Do you have someone in your life who would do anything for you? No, I am not thinking of that awful song from the early nineties by a dude who called himself Meatloaf of all possible names. I am referring to that old saying, “they would give you the shirt off their back.” In my life, I have two such people, both of whom are connected to me genetically.
This evening, I went for dinner with my parents in Lowell. We spoke of Lowell things as we drove to one of our favorite downtown restaurants.
“A few hundred feet from where we are right now, a person was stabbed the other day,” I chirped from the back seat.
Probably not on the list of things a parent wants to hear from their progeny, but a good conversation starter nonetheless.
“It’s ok,” I assured them. “It was a domestic disturbance.” I meant that it was one degree less sketchy since the people at least knew each other, though my coworker told me the other day that the woman couldn’t remember the man’s last name. Apparently, they had only dated for a few months.
We tried one restaurant first, but they had reservations and seemed to have such a limited supply of chairs that they could not add a third to a two-person table.
No sweat. Lowell has a most remarkable selection of restaurants for such a small city, a taste bud indicator of the many cultures that have shaped this place over time.
My dad suggested Indian (he LOVES the Southeast Asian place Udupi Bhavan down Pawtucket Boulevard).
“You know my stomach can’t handle Indian food,” my mom said. “Fine. We can go there, and I will just eat bread.”
No, no. I called out from the back. “I don’t want Indian either. How about Middleastern food?”
What difficult lives we lead. What amazing food will be enjoyed tonight? Most of the rural areas I have lived have boasted multiple greasy spoons from which to choose. In Alaska, I got lucky. The Homeshore Café had the best pizza I have ever had, no competition.
We finally decided on the Iraqi place on Merrimack Street, only a few feet from our previous attempt. Good choice. There was no wine menu, and I do like my evening glass of wine. On all other accounts, there was great ambience and food. I felt like I was sitting in a restaurant in a foreign land. And a plus was the adorable baby the owner’s daughter brought in, which he picked up and walked around with to show all the folks in the restaurant.
“My, what big, brown eyes you have.” And did he ever.
I rarely get dessert. The owner told us he was the only restaurant to make this particular combination of filo dough with custard filling, so we went for it. I did not regret it.
On the way to the restaurant, my mom and I chatted. She explained her most recent yarn color and texture finds. Over dinner, I learned of a few more possibilities for future comfort.
A number of years ago, my mom took up knitting with a vengeance, and my friends and I have been kept quite warm and stylish ever since. I inherit a cowl or a scarf just about every time we cross paths, and tonight after dinner she insisted on giving me the scarf she was wearing. She literally gave me a scarf that was big and long enough to be the shirt off her back.
When I was little, I think I just assumed that parents were this way. Sure, we argue and drive each other a bit batty, but my parents would do anything for me. Of that, I have no doubt.