I’m not awake yet, but, I can feel eyes staring at me. Struggling to rise above a dream state, I open one eyeball. My beautiful eleven year old granddaughter, Maddy, stands beside my bed, already dressed, her soft brown curls pulled up in a perky ponytail. She whispers, “Are you awake, mamawl?”
“NoOoooOOo”. Trying to ignore her effort to bring me to consciousness, I sigh and turn over pulling the sheet over my head as I flop to my left side. Giggling, Maddy grapples with the top sheet, “C’mon mamawl, get up or I’ll tickle you!” Rising up suddenly, I grab her and pull her onto the bed with me, making big show of my toothless state as she squeals in protest, “Ewwwwww, old lady breath, ewwwww.” As I reach for my chenille robe, I tell her to go start the coffee while I get dressed.
Coffee enjoyed, we debate on what to do about breakfast. Looking at each other, we simultaneously proclaim, “Drive through mumble special!” Jumping up, Maddy shouts, “Last one in the car has to pay for breakfast!” Shaking my head, I grab my beat up old pocketbook and follow her out the door.
Pulling into the fast food drive up, we giggle as if we were BOTH schoolgirls. This is one of our favorite breakfast treats when we spend the night together; the always astonishing drive through mumble special.
We all know how those drive through speakers work---nobody can understand anything from either end of the conversation. Looking away from each other in a futile attempt to silence our giggle fest, I pull up to the “order it” station at the fast food restaurant. Maddy, holding her hand over her mouth to contain gales of silent laughter squeezes her eyes tight shut and buries her face in the soft sides of my old purse.
The fuzzy, indecipherable voice of the speaker cues me to place our order. Leaning out the window, I shout, “mufrrmphl shlerlong farrplltdt mroshprpght”. The “order it” responds with static and then emits a responding indiscernible comment. Using my free hand to wave Maddy into continued silence, I shout an additional instruction, “Ahh, bmr fumblegrb Ahhh, fsrhtft.”
After a few moments of electronic fuzzing, the voice says something that can only be guessed to be, “Pull around”. I maneuver the car into the “pick it up” side of the drive through and the smiling clerk tells me, “That will be $9.46.” After making the payment, I hand the overstuffed bag of breakfast goodies to my bright eyed, still giggling granddaughter and drive across the street to the park.
Maddy and I had invented “the astonishing drive through mumble special” one rainy morning after a futile attempt at ordering through the drive up. Our order had been entirely wrong but we discovered we liked the wrong order better than what we had ordered to start with. We had enjoyed our surprise food so much, we made a silly name for the process and had ordered wrong on purpose ever since.
Once we are uncomfortably settled at a dilapidated picnic table, bulging bag of who KNOWS what sitting before us, we bless our food. We both begin to giggle as we dump our treasure out onto the splintered slats of the battered wooden table. Maddy rubs her hands together, obviously enjoying the anticipation of the moment. “Hurry, mamawl, I can’t stand it—WHAT DID WE GET THIS TIME?”
As I ceremoniously unveil our treasure, I identify a sausage egg and cheese biscuit, a ham croissant, a platter of pancakes and FOUR fried apple tarts. We giggle at our abundance, rolling our eyes and remembering the last time when we’d ended up with three black coffees and one hash brown.
Suddenly, as if spurred by the memory of the “coffee a plenty” mumble special, Maddy smacks her forehead and says, “Awl, mamawl, we forgot to order drinks!” We both make a pouty face and Maddy skips across the walk to drop change in the park’s canned drink vending machine.
The birds laugh at us from the trees as we sit giggling, talking and enjoying our bounty. Having eaten until we are stuffed tight enough to pop, we gather our trash and continue to reminisce about previous “astonishing drive through mumble Specials”. With another mumble success added to our list, we drive back to the house as the first drops of a passing spring shower pelt the windshield; my heart smiles.
(741 words/fiction based on fact)
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