License – Chapter 53
NUMBER TWENTY-SIX LICENSE
Joe knew Lainey was more than disappointed. She had called to make the dinner reservation at their favorite restaurant and instead of a friendly voice at the other end of the line, she had gotten a recorded message announcing that the number she had dialed was no longer in service.
A quick Google search had turned up the sad fact that Emeralds had bitten the dust shortly after their last visit several years ago.
Secretly, Joe was glad. He knew Lainey loved the place. And he loved Lainey, so he led her to believe that he thought Emeralds was the place to dine as well. But in truth, he considered it uppity, too trendy and geared towards the affluent.
Lainey would always sit there, awed and dreamy, as the waiter proclaimed the evening’s specials and exotic sounding foodstuffs flowed smooth off his tongue.
And Joe would sit there smiling and nodding, trying to turn his bafflement into his best simulation of knowledgeable enthusiasm instead.
But what were those things the waiter was rattling off?
Arugula gremolata. Garlic crostini. Smooth chipotle aioli. Haricot vert. Rosemary demi-glace.
Were they sauces? Side dishes? Seasonings?
Lainey would order something like Pecan Crusted Pork Medallions served with a cabernet peppercorn demi-glace, accompanied by haricot vert drizzled with garlic infused butter and porcini dusted pommes frites with a rich tomato aioli on the side.
Did she really know what was she ordering?
And Joe would search the menu for something he thought he recognized, like the Flat Iron Rib Eye with a creamy gorgonzola mash.
Surely, that must be a steak with mashed potatoes!
Then, when her meal arrived, Lainey’s eyes would practically pop out of her head. They became basins of sparkling delight, as if heaven had just been set before her.
To Joe it looked like nothing more than a few small pieces of pork in a pool of brown gravy, green beans and French fries, all arranged like a work of art with drizzles and dollops of creamy sauces on a fancy plate.
His meal would arrive on a fancy plate too, with the steak already cut into strips, fanned out in a semi-circle and sprinkled with several different kinds of mushrooms. There was a sprig of greenery sticking out of the potatoes.
Joe would have preferred to cut his own steak! But he figured he knew why they served it that way. To make the piece of meat look larger! Joe was sure that if he reassembled the strips, his steak wouldn’t be any bigger than Lainey’s pork medallions!
Who did they think they were fooling? Not him! And apparently not anyone anymore!
Now a new place was going to have to be decided upon. If it was up to Joe, he would select a down to earth restaurant where he could get a thick cut of prime rib or a tender, juicy steak cooked medium rare, a baked potato and a salad. A normal place that called gravy ‘gravy’ and mayonnaise ‘mayonnaise’ and didn’t charge double just because they called it a reduction or a remoulade.
But the fancy fooler was the type of place that made Lainey happy, especially when they were going out to celebrate something special. And, bottom line? If that was what made her happy, then it made Joe happy too.
“Don’t you worry about it, Sugar Girl,” he told her, “I will personally take it upon myself to find another place befitting the wondrous occasion of our twenty sixth wedding anniversary. You just leave it to me.”
After getting recommendations from some of his co-workers and checking out websites and menus online for high class trendiness and aioli, demi-glace, haricots, and frites availability, he settled on The Crystal Inn.
It was a huge success.
JOE AND LAINEY AND HONEYMOON #26
It was the perfect place, the perfect night
There were white cloth napkins
There was candlelight
And Joe and Lainey feasted
Till they could feast no more
Their appetites to whet
They started with
Topped with creamy dollops
Of lemon caper aioli
There was crusty baguette bread
With a garlic butter spread
And a salute
With raised glasses of chardonnay
Here’s to us!
You and me!
On this, our 26th anniversary!
Next to tantalize their palette
Arriving on a crystal plate
And tasting just fabulous
Was a crisp iceberg wedge
With warm bacon dressing
And crumbles of tangy blue cheese
Then the waiter, with a flair
For the main course did declare
They should have the most delicious
Pan seared scallops
On a bed of angel hair
The finishing touch
Before they went on their way
Was red raspberry coulis
Over airy coconut meringues
Click each course upon arrival
Click on Joe’s happy smile
And click on Lainey’s smile too
Click on her candlelit green eyes
Click on the kiss
Joe planted on her lips
That the waiter took by surprise
The very next day
When Lainey went out to shop
To the photo kiosk Joe did trot
Select, edit, print
And last night’s clicks
Were now photos in the palm of his hand
Back home again
Joe hurried then
There was no time to waste
A surprise to prepare before Lainey’s return
And her sweet lips again he did taste
Down from the shelf he took it
Their anniversary album
Leather bound and gold inscribed
And to the next unused page he did flip it
It was there his plan would come alive
With glue stick in hand
He! Joe himself!
The photos inside did affix
And in rainbow colors
He titled it
When Lainey through the door did come
She spotted the open book
She dropped all her bags
And quick as a flash
Into Joe’s arms she did jump
She kissed him all over his face
Love singing in her heart
And with tender tears and a grin
She made a proclamation
There was no doubt in her mind
Joe was the world’s best husband
And would be hers till the end of all time
They smiled and they laughed
And around the room they danced
Giddy and light as two balloons
Each day was a celebration
A joyous confirmation
Of their love
And their never ending
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Print editions available at Lift Bridge Book Shop in Brockport & Simply NY on Culver Road. Online at Amazon and Diane’s website. Comments, Questions? Contact Diane Rivoli through her website www.dianerivoli.com.