On Friday nights, I like to go to the Thai restaurant about five minutes from my house. I always sit at the bar and wait on my take-out order and talk to all of the servers, the other regulars and Moony, whose name I never spell or say correctly. I’ve known her for years – she and her husband own the place. They are good people, who work hard and make good food.
Moony has two children, a daughter in high school and a son about to go away to college and chase his dreams – just like mine. Her son loves computers, gaming and will play soccer in college. My son loves computers, gaming and music – he will chase his dreams and a college education in Nashville, Tennessee.
I’m never in a hurry when I go to get take-out, if I were, I’d call ahead. I never call ahead, because I like sitting at the bar and playing with the remote control surfing the channels. I seldom get to do that at home.
She takes my order by asking me, “Who is eating tonight?” She calls everyone by name and tells me what they normally order. She knows who likes “spicy” and who does not… She remembers everything. She orders for me and usually surprises me. It’s always good.
Some things I get “on the house” because I’m a regular and she knows I’ll be back. A glass of wine here and there and sticky rice with mango, which everyone just loves. Moony also knows to put an order of Thai peppers in a little plastic container for me, I just love them.
When she prompts me, “Thai peppers tonight?” – My nose and forehead begin to sweat. She just says Thai peppers, I start thinking about them and my nose starts sweating. Even when I just write about them, my nose starts sweating. I must have a little bit of dog in me or something. I mention the word, “treat,” and my dogs start spinning in circles, sitting, shaking and lying down. Yes, they are hot, but I do love them. They seem to make me feel better (in addition to making me sweat just thinking about them).
On this night, Moony was in the back when I showed up. Two servers came by and said, “She’s in the back.” Her husband stopped by to say hello and said, “She’s in the back.” They all know that only Moony can take my order. I’m kind of a creature of habit, in addition to having the nose sweating thing.
She opened the door from the kitchen and came out smiling, as she always does. In just a few days, both of our sons will be graduating from high school, then off to college in the fall. Moony knows my son is the last one to go. She asked, “How do you do it?”
After I rambled on about that’s what we raised them to do, going off on their own, finding their own way and a lot of other things that you would expect me to say, I said, “It’s hard.” It is hard, you think about yourself and how you grew up and how hard your parents worked.
Moony started talking about her mother in Thailand, who she had been to visit in the last few months and how she was raised and how hard it was for her to leave and start a new life here in the United States. Moony asked me about how I grew up and started telling her about my parents and everything they did for my brothers and me. I told her how much they sacrificed to make sure we had a chance and to make sure that we had opportunities “to do better” as my Daddy would say.
As I told her this, I lost it… My kids going off to college, leaving an “empty nest” at home; I can take it. But, when I start thinking about everything my parents did for me, how much they gave up and how much they truly loved us, I lost it there sitting at the bar in the Thai Restaurant with Moony looking on.
What did she do?
She brought me more napkins and another glass of wine… She held the order until I composed myself… She didn’t want my tears messing up her sticky rice and mango…
If you are going to lose it, it’s best to lose it with friends who know you and know why your nose starts sweating when you say or hear the term, “Thai peppers.”
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I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs and getting Thai take out from Emerald in Williamsburg, Virginia.