For her anniversary one year, Mom converted our house into an Italian restaurant. She cooked up a couple of Italian entrees, several sides, and two desserts. She moved the table into the living room where they couldn’t see into the kitchen and set it with the china. All of the furniture was pushed into another room to leave room for a dance floor. Mood music and candles completed the setting.
Then it was our turn. All six of us kids scrubbed up and dressed in our nicest clothes. Cindy was the youngest who was able to help in our little plot, so she was the look-out. When she saw Dad pull up in the driveway, she yelled out and let us all know, so we could be in our places. Then she got the baby (age three, so he could walk) and greeted Dad at the door, telling him how pleased she was to see him and that his date was already here and waiting for him.
They took each of his hands and seated him, and gave them menus that Mom had drawn up.
My oldest brother, Greg, was the waiter. He brought them a basket of rolls, poured their drinks for them, and took their order. (Dad ordered everything. Cute, huh?) Greg checked off boxes on a form Mom had made for each of them, and took it back into the kitchen.
Mike and I were in there keeping food warm, and we dished up their plates. Then Greg took them back out and gave them a “Bon appetite!” He went back a couple of times to fill their drinks and give them the dessert menu.
Jon was the lucky one chosen to carry their dessert and the “bill” out to them. Once he was done with that, we were finished. We had toys outside in the garage, and we all went out there and played until Mom came and told us to come in. Meanwhile, they danced to the music and spent some much-needed alone time.
Now the cute part. Mom paid us! She left the money for dinner on the table, but it was “favor dollars.” The little paper slips were drawn up to look like money and had “Good for One Free Bedroom Cleaning” or some other reward. She even left a tip for Greg, since he’d done such a wonderful job.
Dad LOVED it, and we all thought it was great being part of the game.
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