Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Best Man Crabs

Yeah, he beat me to the punch. Dinner was nice.

Best Man and Godfather to our Oldest Child (with his wife and two daughters) met us in Gettysburg on Friday afternoon. Our wondrous tour guide pointed out Maryland about 87 times on the tour, and Best Man and Godfather lives there. He and the family piled into the RepublicanMobile and showed up at dinner time.

It was 96 degrees and we ate dessert first while we waited for the Republicans to do whatever Republicans do when they travel. The Saint and the kids had Italian Ice and I had Gelati, which I think was supposed to be Gelato. I'm not going to quibble. It was delicious.

We went to an Irish restaurant named after a famous New Yorker killed during the battle. The unanimous opinion was that nobody was eating outside, including in the shade, because even though it was nearing 6:00, it was still more than 90 degrees. Yes, we ate early. There were five children in the party of nine. They were hungry. We were being responsible parents until we ordered Sangria.

The Irish restaurant named after the dead New Yorker only had seats at the bar and in the smoking section. So we went to some other place up the street. They seated us after a wait of about fifteen minutes (which was very strange, since we were one of three parties in the restaurant at the time).

On the theory that anytime I'm in Maryland, I eat crab cakes, I ordered crab cakes. I may have mentioned that we were in Pennsylvania. I may also have mentioned that I could SEE Maryland. Therefore, constructively, I was in Maryland. I ordered crab cakes.

But the best part of dinner was the appetizer. Best Man and Godfather spoiled that, too. Bayside Fries. You know those Aussie Cheese Fries at the Outback? Fries with cheddar, bacon and a ranch sauce? Right. These were better. Fries with an Old Bay cheese sauce, lump crab meat and more cheese (a cheddar-jack blend).

Kinda wish said guide had been with us. She'd have put the Republican from Maryland in his place.

The Saint and Best Man and Godfather's Wife talked about... what women talk about. The kids bonded.

Best Man and Godfather and I temporarily abdicated our parental responsibilities. Sort of a 25th Amendment for drunken fathers.

Sample conversation:

Server: And to drink?
Adam: I'll have a glass of Sangria.
Server: Red or White?
Adam: Red [Honest, I didn't add "duhhhh." White Sangria? Not the same as red].
Server [to the Republican Infiltrator]: And for you, Sir?
Best Man and Godfather: Wanna make it a pitcher?
Adam: Duhhhh. Why the hell didn't I think of that?
Server: A pitcher of Red Sangria?
Adam and BMAG: Duhhhh.

Yeah, I made some of this up to make it sound better. Plus, it was (down to) 93 degrees and I was thirsty, and all I'd had to drink was some spectacular sangria. Three glasses. OK, OK, before you call me a lightweight, you need to know that BMAG's car could have fit inside the glass. BMAG drives a minivan.

I have no idea what the Saint ate. The kids each had some variation of chicken products. BMAG's wife had the same. BMAG had a steak. The potato salad I ate with my crab cakes was delicious, but not in the same league as the potato salad BMAG's wife makes. The crab cakes were close to perfect, almost no filler, totally fresh, just enough Old Bay, and right out of the Chesapeake. I finished it off with Sangria.

The inside joke here is that BMAG and I have an ongoing competition. It started in college. Right. It's an ancient tradition now. Instead of seeing which one of us can screw the other and avoid the check-- you know, getting up and heading for the john when the bill arrives, like normal people do?-- we fight over who gets to treat. Quaint and endearing, yes. We're wonderful people and no, you can't marry us.

So BMAG decides to perform... well, in honor of the world's best tour guide, let's call it a flanking maneuver...

BMAG pulls off a textbook, clandestine, "Make sure I get the bill" to the hostess.

The hostess dropped the ball. "I'll try to tell your server."

BMAG says, "Just make sure that the guy in the red shirt gets the bill." Easy, right? BMAG was wearing a red polo shirt. I was in blue Springsteen regalia.

I mean, I had no idea any of this was going on, and at this stage, we're still pre-Sangria.

We end up sitting at a round table, and it's absolutely no contest. The bill arrives. I'm 6'1"; BMAG is 6'4", but I've established position. He's boxed out (BMAG, the Saint and Elizabeth Krecker are the only ones still following the analogy, now that I've switched to hoops) and I outweigh BMAG by... way too much... Like I said. No contest. Three Sangrias and a full dinner and I still had the bill in my hand before the server even knew what the hell was happening.

I mean, Server to Hurtubise was like Bird to Walton in the low post in 1986, with BMAG playing the role of Ralph Samson. Like I said. No contest.

BMAG had a brilliant plan, but he failed to execute.

