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Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
Lebanon, Tennessee

Yeah, I know the Mug Shot is supposed to be the last marriage week reveal. What is this Lebanon, Tennessee stuff? Hehe...The Cracker Barrel restaurants corporate office in in Lebanon, Tennessee!

Cracker Barrel has got to be one of my favorite family restaurants of all time, if not THE favorite! What started as a direct mail ad for what looked like “just another chain restaurant” when Mom and I were planning my first trip South in 1989, became: an awesome place to eat after a long fall drive in the gorgeous Kentucky river area; an oasis in the dark after an all-day, often lost drive in Alabama; worth 2 hours wait when the first one opened in Michigan; worth the drive; a treat for Grandma; the best pre-Shakespeare breakfast around; Scotty is full, really?; Elizabethtown has the best corn bread of all the CBs; Merry Christmas; I can’t believe the ice, can you recommend a hotel?; Mary! The ring is gorgeous!; dinner between work and school - only one semester left; he couldn’t stop talking about himself, at least it was great food!; Jessica, it’s awesome to meet you in person; breakfast with Tori and Rina before the Big Pig Gig; Heather, he’s great, ask Tracy!; David, meet my friend; SURPRISE!!!!!!.....

Okay, that's my short history of Cracker Barrel. What many have tuned into The Chronicles for today is the story about the LAST time I was at Cracker Barrel!

The original plan for New Years Eve was two rooms and someone bring one more card table for at least 8 for the night of games and friendship to bring in 2009. Of course, after freezing rain made it impossible for us to tell everyone about the wedding at UNO, since it didn’t happen on the 19th, New Years Eve was planned to be when we told the rest of our friends about it.

I had sent out an email to everyone looking for a final count and to see who’d make it for dinner before we left for Dayton. When I got home, I had email from Rich. He was working at 3 AM on New Years Day and wouldn’t make it. He thought Jackie was working until 9 PM on the eve and then in the morning on the day and might not make it either. Then a call from Heather. There was nasty snow in the forecast and she wasn't sure. John said he’d be there for dinner and games, but he wasn’t staying all night. MaryA would be with her ne beau out of town, Sheri said it depended on work on NYE and Scotty said he couldn’t. Can you believe it? The last big reveal we had planned and people bowing out?? :(

By Monday afternoon, we’d sorted things out. I reduced the reservation to one room and Sheri, John Heather and Jackie were meeting us at Cracker Barrel for dinner. I tried and tried to beg Scotty and Rich to come just for dinner, but no- luck, even with the promise that it was a nice “surprise” I had for everyone. I even unsuccessfully tried begging Scott two more times on New Years EVe!

So New Years Eve came. David worked during the da. We knew we’d probably be a little late for 6:30 in Monroe, but with the usual wait at Cracker Barrel and the tendency for everyone, especially if coming form work, to run a little late, we figured it would be okay. I kinda wanted to be the last ones there anyway!

When we got there, John came out to the store part of the restaurant yo let us know they’d just been seated. Sheri and Jackie were there and Heather was...Heather was pulling into the parking lot! It worked out well! Heather came in an grabbed the last chair while I was taking off my glove and telling everyone I had the “surprise.” Note that I took off my glove - just the right one!

I had the marriage announcement that was here on the blog a couple days ago printed into 4X6 announcements. We are planning to print more to mail to the relatives, really! I shuffled through the stack, as if there were different cards facing me. I placed one face down in front of everyone, telling them not to flip them over until everybody has theirs. When they were passed around the table, I said, “Okay, flip them over.” David and I cheered, “SURPRISE!”

I took off my left glove and we both sat down. Comments ranged from “Oh my God, really?” to “So when are you really getting married?” We assured them that we were really married already There was congratulating and Sheri called her Dad. “Say ‘hi’ to Dad and tell him!” Our poor waitress kept coming back to see if we were ready, if I had even opened the menu yet! Oh eventually I did, even read it and ordered the shrimp dinner!

Everyone wanted the whole rundown, you know the one that it’s taken three days to fill you all in on? “How did Dad react, you really hadn’t even told him?” Heather couldn’t believe that we had spoken on the phone a few times since the 23rd and I kept quiet. I told her that the phone was for anyone I wasn’t going to see in person. John asked if Scott knew. Well, I was really trying to get Scotty to be there, so, no, Scott did NOT know! John instructed that I HAD to call Scotty.

I called Scott. I told him the surprise had been revealed and as to what it was, listen to the message from the table. I held out the phone and everyone announced “YOU WON!”

About 20 years ago, Scotty, JeffT and I were having a conversation about relationships and commitments. We agreed that we never wanted to get married. That kind of tying down was just not for us. We teased each other about who would be first, each of us insisting, “not me!” We entered into a friendly bet of who’d be last. No money or anything, just the pride of being the winner of a bet we thought would never be one. Maybe one of us would weasel out, but more than likely we’d all be single forever.

I have a photograph from 1999 of Scott and me high fiving each other over Jeff’s head. He was in his wedding day tux! The caption of that photo is “One down, one to go!” On that day, Jeff smiled and said, “I’m pretty happy to be a loser. I got Jeanne!” A little over nine years later, I have to say, “I’m a pretty happy loser, too. I got David!”

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