Sunday was Barbara’s birthday and as usual I had no idea what kind of present to give her. So I asked her what she wanted. “Just take me out to dinner,” she said.
Cool. That took me off the hook and I knew she’d be happy.
“Where do you wanna go?” I asked. Believe it or not there are a number of very good restaurants in and around Asheville, NC.
“Let’s go to Hooters,” was her reply.
After I picked myself up off the floor I asked, “Why?”
“They have steamed clams,” she said.
We may have good restaurants here, but being 400 miles from the coast means that the fresh seafood joints are practically non-existent. We do have a Red Lobster, but I’ve never really enjoyed a meal there.
So, Sunday night at about 7 we headed into Asheville to find the local Hooters. After only two wrong turns, and nearly hitting a young black man who was walking up the road with a white towel over his head, we were safely ensconced in their nearly empty parking lot.
We found a table in their smoking section and perused the menu. Not only did they have steamed clams, but they also offered oysters-on-the-half-shell. I was in heaven – until I checked their beer selections. I won’t drink Bud or any of its derivatives – that shot half the menu – likewise with Coors and Corona.
When our surprisingly small hootered waitress finally arrived I ordered an MGD. “A what?” she said. “A Miller Genuine Draft,” I answered. I should have been warned. Barbara ordered a mixed drink and we scanned the menus for a main course selection.
Ten minutes later, our distinctly non-Hooters type waitress returned with Barbara’s drink and a message for me. “We don’t sell MGD anymore,” she said.
Grab the beverage menu one more time. “OK, I’ll have a Killian’s Red.” It was the only other beer on their mostly domestic menu that I would drink.
After another 10-minute wait for the bartender to open a beer bottle, “Little Miss Push-up” sheepishly returned. “You’re not gonna believe this,” she said. “We’re out of Killian’s.”
Barbara and I just looked at each other, dumbfounded.
“OK, just bring me a Jack on-the-rocks.”
As she walked away she said, “You want Coke in that?”
“No, just Jack and ice. That’s all. No Coke, no Sprite, no water! Jack on-the-rocks.”
We’re getting on 30 minutes now, and I still didn’t have a fucking drink. This was not gonna be my night. But that’s OK. It was Barb’s birthday, not mine.
As I waited, parched, for something to drink, the young black man who had been walking up the road came in, with the towel still draped over his head, sat down at a table next to the wall and promptly fell asleep on the table.
Another 10 minutes passed before our red-faced waitress returned. “OK. This is getting weird. Our liquor shipment didn’t come in on Friday – we’re out of Jack Daniels.”
I looked up at her and smiled. “Just bring me an ice-water,” I said. “I know you can’t be out of that.”
Then I realized that this was God’s way of telling me – “Don’t drink and drive.”