Adventures of a Father’s Day lunch

By Ernie Williamson

The Bulletin


Father’s Day was all set.


We would meet my daughter’s family at the restaurant at noon.


I hadn’t picked the restaurant because of the food. I chose it because it wasn’t as noisy as other restaurants, and I might actually hear what my daughter and granddaughters said.


I wouldn’t need to pretend with my usual nods and smiles.


I had chosen the noon hour because I knew my son-in-law wanted to see the final round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship on TV later in the day. After all, it was his day, too. And, truthfully, I wouldn’t mind seeing the golf show, either.


So, it was all arranged.


Before Kelly and I left the house, I took inventory. Glasses, check. Phone, check. Mask, check. Car keys, check. Medicine, check.


Growing old with a disability in the age of Covid requires organization.


As we neared the restaurant, I had a surge of panic. I quickly reached for my right ear.


Nothing. Of all things, I had forgotten my new hearing aids.


Do I turn around and get my hearing aids and have family time cut short or just nod and smile my way through lunch?


I decided on the nod and smile route.


Next, upon arrival at the restaurant, my wife jumped out of the car and rushed to get a table.


As she did, something fell out of the passenger door pocket.


It was a cup of baked potato casserole. Let me explain.


I had ordered dinner out the night before and picked up my order at the drive-thru. When I got home, I realized the casserole side order I had paid for wasn’t in the bag.


Not knowing that the casserole had fallen out of the bag and into the door pocket when I tossed the bag onto the passenger seat, I cursed the incompetence of the restaurant’s employees.


Now, after 16 hours in a hot car, the potato casserole was certainly baked.


I joined the group in the waiting area. I didn’t mention the casserole.


Soon, Kelly tapped my shoulder. She was having trouble with her contacts and excused herself. She disappeared for a while and was laughing when she reappeared.


“I had my contacts in the wrong eyes,” she said. “I never do that.”


By the time we got to our table, Kelly could see, but I was nodding and smiling like crazy.


It was too bad I couldn’t hear because there was ample time for conversation. The restaurant, like many restaurants in the country, was having trouble finding employees and wasn’t prepared for Father’s Day.


It took an hour to get our food.


I certainly had enough time to catch up on my granddaughters’ activities. If only I could have heard.


When we got home, I remembered to throw away the well-baked casserole and settled in for a peaceful afternoon of golf, which, by this time, had already started.


It wasn’t to be.


I wanted to call my daughter and thank her for lunch but, in keeping with the day’s events, I couldn’t find my phone.


What else could go wrong, I thought.


I finally found the phone in my accessible van. It had fallen out of my pocket when transferring from the driver’s seat to my wheelchair.


I tried calling my daughter, but a warning flashed on the screen: “Temperature. iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it.”


A baked casserole and a baked iPhone. Such is life in 2022.


It had been a day where not much had gone right except I was able to spend time with my daughter and the grandkids.


It was a perfect Father’s Day.


(Contact Ernie at williamsonernie@gmail.com. Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)