Shopping, munching with the Mouseketeers
“Don’t you have your Mickey Mouse Club meeting tomorrow?” husband-head tried to remember the other evening. “Or did I dream that?”Which, naturally, prompted him to starting singing.”M-I-C … K-E-Y … M-O-U-S-E!””Yes dear,” I said as I patted him on the head. “We’ll be leaving early in the morning and I’ll be gone for most of the day, so that means you’ll have to put on your belt and find your socks all by yourself.”Husband-head looked horrified at the thought.”And by the way, it’s the Birthday Club, not the Mickey Mouse Club,” I corrected him. “Although we are old enough to have been Mouseketeers back then.”The Birthday Club consists of myself and three of my girlfriends – Becky, Karen and Kelley. For years now, we try to get together to celebrate each of our birthdays, by going shopping and – most importantly – going out to lunch.We always frequent our favorite restaurant about an hour away – which we will not name except to say that it has a tank of live lobsters in the front entrance that haven’t turned red yet. The tradition is that the birthday girl always gets her lunch bought for her. If we happen to miss a birthday, the former and current birthday girls get their lunch bought for them by the other two. If we miss three birthdays, the remaining sucker has to buy everyone’s lunch and has no money left to go shopping.Over the years, we have become friendly with the waitstaff at this restaurant, who now know us by name and have the good sense to seat us in the farthest corner of the restaurant. We don’t mind, though, because it allows us to laugh really loud and huck shrimp at each other without disturbing the other patrons.And being the wild and crazy women that we are, we not only go to the same restaurant four times a year, we also order the same thing time after time.Karen always orders salad with the little cocktail shrimp on top; Kelley likes to dissect a plate of crab legs; and Becky guards her platter of coconut shrimp like a Rottweiler, hitting any hand that dares try to take one. I, on the other hand, order whatever the “endless” special is and proceed to take only a few bites, because I’ve already stuffed myself with rolls, salad and a baked potato.When we’re done gorging ourselves and giving out birthday gifts, we then waddle our happy little butts out to the car and prepare to go shopping.Although the restaurant and the menu are always the same, the shopping trip differs each time.”Remember when Karen drove that one time because she needed to get her brakes done and we sat at Sears for, like, hours?” I said to Kelley as we made plans for our upcoming trip.”Yeah, and remember you wanted to sit in the car when they put it up on the lift ’cause you thought it looked like fun, but we wouldn’t let you?” Kelley replied.Needless to say, after that trip, Karen wasn’t allowed to drive anymore. But to get back at her, we moved her car in the parking lot while she was shopping and sat and laughed while she wandered around wondering where everyone – including her car – was.”Remember when you decided we should all have mimosas before we left your house at 9 a.m.?” Kelley recalled. “And you filled little squirt guns with rum and Karen squirted you in the eye, thinking it was water?””Remember you had two mimosas to our one before we even left?” I countered.Then there was the time that Becky decided to buy a bird at the pet store. It came in a little box and we had to keep checking every few minutes to make sure it didn’t fly out of the box around the car or croak.That was a fun ride home.”Remember when you and I went into a dressing room and I tried on some jeans that were too small and I couldn’t get the zipper up or down?” I continued. “So I ended up lying on the floor and busting the zipper to get out?””I just remember hoping neither of us would pee our pants from laughing at your predicament,” Kelley recalled. “I’ve never left a store so fast in my life.”Nor have I ever been as bored in my whole life as when Kelley and Becky spend the entire DAY in the craft store.”So, how was the Mickey Mouse Club?” husband-head asked when I got home.”Next time I’m bringing some of those black Mouseketeer hats with the ears and our names engraved on them,” I sighed. “Annette Funicello has nothing on us.”Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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That sideline parent is me, parading to the field with a foldable chair, carrying an iced-coffee, armed with a bag of band-aids and a salty vocabulary ready to slay the referee or opponent that meddles…