Lucky Me

Daisy and I like to play cards together sometimes when we are just sitting together at the kitchenette. She is getting very good at some of the easier ones. Junior would prefer to play Solitaire and likes to spread out his cards on the floor in front of him as he is watching TV. Steve plays poker occasionally with the guys in our neighborhood. I don’t mind when they disappear into someone’s rec room for a night of cards, but I don’t like the smell of cigars and that seems to go hand in hand with the playing. I have never figured out why. Of course, my group plays cards every couple of weeks during the school year and only breaks when the children are out for the holidays and vacation. I enjoy the conversation before and after the games. Some of my girlfriends can get pretty serious when playing and don’t like a lot of chit chat while the game is going on. It’s probably something about focus. I don’t mind winning or losing. I guess I just enjoy the social aspects.

Lucy wanted a story about luck for St. Patrick’s day. I was a little blocked about what to write and was probably being overly introspective about the meaning of fortune. I feel very fortunate in my life. Good husband, good kids, good friends, good life. I wondered more about how we decided we had met our expectations more than what the expectations were. I didn’t think it was just luck that was driving me along. I decided to do the only right thing. I called Chloe and invited her to join me for lunch at the Chinese restaurant in town. Chloe laughed a little when I asked her to join me. We had never gone there together before and truthfully, I only stopped there sometimes to get take out as a treat for the family.

The first thing I noticed was the smell of the restaurant as we entered. It was more exotic than my kitchen smell. Warmer too. The intense heat needed to cook was most likely the reason for the humidity in the air. We took our seats and Chloe started to read the menu. She said the columns made her dizzy. I ordered tea for both of us figuring that would give us more time to choose. When the lovely waitress returned and poured our tea for us, I stopped and asked her what she recommended. Chloe listened intently as she quickly mentioned a few favorites of most customers. I figured that the favorites she told us about were safe choices that she thought we would like. Chloe gave up and ordered the last item she mentioned. I know that Chloe had no idea what she had just ordered from the look of her face and the shrug of her shoulders. I told the waitress that I felt lucky and asked her to surprise me. Before she left the table, she asked us if we wanted an appetizer. Chloe looked at me and decided to follow my lead. She said yes and surprise us with that also.

This was going to either be great or awful. Cooking for a family every day gives you the advantage of knowing what you are going to eat for every meal. I could never imagine just coming home and sitting down to a mystery that someone else had prepared. We enjoyed our tea and it seemed special with the little traditional cups and teapot. The appetizer was delivered and did not look like anything I could identify because they were little dumplings that sat upright. There were some dipping sauces also. The waitress told us to just try them when we looked at her quizzically.  Chloe went first and dipped one into a sauce daintily. She closed her eyes and took a bite. Her face was a mixture of surprise and interest. Chloe said that it was good and encouraged me to try too. I did and tried enough of the little pockets of dough to try both dipping sauces. They were delicious. The meat inside was finely ground and tasted good but I still didn’t know what it really was. I just knew it tasted yummy.

When it came time for the entrees, the waitress brought out Chloe’s and what must have been the cook brought out the other. He was dressed in an apron and had covered his hair to work in the kitchen. He put the dish down in front of me and I looked at it trying to figure out what it was. There were some noodles, some vegetables, some shrimp and some kind of sauce. He told me eat and repeated himself when I hesitated. As I started to pick up a fork, he gently placed his hand on mine and handed me some chopsticks. I have never been very talented with chopsticks but I did not want to disrespect the gentleman. He formed my fingers around them and motioned for me to bend forward and dive in. I did. It was a little messy but I eventually got it down well enough to pick up some food and get it into my mouth. It was delicious and I looked up at him and smiled. He clapped his hands and returned to his work. Chloe laughed at me but took a few tries with her chopsticks also, although she went back to eating with a fork because she said she was too hungry to worry about how she was eating.

After the delicious meal, some fortune cookies and ice cream were delivered to the table. We hadn’t ordered dessert but the waitress told us that the cook wanted us to have them because we had trusted him to make our lunch. It all came down to trust. We opened the cookies and read our fortunes and found reasons to believe them. More trust. I wrote my paper on the luncheon experience and Lucy told me that she was going to go to the same restaurant and do the same thing we did. Choose to trust. Maybe that’s why Steve just sits down at the table and never asks me what we are having for dinner. I guess after all this time, he trusts my cooking. I guess he’s just lucky that way.

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