Dining Out

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Perhaps considering my next order?

Dining Out

I do not remember the first time I ate out at a restaurant, but I have heard a story over and over about the first time I ordered for myself.   I couldn’t have been over two years old when my folks took me out to a movie and then to Mac’s cafe for a drink and a visit with town folks afterwards.  We lived in a town of seven hundred people in the middle of the South Dakota prairie.  Our sole entertainment, other than church and school ballgames, was the Saturday or Sunday night picture show in the small theater on Main Street.  It was the social event of the week, and visiting with friends afterwards at Mac’s Cafe across the street from the theater was as much a part of the evening as the movie.

Later, in college, one of my best friends was the granddaughter of the man who owned the theater and she revealed to me that it never had made a profit.  He just kept it running to give the folks in the town where his wife had taught school as a young woman something to do.

Probably 200 of the 700 citizens of our town were members of a pentecostal church who didn’t believe in dancing, movies,  or even TV, so at twenty-five cents per ticket, I’m sure if everyone in town had gone to a show one time a week, it still would not have paid the overhead, so we should have figured that out long ago, but we hadn’t thought of it––at least no one in my family ever did.

I had two older sisters, so if I was two when this story happened, one must have been about six and the other would have been thirteen.  They ordered Cokes.  My folks ordered coffee, and when it came to me, I responded in the only way I knew to respond in a restaurant.  “Amgooboo an tabey dabey!” I ordered.

The waitress looked puzzled.  “She said hamburger and potatoes and gravy,” said my father, deadpan.  The waitress looked at my mother.  If that was what I wanted at ten o’clock at night, my mother was all for it.  The waitress left and my family struggled to keep straight faces but it just didn’t work.  They all exploded in laughter, which was fine with me.  I’d been entertaining them for as long as I could remember–and I think perhaps I still am to this day!


The Prompt: Tell about the first time you ever ate out in a restaurant.

18 thoughts on “Dining Out

  1. Pingback: A New Monthly Challenge:Times Past | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  2. prior2001

    Such a nice memory – and how nice of the owner to not be based on profit – I know that is not always possible to do – but hearing about times like that is completely inspirational –

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      I don’t know if you ever met my folks. Did you? They were good-natured and fun. Their whole lives were pretty much their family until I went to college. Then they moved to AZ and golfed, danced, traveled and had their own life. They loved it!!! Daddy only lived for 9 more years and for 4 of those he had a very bad heart, but I think he enjoyed life until the end.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      And he never even lived there! His wife had. He had a large very prosperous hotel in one of the largest cities in SD whereas my town was one of the smallest. I never would have known this if I hadn’t met his granddaughter in college–in another state!

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  3. jeanne229

    Enjoyed your piece Judy! My parents were both from North Dakota. My siblings and I still go up when we can, though the town where my dad was born is crumbling into the prairie now. Simple times compared to now….though they certainly had their challenges!

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  4. Pingback: Times Past: Prompt 2 Women’s Work? | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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