Are You Trying To Make My Baby Cry?
Annie and I fled the mountain for the more temperate climate of Eureka yesterday. The temperature on the ridge the past few nights has been hovering around twenty degrees, only warming up to the mid-thirties during the day, not even enough to unfreeze the pipes. Though it is raining here in Eureka, we have managed to make our way to the mall, where the only snow we see has Santa in the same picture, and the temperature hovers around 72 degrees.
The “official” reason we are up here is because we are celebrating our thirty-first anniversary, an annual pilgrimage that we first started back around 1985. North has always been the direction-of-choice for us, the pace down south in Santa Rosa being prohibitively fast for a couple of mountain folk. Humboldt County over Sonoma County any day of the week, as far as the mellower pace of life is concerned.
Our itinerary rarely varies and includes Christmas shopping, strolling the streets of Old Town, and dining in our favorite restaurants. It’s early enough in the Season that there are no crowds, and there’s the double bonus of avoiding the extreme weather conditions on the ridge. We plan on having the big anniversary dinner at Seamus T. Bones tonight, but last night, because it is right next to our dive of a motel, we ate at Appleby’s.
Yes indeed, no holding back when it comes to classy eateries. We originally set aside our misgivings about Appleby’s simply because of the convenience of being able to mosey right next door; plus, they have a bar. It’s run by a gal named Kelsey, who asks her patrons their names once, and then remembers them. Oh yeah, she serves a mean Jamie on ice.
So when we were escorted to our table by Garrett, who congratulated us on our anniversary, we were feeling downright comfortable. We’d perused the menu while sipping our libations, Annie nursing her cabernet, I my Irish whiskey, so we had our entrees selected by the time Sally arrived to take our orders. All was well in Paradise.
While luxuriating in the glow (regardless of whether induced by marital bliss or the alcohol) we watched a table for about a dozen people start to fill up, half with adults and the other half with kids, the oldest being probably five years old or so. And no, they were not noisy or obstreperous in any form. They were very well behaved, and we would not even have noticed them, except for the youngest child of all, a little blonde-haired boy, no more than eighteen or twenty months old.
This tiny tot was at the head of the table, a man to his right, around the corner of the table, and a woman similarly positioned to his left. The two adults were engaged in deep conversation, one monopolized by the man. His voice seemed to blend into the hum of the restaurant, becoming synonymous with the drone of the television.
The little guy started off complacently enough, but after five or ten minutes, began to fidget and fuss, seeking some attention. Mom and Dad were oblivious. The little tyke began squirming, and the volume went up a notch. It was as though he were sending out signals, but the transmitter was not receiving. Annie and I became gradually aware of his antics and turned our gazes in his direction.
He was just the cutest little guy and he really was not being a jerk-he just wanted someone to look at him, maybe get him a cracker or some juice, but no one was paying him any heed-except me and Annie. When he became aware that we were sitting to one side, apparently more than happy to give him our undivided attention, he paused. He looked at us; he looked away. He looked back and repeated this series several times. His face flitted through a series of expressions, from surprise, to puzzlement, and then rapidly through interest, amusement, uncertainty, delight and acceptance. He was ominously quiet.
When his mom suddenly remembered that she had a child and turned to him, the little guy seemed startled and burst out wailing. Simultaneously, she became aware of Annie’s and my existence, took in our beaming countenances, and asked us the most astonishing question, “Are you trying to make my baby cry?”
We were still chortling over the whole incident a few minutes later, as we got up to go. Mom and Dad were once again engaged in their mesmerizing conversation. As we passed the little guy, his arm slowly rose and he waved it once, before allowing it to once again settle down on his lap.
Good luck with that little dude.