A kind of a weird thing happened the other day at Applebee’s. Maybe others have had this same experience. You walk in, and the hostess enthusiastically asks what the occasion is. Then, once seated, the waitress asks the same thing. This actually first happened to us about a month or so ago. “So what’s the occasion tonight?” asked the hostess. “So what’s the big occasion tonight?” asked the waitress. In either case, we didn’t really know what to say. “Dinner?”
This strikes me as a bit strange because…well…it’s Applebee’s. It’s like the McDonald’s of payday. Does it require an occasion?
It’s actually a bit lofty on their part, if you think about it. You’ve come into our easily-visible-from-the-freeway restaurant chain with its strategically placed ambience and colorful food (and too often balloons). Surely some monumental and discussion-worthy event has occurred in your life.
So as we were crossing the parking lot on the way in to Applebee’s two nights ago, I thought about asking Liz, “Hey, remember when they kept asking us what the occasion was for coming to Applebee’s?” But she beat me to it. And when we got inside, it happened again. “So what’s the occasion?” But this time Liz was prepared. “Someone died,” she responded. There were no follow up questions.
As awesome as this was, someone actually had died. Two people. Monday before last, Liz’s great aunt, Marian, passed away; that Friday, my grandmother, Genevieve, did the same. While it’s nothing like losing someone to tragedy—both lived long and fulfilled lives—it’s still a heckuva shock when it happens.
At my grandmother’s funeral service last Thursday, I had the honor of delivering her eulogy. It wasn’t easy; in fact, I dreaded it for a day or two prior. But I’m glad I did it.
In the eulogy, there was a part where I talked about all the time my grandmother and I spent driving around Lodi. How she’d drive me everywhere. How I’d walk from school to where she was working and wait for her to get off and then we’d drive around town running errands and eventually drive home. I also commented on the irony of the period, many years later, when I drove her everywhere.
Today, we took one more drive through Lodi together. I picked her up, and we drove home.
By the way, when you walk into a funeral home, no one asks you what the occasion is. They just sort of stare at you, assessing how likely you are to flop onto their floor and begin wailing.