Serious aside: I was going to make a Gettysburg analogy about brilliant plans and failure to execute, but I learned that you don't joke about the Battle of Gettysburg. There's a sense of duty in that little town, a sense of reverence.

Here's what Lincoln said in the finest address ever delivered by anybody, anywhere:

"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced."
How does that relate to a sense of duty? People who live in Gettysburg... well, those who don't work at tourist traps... feel a profound sense of duty to share their knowledge, to teach visitors about the battle. To make sure we remember what happened fifty years before our grandparents were born. Four score and seven doesn't seem so long now, does it?

Our guide told us that it was a privilege to live in Gettysburg. That stuck with me. Our guide is carrying on the work Lincoln exhorted people to perform.

Trust me, it was a privilege to live in Cooperstown, too, but I don't get misty-eyed when I say it, because Cooperstown's about baseball (the best game in the world, yes, but a game). When our guide said it was a privilege to live in Gettysburg, I did, I confess, get misty-eyed. That's a place where the history of the world changed in 3 days.

We have now reached the end of my serious aside. No apologies, other than that this aside should have been its own post.

BMAG politely thanked me for picking up the tab, but you can see by his comment on my last post that he's still seething. Whoops. Sorry about that. OK, you're right. I'm not sorry about that, either. I promise I'll win next time, too, without cheating (and really, telling the hostess is cheating, especially if the ploy fails). It's like if A-Rod had tried to slap the ball away during the Choke of 2004. Oh, wait. That really happened.

I got the tab. The server was confused. So was the hostess. They both realized they were supposed to hand the bill to the guy with hair. Or the guy in the red shirt. Or whatever.

Before you whack me over the head with a cyber-plank, by the way, she was a hostess. She called herself a hostess and the sign said, "Our hostess will be pleased to seat you." I'm not being sexist, I'm being accurate.

And no, my fine readers, you are most assuredly NOT the only ones who think BMAG and I are nuts. BMAG's wife, the Saint and all 5 potential heirs to the realm (three of mine and two of BMAG's) agree with you.

Sangria, anyone?

Adam

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5 Comments:

Blogger Elizabeth said...

Endearing story. The Saint must be a fine woman to follow an analogy like that!

...and am I really that predictable? Jeez.

10:53 PM, July 19, 2006  
Anonymous Best Man and Godfather said...

Okay so he wants a cyber beating.

Republican-yes, a true believer in fact. As Adam has pointed out before, I make Ronald Reagan look liberal.

Sure, I drive a minivan. Its a practical vehicle for a family guy. But its a Pontiac, the manliest of all mini-vans. I know what you're thinking--its still a minivan. Well at least it has a nice tough manly name--Montana. (By the way, I seriously considered driving the car, yes, that car.)

Republicans in Maryland are somewhat like Republicans in Massachusetts. There aren't many of us and we can only safely move about under the cover of darkness. But once we had passed through the Brandenburg Gate, I mean crossed the Mason Dixon line on our way to Gettysburg it was all good.

And another thing, just because you can see Maryland doesn't mean that you are entitled to eat crab. We take our crab and other assorted Chesapeake Bay finery very seriously. You've got a friend in Pennsylvania, Maryland is for crabs--just ask the travel and tourism board.

Having defended Maryland’s pride, I will admit that the crab fries were tasty. Must have been smuggled across the border. And for the record, the Saint had a salad. I still to this day stand in awe that you remember my wife's potato (e) [in tribute the a great GOP VP] salad from like 10 years ago. I don't remember what I had for breakfast and that was just an hour or so ago.

So now we come to the bill. Its not cheating to tell the hostess. All is fair in love and war. This should have been so easy. As has been pointed out, I was wearing red--the color of the GOP--not to mention the only guy in the whole place with any red on at all. Like I said easy, right? The only further comment I have is that history is written by the victor and Adam won so he can spin the tale as he likes. But I will say that my fatal flaw was relying on troops unfamiliar in the ways of dinner warfare to execute for me. I can hear Adam now quoting George C. Scott as Patton while signing the check--"Rommel you magnificent bastard, I read your book!" In case you are unfamiliar with the movie, Patton uttered this backhanded compliment as he was kicking the crap out of Rommel. Rommel deployed his tanks against Patton exactly as described in Rommel’s tome “The Tank in Attack”. Patton, having studied Rommel, knew how to counter the strategy.

So yes, Adam got one on me. But I will live to fight another day. Like I said on the previous post, I'll be in Boston in about 3 weeks, lets find a Sangria joint.

