Recommended wine for today’s entry: Trimbach Riesling 2006 (Alsace, France) $19. I chose a riesling because it’s sweet and innocent, like my mother-in-law was before we brought her to Kentucky for a visit. According to wine.about.com/od/winerecommendations/tp/Rieslingrecs.htm: Trimbach Riesling falls under the traditional Alsatian Riesling category, bringing ample aromatics, clean flavor profiles and optimal balance between residual sugar levels and acidity. The palate is founded largely on a citrusy base and boasts prominent peach influences. Consider serving with pork tenderloin.
Today I’m going to tell you the story of my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday and the funny thing that happens when you mix a distinguished Connecticut woman and a Kentucky cracker.
A few years ago, we celebrated Barbara’s birthday over Labor Day weekend by having much of the family down to our house for a little Southern hospitality. We got more hospitality than we bargained for when we stopped for lunch at a local mom-and-pop restaurant that shall remain nameless.
My mother-in-law is the antithesis of a shrinking violet, so soon after we were seated at the restaurant (which smelled strongly of fried chicken and bourbon at mid-morning) she struck up a conversation with the owner, a salty woman of about 60. When the woman found out that Barbara was in from Connecticut, she asked what the occasion was.
“It’s my birthday!” Barbara chirped.
“No. Really?” the salty woman asked. “Then we are gonna celebrate. I’ll be right back — I’m going to bring you a birthday drink!”
Now, here I might point out that the rest of the table included my husband and me, my brother-in-law and his wife and three young, impressionable teens.
The woman returned promptly with two long, skinny shot glasses and set them down on the linoleum table (we only treat our families to the best). Bear in mind here that Barbara isn’t much of a drinker and it’s well before noon. But she’s a trooper, so she’s all in.
“Do you know what these are?” Salty asks. I’m starting to notice that her eyes point in slightly different directions.
“Um, no…” Barbara looks at the kahlua-colored shot generously topped with whipped cream. I suppose she was wondering if it was a before-the-eggs-and-grits or an after-the-eggs-and-grits shot.
“It’s a BJ,” the woman announces. “And I’m gonna show you how to drink it.”
My husband’s eyebrows shoot up in amazement, but he should have waited. The woman continues, “You can’t use your hands to drink it.” She puts her hands behind her back, leans over, takes the glass in her mouth and whoosh! she throws her head back and drinks it down.
Now my husband and his brother look stunned and my sister-in-law and I are scrutinizing our children’s faces for signs of either 1) recognition of the symbolism or 2) future psychological mayhem. The children actually look somewhere between uncomfortable and squeamish.
My mother-in-law, bless her innocent heart, is totally clueless.
“A BJ?” she asks in a voice that reverberates off the grease-laden walls. “Like for my name, Barbara Joan! How did you know that was my middle name?”
She looks at her two sons, who still look like they just saw their fourth grade teacher naked. “She, uh, didn’t, mom,” my husband stammers. “And use your indoor voice.”
“Go ahead,” Salty says. “Down it.”
Well, as I said, Barbara isn’t a big drinker and after about four good-natured attempts to follow the rules, she picks it up and takes a sip.
“This is good!” she announces, loudly enough to get the attention of most of the restaurant’s patrons. They turn to see her, whipped cream lining her upper lip, and she continues, “SO IF I JUST GO INTO A BAR AND SAY I WANT A BJ, THIS IS WHAT THEY’LL GIVE ME?”
I swear she had no idea. By now, all three teens are frantically texting, their hands over their faces, and I finally break down and take a picture. This is too good to leave undocumented.
As we walk out, salty chick snickering by the bar, my husband pulls his mom aside and whispers in her ear. Now it’s her turn to look like she’s just stuck her finger in the light socket. You’ve never seen a 70-year-old woman take the steps so fast.
Really, she made it 70 years without knowing this little tidbit of information. I think she was just fine in the dark. I do have pictures, though.