Years ago, I was at an odd dinner. It was me, my best buddy, my mom and my mom’s then boyfriend, the owner of a hotel that bore his name. We’ll call him “Larry Thompson” so it was the Thompson Hotel. Downtown San Francisco, a modest 7 floor deal. I guess I was 28, 29. For some reason my dad was there too- wait, I just remembered, it was a birthday dinner for me, thus the collusion of the family members, divorced parents and all.
We were in the first floor restaurant of said hotel. Posh. Had a nice dinner, service being great, afterall- we sat with the guy who owned the place. We all ordered freely. Wine, salads, entrees. We’re all thinking how nice, he owns the whole joint so none of us will be reaching for wallets later. The waiter comes after the dinner plates have been cleared, delivers the small menus. Larry gets a big toothy grin on, “dessert is on me.” he says, like it’s a grand old gesture. Dessert.
We all freeze up. Glance around at each other. Joke? Serious. He owns the whole building. Pause. Obviously no joke. My dad breaks the silence.
“I’ll have the chicken.”
I laughed then and still do.
Happy Birthday dad.