10:04 AM, July 20, 2006  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

Republican-yes, a true believer in fact. As Adam has pointed out before, I make Ronald Reagan look liberal.

--Holy Craptastic, Batman! This is fun.

Sure, I drive a minivan.

--Yeah, for the record, so do I. I was referring to the size of the damned car, not its wussiness. But you should have brought THAT car. I've only ridden in it once.

Its a practical vehicle for a family guy. But its a Pontiac, the manliest of all mini-vans.

--Just like THAT car.

I know what you're thinking--its still a minivan. Well at least it has a nice tough manly name--Montana. (By the way, I seriously considered driving the car, yes, that car.)

--I don't care that it was a minivan. They're essential when you have kids. If it had been a Hyundai or a Yugo, you might have taken shit from me.

Republicans in Maryland are somewhat like Republicans in Massachusetts. There aren't many of us and we can only safely move about under the cover of darkness. But once we had passed through the Brandenburg Gate, I mean crossed the Mason Dixon line on our way to Gettysburg it was all good.

--Whatever, dude. I thought that Republicans are the ones who aren't afraid to move about under cover of darkness.

And another thing, just because you can see Maryland doesn't mean that you are entitled to eat crab.

--I did it, didn't I? Therefore, I was entitled.

We take our crab and other assorted Chesapeake Bay finery very seriously.

--Because it's Maryland's only contribution to American life, besides the Orioles, which Peter Angelos has managed to turn into a laughing stock. Oh, right... the Orioles and John Wilkes Booth. Thanks for that one, by the way. Real help there.

You've got a friend in Pennsylvania, Maryland is for crabs--just ask the travel and tourism board.

--I thought you represent the party of small government (except when government wants to intrude on personal liberties, then, hell, the bigger, the better).

Having defended Maryland’s pride, I will admit that the crab fries were tasty. Must have been smuggled across the border.

--They weren't smuggled. They were brought openly. I asked.

And for the record, the Saint had a salad.

--Shit. Glad one of us remembered.

I still to this day stand in awe that you remember my wife's potato (e) [in tribute the a great GOP VP] salad from like 10 years ago.

--Yeah, it was a masterpiece. You know, she said she forgot the hardboiled eggs, right? That's a good thing. I wouldn't have touched it with the eggs in it. Don't ever do your wife the disservice of mentioning her in the same allusion to that dumbass from Indiana.

I don't remember what I had for breakfast and that was just an hour or so ago.

--Most days, you can't remember your own name, so I'm not surprised you can't remember what you had for breakfast. Talk to the Saint. She knows I remember every great meal I've ever had. I can tell you what I ate in each course.

--Take, for instance, the evening I ate your wife's potato salad: I had about a quart of potato salad, a leftover hamburger, and four bourbons.

So now we come to the bill. Its not cheating to tell the hostess.

--It's cheating if you resort to involving others and you still lose. It's not cheating if you do it and win.

All is fair in love and war. This should have been so easy.

--Right. Should have been. It was pretty easy for me. Wasn't even a contest.

As has been pointed out, I was wearing red--the color of the GOP--not to mention the only guy in the whole place with any red on at all.

--That's what makes this priceless. I mean: "Give the bill to the guy in the red shirt," and nobody else in the entire town of Gettysburg is wearing red... and I still came away from the table victorious.

Like I said easy, right? The only further comment I have is that history is written by the victor and Adam won so he can spin the tale as he likes.

--It's also my blog, so if spin doesn't work, I'll just make shit up.

But I will say that my fatal flaw was relying on troops unfamiliar in the ways of dinner warfare to execute for me.

--Well, yeah. You always told me that if you want it done right, you need to do it yourself. How come I followed your rule and you didn't? And then, you know, you blamed the troops.

I can hear Adam now quoting George C. Scott as Patton while signing the check--"Rommel you magnificent bastard, I read your book!"

--Good one there. I concede that point. Go onto a writer's blog and start talking about a book, you win the point.

In case you are unfamiliar with the movie, Patton uttered this backhanded compliment as he was kicking the crap out of Rommel. Rommel deployed his tanks against Patton exactly as described in Rommel’s tome “The Tank in Attack”. Patton, having studied Rommel, knew how to counter the strategy.

--Triple bonus points for actually naming the book.

So yes, Adam got one on me. But I will live to fight another day. Like I said on the previous post, I'll be in Boston in about 3 weeks, lets find a Sangria joint.

--Way, way ahead of you there, although Blueberry Margaritas might be better.

11:18 AM, July 20, 2006  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I think it's a funny story.

5:25 PM, July 24, 2006  
Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

But what about tonight's entry, Mindy?

8:24 PM, July 24, 2006  

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