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Friday, February 8, 2013

Kids in restaurants.

On Wednesday night we took Padraic out to dinner to celebrate his eighteenth birthday. 

Before entering the Hog’s Breath restaurant; just like a high school teacher at the classroom door, I confiscated everyone’s mobile phone. 

When we sat at the table I had to stop myself from vigilantly collecting all the steak knives like I had to do in the good old days. Mind you, Hagar annoyed me by brandishing his knife around with his usual restless fidgeting all night.

I reflected on the awkward and trying incidents that had occurred at bygone meals eaten out as a family.When they were all under twelve years old they were reasonably well-mannered when dining out.

There was one mortifying time when I had to chip Jonah for gesturing in the air and whistling loudly for the waitress. 

It was also a bit embarrassing the time Thaddeus politely asked the waitress, 

“Excuse me but could you please direct me to the urinal?”

Dragging the kids around on holidays had meant a lot of eating in restaurants. The five of them loved travelling around the United Kingdom because back then a full buffet breakfast was included in the room rate. 

They didn’t have a very good mother. She wouldn’t dream of cooking a hot breakfast at home, so they savoured the bacon, eggs and sausages on the menu. 

At Stratford upon Avon we had stayed in a very posh and expensive motel that we were able to secure at half price. We had driven around for hours looking for a motel that could accommodate seven people and didn’t find this place until midnight. 

After a sleepless night, the Beverley Hillbillies, their father and I filed into the pristine dining room the next morning for breakfast. 

It was a vision of loveliness. 

White linen tablecloths, white vases with red roses and silver cutlery adorned the spotless tables. The other aristocratic guests were seated and speaking in hushed tones. 

Seven year old Hagar was in a particularly foul frame of mind and refused to eat anything. We usually skipped lunch after such a big breakfast and I needed him to eat so he wouldn’t be wailing for food later on.

I tried tempting him with as many small morsels as possible. 

Meanwhile, his grousing and petulance attracted haughty and hostile glares from our fellow blue-blooded diners. 

Just as we were leaving Hagar gave a God almighty heave. He puked all over the table, the fine carpet and a couple of the Jacobian chairs. 


His father (notorious for his thrifty ways) promised me that he left a hefty tip. I don’t know for sure if he did or not because I didn’t hang around.