In an effort to dispel the dreariness of the winter doldrums from the household, I gave in to the whimsier side of my personality this morning. A few years ago I purchased a circa 1940's waiter's jacket from a vintage clothing store in Houston. I had very good reasons for buying it: A) it fitted perfectly and, B) the intricate piping and epaulets had great potential for embellishment. From the day I purchased it until this morning it has remained in its' protective plastic shroud. Several years and 1800 miles after being liberated from obscurity, today was its debut.
I am always up before my mother and I set my scheme in motion. At last I heard her trundling down the hallway toward the kitchen. I waited until she had settled into her chair. I had already prepared her cup of coffee as she was making her way and I stepped into the dining room with steaming cup and saucer in hand. "Good morning, Madame. I trust you slept well?" I placed the cup before her and she looked up. Why hadn't I thought to put a camera in my pocket? Bless her heart, it took a few moments for her to focus--and then assure herself she hadn't completely lost it.
There I stood--green and blue plaid flannel pajamas, moccasin slippers, and an ornate white linen waiter's jacket. The ensemble was completed by a tea towel carefully draped over my left arm. "Would Madame care to look at a menu or does she perhaps already have something in mind?" I produced a small note pad and a pen from my breast pocket and looked every bit the part. She's quick, that old girl of mine. "Two eggs, scrambled, a small bowl of fruit, half a bagel-buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and.....a hot dog." "Pardon me, but did Madame say a hot dog?" "Yes, I said a hot dog. Sliced at an angle and sauteed in butter before being blended into the eggs." Brief pause. "Very good, Madame."
I turned to go into the kitchen but just as I got to the door I heard the sound of snapping fingers. I turned in her direction. She had her right hand in the air and snapped them again while looking directly at me. "Oh, waiter, more coffee, please." "Yes, Madame, certainly."
I whipped up the breakfast and served it on my Royal Crown Derby plates and presented her with gleaming silver utensils from grandmother's silver chest. I unfolded the crisp white linen napkin and laid it across her lap--after removing the cat. She invited me to join her while she ate. I don't 'do' breakfast. I thanked her for condescending to share her meal with a lowly waiter. "It's more convenient having you at the table." she said. "This way I don't have to snap my fingers to get my cup refilled" as she nudged the empty cup in my direction.
Meal finished, she complemented the chef and thanked me for the excellent service as I cleared the table. She asked me to lean down as she had something to give me. I obeyed and she took my face in her hands and kissed me on both cheeks. With a broad smile she whispered "I love you, you sweet, silly boy!"
It was the best gratuity I'd ever gotten.