I decided I needed a vacation from the kitchen, the phone, and the television so; we invited our next-door neighbors, Bob and Sandy to go away with us down to our timeshare in Bonita Springs, Florida.
As we were traveling down Interstate 75 in the backseat of the car Sandy quietly remarked, “I never could understand why old people when they travel the old men must be up front and the little women sit in the back and now I’m looking around and here we are!” I thought this was a very funny observation indeed.
We spent most of the first morning just sipping tea and coffee and eating pastries we had purchased the night before at Panera Bread. Then off to the beach for a lazy late morning leading up to a healthy picnic lunch. Unfortunately, the day did not go as planned. We had just put our towels and coolers down when the beach patrol ordered us off the beach and into the nearby pavilion. There was a cluster of very bad storms heading our way with severe lightning coming and we needed to leave posthaste. Well, she didn’t have to tell us more than once and off we started to walk. Walk? Run was more like it. We didn’t make it. The heavens opened up and we were soaked to the skin before we could get into the building. So, there we were all looking like drowned rats wiping ourselves down with terrycloth towels all the while missing the day we were not going to have at the beach. Later in the day we were chased away from the pool as well.
No matter we filled our entire afternoon with talk about, of all things, penny candy. I can’t believe that we could fill more than two hours talking about something as simple as penny candy. We sat there and named every penny candy we could remember. Do you remember any of these? Mary Janes, Neccos, Bit-o-Honey, Squirrel Nut Caramels, Banana Split Taffy, Bulls Eye Caramel, Wax Bottles, Laffy Taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Marshmallow Cones, Sesame Crunch, Red Hots and the Atomic Fireballs just to name a few? We did and with the mention of each name you could see the smile on each person’s face as the memories washed over him or her. Memories of a time gone by that evoked for each one of a better, simpler and more innocent time.
Then it was time to head off to dinner. One very important thing we have in common with Bob and Sandy is our love of Mexican food. We had decided to take them to a restaurant we had discovered in Bonita Springs a few years earlier called Maria’s Restaurant offering authentic Mexican food. We were hoping it would still be as good as we remembered.
Well, our friends were not disappointed. The food was indeed as we remembered, wonderful. The warm chips and fresh salsa was a great start. I normally order tacos, fried rice and refried beans but not this day I was intrigued by the listing of fillings that could be had in their quesadillas. One of the fillings was spiced potato so I called over the waiter and inquired about how they were prepared. He said that the potatoes were sautéed with jalapeno peppers, onions and red peppers then placed in the quesadillas with ripe red tomatoes, shredded lettuce and topped with Mexican cheese. When we finally ordered I decided to get the quesadillas one with shredded chicken and one with the spiced potatoes. They were wonderful. The shell was crispy and soft all at once, the red skinned potatoes were cooked just right and very flavorful and the shredded chicken moist and tender. The accompanying rice was long-grain white with kernels of young yellow corn and the refried beans were perfect. Everyone else’s dinner was as wonderful as mine so the journey to Maria’s was a great success.
Monday evening after dinner we were enjoying just hanging out on the balcony when we started to talk about pies that we enjoyed while growing up. Of course we talked about apple pies, blueberry pies, cherry pies and the fact that you most definitely had to have a big gob of ice cream on top of these very delicious fruit pies. Then Randy, with eyes looking up to heaven said, “and then there’s Mary’s Boston Cream Pie” with such reverence it made me blush. And on and on it went for quite a while. The one thing we all agreed upon was that none of us like mincemeat pie.
We all retired around 10:00 pm knowing that tomorrow we had to depart for home the next morning but savoring the very simple, relaxed and memory filled time we had just shared together
This week back to the kitchen we are having our neighbors in for a cookout before everyone departs the neighborhood for various parts of the country during the summer months.