Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Fun Down Under

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fun Down Under

Brian and I planned to watch the OSU bowl game at my favorite local brewery last night. My folks came over to watch Erik, and we headed downtown through a chilly evening with snow intermittently spitting from the sky. We reached the popular hotel and pub, a quaint compound of buildings that was once our town's Catholic grade school, and headed for the building in which there is a giant movie screen, a fleet of comfortable, chunky living room furniture, and a full menu to enjoy. Unfortunately, the place was packed. After one tour around the large room, we saw that the mismatched armchairs and loveseats that did not contain football fans were draped with coats and scarves, indicating they were already occupied, so we left.

We drove through the crowded holiday mess downtown and hit the parkway before deciding to choose between one of two places: An unpopular Mexican restaurant lounge where we could easily commandeer the television remote or the Outback Steakhouse, a crowded choice on a Friday night but a place that houses a gigantic bar and at least two televisions. Going home was NOT an option. We drove to the Outback and found fairly comfy bar stools (I reminded myself that I am much less comfortable actually attending a game and having to sit on cement bleachers) and ordered cocktails, lobster/crab cakes, and grilled shrimp. The people watching was simply outstanding. I found myself more enthusiastic about that than the actual game. Across the bar sat three men in strange, flat-brimmed hats, looking like the Three Amigos. One gentleman ordered a Coors Light with a strange hillbilly twang that would have made Garth Brooks proud. Brian and I decided we found ourselves confused by their attire. I commented that the flat brim of each hat looked quite aerodynamic, and I made a soft whooshing sound when one passed by on his way to the restroom. A petite thing with a rounded bubble of blond hair sat on the stool to my right and occasionally sent items from her plate back to the kitchen. Since I am not normally much for a slab of bloody meat, and the overenthusiastic jumble of spices the restaurant rolls their food in tends to cause heart palpitations and night sweats in me, I very wisely chose the grilled chicken and vegetables. Brian chose steak, a grainy, bloody plank of fat-rimmed beef accompanied by some admittedly tasty french fries. We ate our dinners bathed in the bright light of neon kangaroos.

I thought a lot about the fact that most Americans, including myself, are horribly ignorant about other countries and the people who live in them. I also thought about how sad it was that the place innocently tends to nurture the assumption that Australians are all unusually friendly country folk who drink Fosters all day, talk funny, raise cows, and throw boomerangs in their spare time. Ironically, most of the food offered at The Outback is Creole/American, anyway, with little to no Australian influence that I could detect. I have learned much about the world in the last three years by communicating with many people in different countries. I now know for a fact that there are many people in Australia who have children who look an awful lot like my own son. I also know that these families have the same joys and heartbreak I do. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met, and they are a lot like me, no matter where they might live. Amazingly, I felt a little homesick for the people and places I have never seen.

I have learned that Williams syndrome is everywhere. Thankfully, so is Fosters. :)

We watched OSU fight its way to victory in a less than attractive manner, and in the fourth quarter we ordered coffee and a monstrous chocolate sundae with two spoons. The family dinner crowd was replaced by younger patrons, mostly in pairs, and we soon gathered our things and drove home, where a very excited boy bounced up and down on his mattress in his room and giggled, content as could be.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Kim, Grandma to Ava,ws said...

Maybe you have something there. Blogging has brought a diverse group of people together as friends. Maybe we should start a national blog to help all the haters out there learn to appreciate each other in spite of, or even because of our differences. Sadly, though, mean people get more attention.

I'm glad you and Brian got a night out. You deserve it.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

Sounds like a very nice night out

4:29 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Glad you got to go out for a while. You went to my 2nd favorite restaurant. Olive Garden is my first. By the way the next time you go to Olive Garden you must try the pomegranite martini. MMMMMMMMMMyum!!

6:46 PM  
Anonymous AUNTIE DEE-TA said...

OH YUMMY!!! BRAD AND I ALWAYS HAVE A GOOD TIME THERE AND WE HAVE ALWAYS GOTTEN GREAT SERVICE IN THEIR BAR AREA!!! TONIGHT WE WENT INTO "TOWN" AND WHILE WE WERE OUT WE HEADED FOR RED ROBIN FOR DINNER! WE WERE PLACED IN THEIR BAR AREA AND THE PATRIOT GAME WAS ON... TO SAY THE LEAST IT WAS LOUD AND FUN AND BROGAN AND BRAYDEN HAD THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES THINKING THEY WERE SUCH BIG BOYS HANGIN WITH "THE CROWD".

ALWAYS FUN TO HAVE A DATE NIGHT!!!

BIG HUGS

8:32 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

I hope to someday have what you have with Brian. You're blessed and I'll admit I'm a tad bit jealous. :)

10:08 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

FUN FUN I love those times with Chris

7:10 AM  

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