As soon as the Buffalo Wings were placed in front of Elsie, our server gave her another warning about the heat. She then glanced at Elsie’s half-empty glass and promised to be right back with another Diet Coke for her. She returned in no time. You’d have thought she was getting the bucket brigade started for a house fire. In a way, she was. Everyone else’s needs could wait, because she had food triage to do here and that meant keeping the beverage vessel topped off for our power-eater.
The only downside to the whole affair was that the whole menu had enough natural lubrication to it that my hands were always slippery. Only one or two photos turned out well enough to publish. The rest were kind of blurry as my sauce-and-grease-soaked fingers fumbled with my phone. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that the best photos of my parents need to be snagged in as sneaky a fashion as possible. Taking the time to wet-nap and dry my hands meant they’d see what was going on and not play ball for a photo. I did manage to snag one shot right as the plate of wings was set in front of Elsie. From now on, I may ask for a rosin bag when we sit down.
All through the meal, our server kept stopping by to check on us. She always came to the end where Elsie was seated and looked in on her first. I think she was amazed that Mom had no problem with the wings. In fact, she was enjoying them immensely! The Diet Cokes kept making their way to that end of the table with surprising regularity. No puffs of steam or smoke were coming from Mom’s ears, but you could tell she was starting to bead up as she worked her way through the pile of wings. If you break a sweat when you eat, that’s always a good sign in my book.
When it was all said and done, our server got us a couple of boxes for some leftovers. The wings were gone. She put her arm around Elsie and congratulated her on her accomplishment. “We rarely get anyone who can eat that many before they give up because they’re so hot.”
Hey, listen, doggy bags are for wimps and to-go orders!
The rest of the group headed out the door for the RV while I paid the tab. I told the server that we were here on a trip for my folks’ 60thanniversary. She was stunned, to put it mildly, so I tossed out Elsie’s age.
“Seriously? Boy, I wasn’t sure she’d be able to handle it. We almost never have anyone make it through those wings, but she was a trooper. If I’d have known it was their anniversary, I would have given them a cupcake or something to celebrate. She is somethin’!”
No argument here. My next goal is to introduce Elsie to Guy Fieri. Oh, and Joey Chestnut, too. We’ve got heat down. Now we need to work on volume and speed!
Jeff Ryan is Guy No. 2 in the operation of Two Guys Farming, Inc., near Cresco, IA.
Jeff farms during the day, but in the evening he e-mails his observations about life on the farm to his city-dwelling friends. He weaves these observations into entertaining stories that are sure to bring recognition, sometimes tears, but mostly a few smiles and outright belly laughs.