A Simple Drink with Friends

Before my wife and I had kids of our own, I worked with other people’s kids in our church’s kids programs.  My program was not of the crowd-control quality – frankly because there was very little control to be seen.  We made noise. We visited a local rest home once a month to love on a room full of mostly neglected old folks. We had fun!

While doing this work, we became close friends with a couple and their small herd of 3 kiddos.  We enjoyed hanging with them, but life changes.  Jobs change, people move and soon our friends moved across the country.  We didn’t really lose touch, but we missed each other.

One day, my manager at work told me he needed me on the other side of the country for a couple of weeks so I pulled out my atlas and sure enough, it was close enough to the city our friends had moved to so I’d be able to visit them.

I called them up and, being the great folks they are, they insisted I come and stay with them. This was going to be great!

I realized that this was going to complicate my expense report because I would not have a hotel bill, so I asked my manager how I should handle it.  “Easy,” he answered.  “You stay with them and every night – take the whole family out to a nice dinner.  You will be saving the company money. ” Cool

So we did. Each morning I got up and drove to our local office to earn my keep then drove back to our friend’s home.  The husband and I hung out, kept the kids from killing themselves or breaching the insurance deductible for property damage until the wife got home from her job.  Then we found some great place for dinner.

One evening, the wife had to work extra late.  So we were all extra ready for food by the time we picked her up and hustled off to the nearest restaurant we could find.  She was still in her office clothes and was anxious to change so as soon as we had sat down and ordered our drinks, she shot off to the bathroom.  She and I both ordered ice tea.  In those days, none of us were drinking alcohol.

The husband was sitting straight across the table from me, his wife, when she returned was going to be on my right.  All the kids were seated to my left.  Make sure you have that layout in mind because it’s important.  The husband and I resumed our banter and laughing about stuff, razzing the kids about whatever and just enjoying being together.

Our waitress returned in just a few moments with our drinks and we passed them around to the kids from our end of the table, still laughing about stuff.  I recall noticing that the wife’s ice tea looked different than mine, but dismissed it as just being from a different pitcher.

The kids carrying on about what they were going to order.  By this time the novelty of being in a different restaurant each night was wearing thin for them and we began talking about just going back to some of our favorites. One of the kids was lobbying for a simple mac and cheese night.

Sometime in the middle of this lively discussion, the wife arrived back, complaining about how hungry and thirsty she was because she’d had nothing since lunch.  She sat down, stashed her purse and clothing bag and quickly grabbed her drink and took a huge drink from the straw – and exploded.

I’m talking about an Exorcist-style, projectile spew of fluid that blasted across the table and arced up and over the condiments tray, spreading as fluids-in-flight commonly do to make a bent cone of soaking drink that showered down on all the kids – and YES, completely missed both her husband and me.

As the pressure subsided,  her husband and I regained some ability to react and both of us turned to looked at her.  What just happened?  She was recovering and trying not to gag on the residue of something left in her mouth.

In unison, we then turned to survey the carnage on the children.  All three of them were in shock  and so soaked in light brown fluid that their shirts were clinging and there were amber colored drops hanging from the end of their noses.

Together, we both turned back to his wife who was just seconds away from being able to speak again and finally coughed out, “WHAT was that?!”  Still holding that drink she was now scrutinizing it.

sick womanThe waitress happened to be close by and hurried over to render aid. Her manager was not far behind.  She answered the wife’s question politely, “It was the Long Island Ice Tea you ordered.”  The wife’s expression was like mine.  Neither of us had any idea what was so special about Long Island ice tea.  Her husband though, understood and burst out laughing.

His wife was NOT in a laughing mood and I was just confused.  The waitress had this profound “oh no!” look. The kids were still trying to figure out why their own mother had spit  a mouthful of smelly something all over them – oh and why did the whole area suddenly smell like a bar?

Long island ice teaI asked the husband what the heck was in her drink and his answer clarified the situation fully.  “Gary, there is no tea in a Long Island ice tea.  It has rum, vodka, gin, tequila, triple sec and few other ingredients for flavor or coloring.”  His wife’s eyes kept getting larger with each type of alcohol he mentioned. “And I’m pretty sure that was her first-ever taste of booze.”

This, of course, left me with a terrible dilemma of trying not to laugh at a good friend who was not having a good memory moment.  I thought of, but decided not to joke about her baptism by booze.

Nope – I best let this opportunity settle for a few years before she’d be ready for that quip.

She turned to the waitress, who was now trying to shrink out of existence and said, “I {cough} ordered a normal ice tea.”  The manager stepped in and apologized for the misunderstanding . He produced several clean towels and did what he could to make things right.  Too bad  this was not the type of restaurant that had tea shirts he could give the kids.  It was an honest mistake but if we’d been stopped by the highway patrol on the way home, there would have been some humorous, assertions of who was the designated driver for this cloud of alcohol-soaked children.

We still recall that one dinner above all others and that wife, after a good meal and a real normal ice tea, her sense of humor returned and we can still pull a smile from the mere mention of that previously little known drink.

I also still harbor the thought that elsewhere in the restaurant that night was a guy, mostly likely served by the same waitress, who was far enough gone that he did not realize how watered down his Long Island ice tea was.


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Gary photo n bio

5 thoughts on “A Simple Drink with Friends”

    1. I’ll bet you are correct Tammy. I’m not much of a drinker, even now, and I’ve never ordered one and had to look up what their made of. This was one very funny evening though. Thanks for giving it a read.
      Blessings.

      Like

  1. Great story and very funny. I have only sipped someone else’s Long Island Ice tea and yes, I wanted to spit it out! YUCK! I don’t drink, I mean I’ve had a little wine here and there…. I can totally relate. Thanks for sharing! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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Autobiographical fun in 10 minutes or less

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