Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chapter 10, Part 1 - Evenings Out

After an evening of indulging in large portions of food at Antonio’s, Bubbe’s, or Wu’s Chinese Buffet, Mom and Dad and their friends sometimes go out for a night on the town, or at least a night on the Harbor View grounds. Often this means attending a show at the theatre in the Harbor View clubhouse. I am told that many people actually choose to live in Harbor View over other retirement condominiums in Florida because of the theatre that is in the clubhouse. It is the largest one in the area. And with the vast theatre comes the best acts that come to Florida. During the high season (December to April) there are approximately 20 shows per month – live shows – musicians, comedians, and dancers who are famous – or at least once were.

I never get too excited by the performers that Mom tells me about, mostly because I have never heard of them. In the past few years Mom and Dad have seen shows with the following performers: Freddie Roman, Alan King, Mal Z. Lawrence, Marilyn Michaels, and Sam Butera. Mom informs me that they were all big stars in their day, and that the shows are usually fantastic. She always seems to get annoyed when I tell her I haven’t heard of some of these people.

“What are you doing tonight?” I ask Mom on the phone one day.

“Oh, we’re going to a show with Donna McKechnie,” Mom replies.

“Is that the nice woman who lives downstairs from you?”

“No, we’re going to see Donna McKechnie. You mean to tell me you’ve never heard of her?”

“No, who is she?” I ask.

“She’s a very talented dancer and singer. She danced on Broadway for many years.”

“Oh, sorry, I never heard of her.”

“She’s danced with some of the best of them, honey. I can’t believe you never heard of her,” Mom’s voice rises an octave at the second sentence.

“Sorry, Mom. She must have been before my time,” I say. “If I had heard of her, that would probably make me eligible for residency at Harbor View.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chapter 9, Part 4 - Eating Out

I must say this, though, eating out IS a real bargain in Florida when compared to eating out in New York, Washington, or other Northeast cities. At an Italian restaurant in DC, for example (and not just in the city either, even in the suburbs) they charge a minimum of $8 for a plate of pasta and this usually does not include salad and certainly not dessert. Salad is an extra $3.95 ($4.95 for Caesar) and dessert is close to five bucks nowadays – for a piece of pie. So a meal in Florida that costs $7.99 is more than twice as much where I live. Which is probably a good thing, or else I’d probably be eating out all of the time, too.

Not that I don’t like to eat out; I do. In fact, I like to eat out as much as the next person (unless ‘the next person’ happens to be a resident of Harbor View). However, I feel as if that is all we do when I visit Mom and Dad in Florida – eat, eat, and eat some more. I always look forward to going for my weeklong trip to Florida each winter because it gives me a chance to go outside and take longs walks in the nice weather, after being cooped up inside up North all winter long. But then at the end of the week we go to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet and I lose everything I’ve gained from exercise (or rather I gain everything I’ve lost). Oh well, I often think, biting into an egg roll, (slice of pizza, piece of cheesecake or whatever food I am eating at the time), I’ll go for an extra long walk in the morning.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chapter 9, Part 3 - Eating Out

Food is a favorite topic for Mom, Dad, and their friends to talk about, no matter where they are. They talk about it at the pool in the afternoon.

“Phyllis, where do you want to eat tonight – Nana’s Nosh or Antonio’s?” Mom asks while slathering suntan lotion on her legs.

“Oh, Herb and I ate at Nana’s last night. They never brought us any pickles and we asked them about three times. Let’s go to Antonio’s instead,” Phyllis replies.

“That’s fine. Actually, Flo did mention to me that the service was going downhill at Nana’s. It’s a shame, too because they really do have the best matzo ball soup.” Mom says.

“You think so?” Phyllis says, “I like Bubbe’s soup much better.”

They talk about food when they are on the golf course.

“We’d better play an extra nine, Herb,” Dad says. “We’re eating at Antonio’s for dinner tonight.”

“Oh, you’re right. Thanks for reminding me. Gotta make room for that delicious New York cheesecake,” Herb answers.

They even talk about food while they are eating out.

“Ummm, this egg drop soup is delicious, and the noodles are extra crispy today. I can eat here again tomorrow,” Phyllis says one night at Wu’s Chinese Buffet.

“Phyllis, we’re eating at Barney’s tomorrow night, remember? They have that special with the all-you-can-stuff-your-face salad bar on Tuesday nights,” Mom reminds her.

“Oh yeah. You’re right. Maybe we’ll come back here the day after.”

A few days before I was set to visit Mom and Dad this year, Mom called me up and said, “We have to take you to Finnochio’s when you get here. They have the best chicken marsala. And it comes with a delicious Caesar salad, nice warm dinner rolls, and dessert – choice of pudding, ice cream, or cake.”

“Sounds good, Mom,” I muttered.

“Oh, and the portions are so huge. I usually take home half the chicken and eat it for lunch the next day. And I often try to sneak out one of those good rolls, too.”

“Sounds good, Mom,” I tried to fake enthusiasm.

“Oh, and the best part is,” she continued, “it’s only $7.99 for the whole meal. Can’t beat that price,” she chirped.

“Sounds good, Mom,” I said. For some reason, I just can’t seem to match Mom’s excitement over a piece of chicken. Maybe in 30 years.