My friends Mel Schuckenbrock (PNC Mortgage) and Jack Wingerter (Security Lock, Safe & Alarm) from the Tacoma Executives Association, had asked me to edit some golfing footage they had taken of themselves at a local non-profit fundraising tournament. They promised payment. I wouldn't accept payment, but asked instead that they treat Peg and me to brunch at C.I. Shenanigans waterfront restaurant. The manager of the restaurant, Fernando Johnson, is also a member of Tacoma Execs. On a gray morninged Sunday, we gathered for a fun time together with Mel and Jack and their wives, Cindy and Margaret.
Jack and Margaret drove into the parking about five seconds after we did. We parked and were seated immediately. Soon Mel, fresh from mass, and Cindy fresh from flower planting, joined us.
Although it was a little hard to carry on conversations with the whole group, Peg and I talked to Jack and Mel. It was like old home week. It turned out that Jack lived on the same street I did in Lakewood, Maple Avenue, at the same time. He attended kindergarten, while I was in the fifth grade at Park Lodge Elementary. We talked about who we knew and the pranks and trouble we got into. Each Sunday my parents would see me off to the Methodist church, which was about half a mile away. I would ride my bike two blocks to Lake Steilacoom and sit on the shoreline and read until church was over and then ride my bike home. It was very uplifting. I never told my mother that until a few years before she died. Jack and Margaret were clients of our's thirty years ago, but we never talked about where we grew up.
Mel grew up in Missouri, which is where I was born. The four of us talked about childhood differences and laughed. I don't know what Margaret and Cindy talked about, but they seemed happy.
Just two days before, The News Tribune featured a story on Sunday Brunch with information on both The Lobster Shop, and Shenanigans. Peg and I love them both. The Lobster Shop probably has more seafood dishes and the newspaper mentioned biscuits and gravy, which is always a favorite of mine, but I found plenty to enjoy regardless.
Shenanigans has a new crab leg machine that slits the shells, so you can get to the meat without struggling too much. I'm not big on eating with my hands at a fancy restaurant, so I passed. I also passed on the new well-equipped Bloody Mary Bar. I was happy with simple orange juice, while other people enjoyed the bar as well as Mimosas.
Peg was disappointed that there was no baked salmon, but they did have tilapia fillets. I considered the steamed clams, but in the end stuck to a simple, but elegant selection.
No restaurant breakfast or brunch is complete without bacon and sausage links. I put my tongs into action at the pork station first. I added a little bit more pork with eggs Benedict and pork almandine. Peg complained that the pork was sliced too thinly, but I enjoyed it. It was tender and nicely flavored. I had three seafood helpings: mussels on the half shell, prawns, and lox. I added a little cocktail sauce for my prawns and ended up adding a little bit to each excellent bite of lox as well, along with some cream cheese. My one last addition was a slice of prime rib with creamy horseradish. I also spooned some cranberry sauce onto my plate, which I ate by itself. It would have gone well with the baked ham. I should have taken a piece from Peg's plate.
Peg surprised me by having an oyster shooter. Although, I like shooters, I usually pair them with beer or wine. Paired with coffee, they didn't attract me as much.
Although, I only went through the buffet brunch line once, I couldn't resist and nabbed two more sausages and a piece of bacon for my dessert plate. In addition I had some super moist bread pudding, but forgot to add some caramel sauce over it. I suffered from the loss. I also had a nice vanilla tart and a chocolate chip cookie.
The cookie was excellent. When I return to Shenanigans for brunch, again later this summer, I'll probably just have cookies and coffee to end the meal. Of course, when I say "cookies" I'm probably looking at four or five of them. If I give us the extra sausage links and the piece of bacon I might be able to choose another cookie or two in good conscience. I gave Peg a bit of my cookie and she loved it, too.
We had such a nice time at brunch that we'll probably invite both couples over for dinner on our deck in July or August, so we can talk to the wives. The meal was cut a little short. I think Mel and Jack both had golf games ahead of them and Cindy had a movie with a granddaughter. I had a baseball game to watch.
I arrived at Heidelberg Park wearing a parka. I sat beside Dean Todd, a close family friend of my son Patrick and my daughter-in-law Wendy. My parka came off almost immediately. It wasn't a hot day, but it was turning pleasant. Half an hour later the sun came out heated up our backs and necks.
