Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mom and Dad's is Just Like Home

     It's seven p.m. I am nearly comatose on the sofa, drifting in and out between pings from my electronic games of Scrabble, my newest iphone addiction, borne out of necessity since no one in my family will play me in my favorite board game anymore. So I console myself by playing total strangers, people identified only by their number. It's what 57-year old-women do for fun when they are home alone in the evening.
    The phone rings. No preface. "Mom, where do I turn?" Don't you just love being the personal navigator for your children, no matter where they are? 
    "Where are you?" I ask. I deem this to be pertinent question.
    "On the way to Mom and Dad's," comes the impertinent reply.
    I am not a mind reader, you know. Nonetheless, I am instantly transported. I immediately begin to salivate. I can smell the spaghetti a la bruzi as it wends its way to me. Oh and the tiramisu. I already dream about the tiramisu. It doesn't take much prodding here. My hips and belly are already expanding in anticipation.
    "I am already at the Twin Lakes Supermarket," she tells me.
     You are headed in the wrong direction," I tell her. "Turn around and go the other way."
    "But that is not the way to BaBa's," she has the audacity to tell me.
    "No," I patiently reply. "Mom and Dad's is NOT on the way to BaBa's."
    "Oh," she says. Noise in the background from the hubbub of various female voices. "I see the sign."
    We are 435 miles apart, but I know just where The Daughter is. I can see the humble sign and the gravel parking lot. I know that she is going to walk with her friends into the low-ceilinged entry and join the crowd of people waiting to be seated. She will give her name to Carolyn the owner and the odds are pretty good that she will have the other Carolyn, my favorite waitress, to help her and her friends decide just what to eat. I have already reminded them before I disconnect the phone to partake of a glass of the $3 house wine. I didn't tell her, but I hope she remembers how good the house dressing is on the house salad, and that she also must not forget to order a side of the crusty garlic bread.
     She somehow thinks she will go incognito. But before the meal is over, Carolyn will likely ask her who she is and where she is from and then the cat will be out of the bag.
     My family and I have been eating at Mom and Dad's in DeFuniak Springs for over forty years now. It is a humble place without a lot of glitz and glamour. They don't need it. Night after night they pack the folks in for superb Italian food. It has always been the nicest restaurant in my hometown. When I was dating in high school, it was the favored spot for dinner before the Prom or Homecoming. Now it's just part of my homecoming every time I make it down to DeFuniak. I have been known to arrange my trips so that I would not arrive or leave on Sunday or Monday, just because those are the days that Mom and Dad's is closed. There is a tiny airstrip across the street, and in the olden days it would not be unusual to see men in Air Force jumpsuits making an "unscheduled" landing so that they could dine at this well-known eatery. It was the best kept secret in that part of Florida. People recognize value and great food wherever they find it. All the food is made on the premises. Even the desserts. Or especially the desserts. Some folks in my family swear by the Italian Cream Cake. Others go for the homemade Spumoni. But I simply cannot live without Carolyn's tiramisu. I don't even wait until after my meal is over to order dessert. I ask the minute I sit down if the tiramisu is available tonight. Carolyn will sprint back to the kitchen and put me some aside. They don't make the tiramisu every night, and Carolyn knows that I will be grumpy if they are "out" when it comes time for our table to get dessert. So we always take care of that business the very first thing. She also knows that the odds are good that I will be getting my standard spaghetti a la bruzi, but I have been known in recent years to change it up a bit and order the homemade ravioli. I guess that's called getting adventurous in old age.
    I confess that I am more than a bit jealous that The Daughter and her friends are dining there tonight. I suppose I should be thankful that another generation is making its way down 331 and heeding the call of Mom and Dad's with it's homey atmosphere, waitresses who know what you are going to order as soon as you sit down, and food that any chef worth his salt would recognize as simply superb. Here's to Mom and Dad's the finest little Italian restaurant in the panhandle of Florida or just about anywhere for that matter. I'll be dreaming of you tonight!

1 comment :

  1. The BEST place in town for Italian food! LOVE the place, the food and especially the people! You're's just home!


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