It began with a biscuit
Friday, March 8, 2019 at 08:44PM
Jennifer

I had a birthday this past week. It was on Thursday.

Thank you!

So, the celebrations began last Sunday -- although they commenced sort of by accident.

Allow me to elaborate.

TG and I, together with any of our children who wish to tag along, have been going out for after-church Sunday lunch to many of the different breakfast restaurants in Columbia.

As in, places that are open only for breakfast (although they serve it until two or three o'clock in the afternoon).

Starting about six months ago, we've been to Le Peep in the Vista; The Original Pancake House at Trenholm Plaza on Forest Drive; Eggs Up Grill in Ballentine; Creekside Cafe and Cafe Strudel in Lexington, and the Just Us Cafe in Cayce.

Also Cracker Barrel in Irmo, but that's more or less a default place for Sunday lunch unless we get adventurous.

Last Sunday, our chosen Sunday-lunch-in-the-form-of-breakfast venue was the Just Us Cafe, which I'd been wanting to visit for a long time.

Our son-in-law Chad, who grew up in the Columbia area, knows ALL the great places to get breakfast. It was he who, several months ago, vouched for Just Us Cafe and encouraged us to add it to our burgeoning list.

At Just Us, it's casual. When you walk in, there's a gumball machine by the door. On top of the gumball machine is a mangled spiral notebook with about ten pages of college-ruled paper left in it.

A plastic ballpoint pen sits on top.

You grab the pen and sign in -- name and number in your party -- and then get in line.

The line snakes from the door all the way the length of the full-service counter, practically to the back door near the restrooms.

We waited about fifteen minutes for a table.

The food was delicious, and as I consumed the last crumbs of my breakfast, I told our server as much. In fact, I described it as a sublime experience and said it made me particularly happy because it was my birthday week.

She lit up like a little old firefly. What's your name? she said.

I told her and she trotted away. She was back a few minutes later with a biscuit for me, with a pink birthday candle -- lit -- sticking out of it. 

And then you won't believe what happened. At our server's prompting, the entire restaurant full of people sang Happy Birthday to me.

That's right! Everyone stopped eating and sang, using my actual name after the word dear. And the place was packed out!

I held up my flaming biscuit while dozens of faces turned towards me and sang -- with a great deal of enthusiasm, I must say, since none of them knew me from Adam's off ox.

my birthday cod

Only in the South.

Of couse, I could not eat the biscuit -- fluffy and still-warm as it was. I'd just finished a fluffy and still-warm Belgian waffle, three perfectly scrambled eggs, and two sausage patties the size of coasters.

Plus at least three cups of coffee.

The next night, my children threw my actual birthday party -- this one at Sun Ming, my favorite Chinese restaurant.

There were ten of us around the big round table with the lazy Susan in the middle. Chad's parents joined us too.

We feasted on Kung Pao Chicken, General Tso's Chicken, Chow Steak Kew, Sesame Chicken, Orange Chicken, Tip Par Beef, Ginger Chicken, steamed broccoli, jasmine rice, and egg fried rice. 

My on-the-house birthday treat that evening -- served along with the fortune cookies -- was a bowl filled with chunks of juicy cantaloupe melon. Several of us ate some, and I took the rest home for my breakfast the next morning.

Back at the house, we had cupcakes, lemon meringue pie, and decaf Cafe Bustelo. Also presents!

As usual, everyone was so kind and generous. Erica got me the cleverest birthday cod. Audrey's card featured a possum being borne aloft by a birthday balloon.

Andrew and Brittany gave me a Little Hippo Letter Board (I'd been wanting one of those) and a glass skull treat jar. (I stashed some chocolate-filled croissants behind the skull's leering grin.)

I received a beautiful pen (I am so fond of pens) and a new notebook to doodle in, and stationery cards, and jewelry, and various other wonderful gifts.

My birthday was still three days away.

What happened on my actual birthday? On Thursday? You may want to know.

I'll tell you later. It's pretty special.

But you'll have to wait because that is all for now.

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Happy Weekend

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