Wendy passed around a package of sunflower seeds, which Dean began chewing on . . . the seeds, not the package. Granddaughter Laci struggled with a long rope of red licorice. I think Dean may have put some sunflower seeds down her back, but I could be wrong. Laci was constantly in motion, with cushions, the candy rope, and other clothes items. She would disappear at times, but I think she was on the other side of the dugout, where Patrick was taking pictures of the game.
Patrick shoots photographs and then creates a video for the kids and their families, which they all see at the end of the year banquet. Video, photography, and art run in the family . . . you might say it even gallops.
I had dropped Peg off at the house before heading towards the ballpark.
As we drove up to our house, Peg and I sat in the car and enjoyed our landscaping. Peg scored big time with hanging baskets for Mother's Day. They hang from the eves as well has the trees that boarder our glass railinged deck. We really enjoy the hanging plants suspended from branches of the trees, because it not only adds to the color and the greenery, but also it creates different planes of floral views.
In addition to the hanging plants, we have potted plants on the deck, the stairs, and inside our storm porch. Peg loves her flowers and other plants.
I arrived after noon, the start of the game. We had scored one run and the other team was up. They scored the inning maximum of seven runs, to lead 7-1. I was a little worried. Our team held them off and added a couple of more runs to their score and then even had their own seven run inning as well. They took the lead and then held on. The game finished a few minutes before 2:00pm. Our team won 14-11. It was a good game.
There was no time to glory in the win, however. Our team had another game at 3:00pm in Puyallup.
I didn't make that game. I had some work I wanted to complete that afternoon, and besides my little electric car wouldn't make it to Puyallup and back unless I stopped at a hotel for the night and charged it up.
In the big rally, Riley had been hit by a pitch. He took his base, but you could tell from his body language that he was hurting. He came out of the game and another runner replaced him. From then on it was ice pack time.
Those kids aren't throwing 95 m.p.h fastballs, but they are throwing some balls with quite a bit of heat on them. I wouldn't want to get hit on the back of the arm like Riley did. Although he iced it down, he's going to have a nice hard ball bruise for the rest of the week.
Riley was probably playing again for the second game. He's a good player and has a terrific arm. He's accurate and throws a number of people out. He plays catcher quite a bit. He takes coaching well. Yes, I am a proud grandfather.
I arrived home after the game to find out the rest of the afternoon had been arranged. Peg and I were to pick up our friend Mike Mowat and meet his wife, Jan, along with our friends Donn and Debbie Irwin at The Hub. Jan had already purchased movie tickets for the 5:40 showing of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, which was playing at The Grand Cinema in downtown Tacoma.
The Hub is a sports bar and restaurant located above The Hub Tap Room and just a few blocks away from the movie theater. I dropped off Mike and Peg and then parked the car. I joined the group, minus Jan, in the dining room. I ordered the Thai Chili Pork Sliders with sweet potato fries, while Peg ordered the Chicken BLT on flat bread with a side salad. The sliders were good . . . well, actually the pork and slaw inside was excellent, but the little buns were too large and too dry. I took one bite and then simply ate the middle out of the three sliders. Peg did something similar with her Chicken BLT. I ate some of her salad and between the two of us, well . . . mostly me, we cleaned the plate of sweet potato fries. Mike had the fried potato combo with his Chicken BLT, which has half garlic fries and half sweet potato fries. Jan joined us in a few minutes.
We all finished on time and enjoyed ourselves. We laughed at each other and joked around, just as if we hadn't seen each other the night before at our house for a dinner of homemade beef stew.
Peg and I had already seen The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel . . . for the Elderly and Beautiful, but wanted to see it again. The Exotic Marigold Hotel is a sweet film: British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways. The young owner of the family hotel comes up with the idea of "outsourcing" old people in the United Kingdom. With reduced pensions the first guests hope to benefit from their retirement by moving to the less expensive and seemingly exotic India. The Marigold Hotel, an old palace is just a shell of its former self.
The film is about change and adaptation. My favorite character was the put upon husband played by Bill Nighy. His wife, played by Penelope Wilton, was bitchy and hated the food, the people, the climate, the . . . well, just about everything. She demanded to be taken to the hotel she had seen in the Photoshopped brochure. Nighy is excited by a new world of discovery: the places, the people, the food.
We loved the film the second time around and our friends enjoyed it as we had on the first go round. They may not go, again, but you never know.
From Sunday brunch to the evening movie we had a great time with friends, food, family, and frivolity.