Every year around mid-April I take my mom out for her birthday dinner. This year it was her turn to pick the restaurant, which always scares me.
We have totally different taste in restaurants. I like smaller ones that are more intimate and she likes large chain ones. Her choice for this year was Cracker Barrel in Tri-County. At least it wasn't Golden Corral again.
When we arrived at Cracker Barrel at 7 p.m. on the Saturday night before Easter, I was expecting to see people lined up around the building waiting for a table. I was surprised that we had absolutely no wait whatsoever until I realized the median age of the diners that evening must have been 65. I guess their Saturday rush starts at 4 p.m. and is over by 6.
Normally when I go out to dinner with friends, I talk non-stop about everything under the sun. When I go out to dinner with my mom, however, the tables are totally turned.
I just sit there for hours on end nodding and waiting for her to put food in her mouth so I can get a word in every so often.
This diner was no different. My mom ordered the Chicken Tenderloins dinner and I ordered the Fried Catfish dinner. As soon as our cute but way too young for me waitress left our table, my mom began her oral tirade.
The main topic my mom wanted to discuss with me was how to keep from getting arrested in Cincinnati. It was basically a way she could inform me about the things she learned while sitting on grand jury duty for the past three weeks. Since she couldn't give me specifics about any case, she just sort of listed them out in no particular order throughout the dinner.
5. Don't hang out on Short Vine.
4. Always wear your seat belt. Cops can use that as an excuse to pull you over.
3. Never rent a "Crack Car."
2. Never hide marijuana in peanut butter. (If you're arrested, the police will include the weight of the peanut butter in the amount of drugs.)
I was stunned that my mom actually taught me a couple things about crime I didn't know. I had no idea what a "Crack Car" was until then. By the way, it's a car that a crack user steals and then rents out to friends for maybe $10 a day for crack.
Right when we were getting ready to pay our bill, my mom uttered a phrase that left me stunned but was also the evening's No. 1 piece of advice.
"Oh, by the way, never put crack up your ass," she actually said, "because the cops will have to take you to the hospital to get it out."
This coming from the person whose idea of a sex education talk with her son was to get a bunch of pamphlets and shove them underneath my bedroom door.
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