have eaten healthy in my restaurant at Bridgett's Plantation. It's so fun to have someone walk in and say, "I know you - you're from SparkPeople. I'm (whatever their SP name is) and we're on a team together."
I think some make a point of coming to the restaurant because I blog about it a lot. But mostly, I thank God for bringing it altogether.
Author's note: this is a work of fiction and none of it is about any particular place or person. All events are as fictitious as the rest of the story.
Hope you enjoyed my little love story. You may pass it on as it is my novel.