Monday, March 8, 2010

Vignettes on a Sunday

Thoughts of sauerbraten, red cabbage and potato pancakes had been floating rather often through my head, so yesterday Richie and I went to Alpine Village, Torrance, for their Sunday champagne brunch.

We were seated within easy striking distance of the long tables covered with food. The Champagne Lady filled our glasses and we were set. Once I had made a couple of passes at the various buffets, I was content to take a rest.

I noticed the older man, seated to my left; he must have been a regular as he and the omelet chef were having a grand old visit (in German;) the omelet station being about four feet from the man's table. He showed the familiarity of a regular as he rather fussily said as he waved off the Champagne Lady, "No -- I'll have a cup of coffee -- but not right now -- with my dessert."

He was beautifully dressed in khaki pants, a shirt and tie with a navy blazer with a crest on the breast pocket. He carried a cane but got up and down the two shallow steps to the food without trouble.

Time passed and he got up to leave. He picked up his cane, adjusted it to his grip and I heard him tell his server, "If I go home, there's no one there (nod at the tables) but here I have people." I thought of the contrast; a gray, rain-threatening sky, a dark house, the lights waiting patiently to be turned on ... and this restaurant, napery glowing whitely, the hum of peoples' voices and the clatter of serving pan lids...

The three of them came in, gliding along as stately as sailboats in full rig. They may have been a husband and wife and sister-in-law; they might have been a pair of widows and a kind gentleman. All three were resplendant in glossy black skins and well-schooled hair. The ladies wore sausage-skin tight cocktail suits with glitter around the collars. Despite their bulk, (and it was considerable) they were both wearing 5 in. stilettos!

The man looked sharp -- black shirt, pants, shoes, a black fedora perched jauntily on his head. His jacket dazzled the beholder's eye -- it was a black and white houndstooth check.

They quite probably did just come in from church; duty to God completed; duty to stomach about to begin. But I prefer to think of them as a retired pimp and his last two ladies, prosperous and comfortable in their skins.

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