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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

Hi, Everyone,
   Valentine's Day is over as I'm writing this, and I hope yours was a good one.  My special Valentine surprised me with a trip out to dinner tonight, and he didn't let me know our destination until we arrived.  Of course I figured out pretty quickly that we weren't eating in town when we passed the city limits.  It was a delight to be surprised, and I especially enjoyed our time together.
   As we turned into the driveway of the Olive Garden in Pensacola, we both knew we'd have a long wait, but we were prepared to enjoy being "alone" together.  What we didn't expect was to play musical chairs during the nearly 1 1/2 hours.
   When we approached the front of the restaurant to sign in, the overflow crowd outside exceeded our expectations.  I'm sure there must have been at least 50 people outside, and inside was only slightly better.  After receiving our signaling device from the hostess, we took up our positions standing beside a potted plant.
Signaling Device
  I was reminded of an old episode of Star Trek in which Kirk was invited to an overcrowded planet to introduce disease to the inhabitants so they could die.  Do you remember that one?  When the door opened to Kirk's room, people were standing shoulder-to-shoulder like sardines in a tin.  We weren't quite that cozy, but you get the picture--it was packed.
   Settling in for the wait, I told Eddie to help me keep an eye out for someone being called to their table, thus leaving an empty seat.  Our first break came after about 15 minutes.  As luck would have it, one chair was vacated below the menu board advertising the night's specials.  I hastened to the chair, and Eddie leaned on the wall next to me. 

   As we people-watched and tried to scrunch ourselves against the wall, I told him that this reminded me of musical chairs for restaurants.  "Watch for the next seat," I chuckled, getting into game mode.  The next move didn't gain us an additional chair, but the next one vacant was at least in a corner out of the direct flow of traffic to the restrooms and dining area.  I offered Eddie a turn in the chair, but being the gentleman that his is, he told me he'd been sitting all day, and for me to remain seated. 

   As luck would have it, our next big break came when a party of 10 was called.  Suddenly all manner of chairs opened up around us, and we quickly snagged a bench for 2 right beside us.  I must say it's been years since I played musical chairs, and this electronic buzzer version was almost as much fun, but not nearly as violent.  Nobody tried to knock people out of the way and pull chairs out from under each other.  We got the young couple across from us to take our picture for posterity.

   When we finally did get to our table, the service was remarkably quick, the food was delicious, and we left full, contented, and renewed.  Getting into our car was another matter.  Those of you who have been to the Olive Garden in Pensacola know that it's built on a steep hill.  Our parking place was on a sideways incline, and if it had rained, it would probably have been washed downhill into the next county.  As it was, it was a struggle to get the doors opened and closed, what with gravity and gravy and such.
    Happy belated Valentine's Day!
Love'n stuff,
Sandy :)

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