My Dad celebrated his 65th birthday recently, so this past weekend, The Gryphon and I visited him.
We got on the road later than we'd hoped, so we arrived about 3 p.m. on Saturday. We'd told him to find out if there was anything going on in the afternoon that might be worth checking out, but he said there wasn't much. We had just missed an ice festival in the nearby town, held the previous weekend.
So we made plans to take him out to dinner at a restaurant of his choice and then come back to his place afterwards to watch a movie I'd brought, Evan Almighty, rented through Blockbuster.com. Dad wanted to go to a hotel restaurant The Gryphon and I had been to recently for lunch, and we had good expectations, since it was owned by the same owner as another restaurant we liked. When we called Mom, she agreed, so I made reservations for 6.
Mom requested I come by her house a little beforehand so we could spend some time together, too. So for a couple hours, I hung out with Dad and caught up on things. He gave me clippings of our wedding write-up in the two local newspapers, as well as the press release I'd written about my wedding book, My Wedding, My Way: Real Women, Real Weddings, Real Budgets, which appeared in the newspaper I used to write for. As it got closer to 5, I changed into the wrap dress, leggings, wool swing cool and boots I was wearing for dinner and drove to Mom's. She was happy to see me, of course. I returned the book I'd borrowed, Brian Wansink's Mindless Eating. We talked a while, and then she let me play her 1871 Leonard & Co. upright grand piano, which she'd recently had tuned for the first time in many years. It was good to play it again, but I was extremely rusty!
Closer to the time, we got in her car and drove to the restaurant. We were actually the first to arrive, which surprised us. Mom asked that the waitress seat us anyway, which she did. As she was seating us, I told her we were there to celebrate Dad's birthday and I wondered if they would do something special for him. She said she'd be happy to bring out a dessert with a candle in it, but she said that we'd have to do the singing. That sounded great, so I told her we'd do that.
At about 6:10, when they still hadn't arrived, I got concerned, so I called The Gryphon to find out where they were. Turns out they had simply gotten out the door late and were nearly there. When they arrived, we seated Dad at the head of the table, which he likes. We looked at menus and were a little surprised to see that they were a bit pricey for that area, so I doubt my family will go back often. Still, it's a hotel near a university and is probably priced for their market.
I ordered a salmon dish with fig sauce, couscous, and aubergines (which the waitress informed me were eggplants). Dad ordered the same. The Gryphon ordered the duck, while Mom got a sandwich and salad.
Dad and me
We enjoyed our dinner, engaging in lighthearted conversation, and then the waitress came out with the dessert tray, starting with Dad. He chose a creme brulee, which made me wonder if they were going to be able to insert the candle, because of the crust on top. The Gryphon and I shared a three-layer chocolate mousse cake.
Sure enough, the waitress came out carrying a dessert with a candle in it for Dad, and we sung "Happy Birthday" to him. He was surprised and thrilled. After he blew it out, we gave him our gifts. In Mom's case, she gave him a card and promised to buy him whatever kitchen appliance he requested. The Gryphon and I got him three nice shirts, suitable for either an evening out or for business. He was pleased.
Dad with his birthday candle
We had a nice, leisurely dessert with coffee, before Mom gave me a ride back to her house to pick up my car and The Gryphon and Dad headed back to his place.
Evan Almighty was a fun movie, and was actually better than I expected for a sequel. It could stand on its own extremely well. The premise is that a news anchor, Steve Carell, is elected as a congressman who wants to "change the world." He prays for God's help in doing so, so God (Morgan Freeman) tells him to build an ark.
Of course, this being a movie, God finds many amusing ways of forcing him to comply, such as animals showing up in twos on his property and the fact that he grows a long beard he can't cut off which makes him look like Moses.
It's a very sweet movie. It's a fun movie, and it has a great environmental message. Dad enjoyed it so much that we watched all the extras and learned a great deal about the making of the movie. I always love such things, as does Dad.
The lunch menu is cheaper than the dinner menu.