Dad spends most of his time in his chair nowadays, so I don’t have as many stories to tell about him, but relating Mom’s latest near-loss experience with her cane reminded me of another cane related incident.
See that shiny ball on the right side of the Dallas skyline? That’s the restaurant for one of the local hotels. I once took the family for Mother’s Day. Mom sensed their world narrowing down and wanted to have a big splash. It was going to be a hassle and it was going to be expensive, but I decided it was just what the doctor ordered.
I went to Sunday School with Mom that Mother’s Day and then loaded the family into my Jeep. As I drove up to the valet parking my dad nearly had a heart attack, but I reassured him that the parking was comped when you ate in the restaurant. That hurdle crossed, we entered the lobby. When Dad realized he had to cross the entire lobby and go down an escalator to go up the elevator he wasn’t a happy camper, but I reminded him we were doing this for mother and that settled him down.
On the way up the elevator I promised Dad I’d get his food and fill his plate as many times as he wanted. After dishing up Dad’s salad and entrée, I returned to the table and Dad was in a tizzy because he didn’t have his coffee yet. I found our waiter and threatened his life if he didn’t get over there pronto with our beverages. Then I went to fill my own plate. By the time I got back to the table with my salad and main course, Dad had finished his first plate of food and was interested in seconds. Thrilled that he’d gotten into the spirit of the day, I went for his requests. As soon as I sat down his plate, Mom said, “Asparagus! I didn’t know they had asparagus?”
I offered to get Mom some asparagus and made the mistake of asking everyone else if they needed me to get something for them. Everyone wanted something and as my food cooled, I made my way to get what they’d ordered. Returning to the table, I discovered Dad was through with his seconds and wanted his dessert. A little frustrated, but still wanting the day to go smoothly I went to the dessert table. Along the way, I snatched some crackers and cheese from the appetizer table. I still hadn’t had a bite and was beginning to get dizzy.
Returning to the table with Dad’s dessert I encountered two bogies. The waiter had removed my plates without anyone realizing it and the people at the next table hadn’t been able to find the dessert table in the rotating restaurant. Still smiling, I led the people at the next table to the dessert bar and then went to fill another plate with main course choices for myself. As I began to eat, the waiter presented the bill and as hostess, it was my duty to pay attention to it. Finally, I cut off a bite of prime rib and lifted it to my mouth as my father said, “Where’s my cane?”
Dad was ready to go. I made soothing noises and tried to eat some of my expensive meal, but Dad was getting louder. I crawled under our table and sure enough, the cane was gone. I bothered the people on either side of us, but the cane wasn’t there either. My mom pointed out that the restaurant rotated, so perhaps the cane had been deposited somewhere along the way. I apologized to every table by the windows as I made my way around a full circuit of the restaurant. The cane was not at any table and patrons were complaining about the interruption.
Back at our table Dad was complaining about the whole enterprise. No one in proximity to our table would even look up from their plates. I stood by our table somewhat dazed. Tears threatened as I considered what a flop my efforts had brought. A waiter came and explained this sort of thing had happened before. If I’d call this number on the following day, the engineers would tell me if they’d found the cane on the floor below, where errant canes, umbrellas and the odd handbag sometimes ended up after falling through the mechanism which turned the restaurant.
Dad really needed the cane and it took the support of all of us to get him back to the car. The ride home was very quiet. I got everyone to their houses and went home to cry my eyes out. The next day I called the number I’d been given and found out to reclaim Dad’s cane I had to go all the way back downtown, valet park and retrieve it from the registration desk. At least I didn’t have to ride the elevator all the way to the restaurant. No one has suggested that we go there again – for any reason. In fact, this may be the first time anyone has dared to mention the incident. Does your family have this kind of mis-adventure – or is it just us?