The Birminghamster
Lowe Knows




by Mrs. Lowe

Local Woman Recovering from Near Death Experience at Japanese Restaurant

March 20th was my Mom's Seventy-ninth birthday. My brother and I always try to make it a memorable occasion for her. She always tried to make ours a special time so turn about's fair play, don't you think? This year we decided to take her to one of the local Japanese joints where the wanna' be Iron Chefs throw the food around and make a lot of noise with the utensils and start several fires atop the grills and in your face. See, my Mom is like a little kid now. She LOVES to play with fire and flirt with danger. Anything out of the ordinary will keep her talking for weeks to her friends and neighbors (those who are still alive). We recently discovered she had called the dealership where she bought her latest vehicle (a gold Buick LeSabre - don't all people over 70 drive them?) and had a new set of keys, complete with key pad, made. We pulled her keys two years ago after other close calls from which we felt she MIGHT NOT recover. So, you get the idea about what I mean when I say she likes to flirt with danger. For example, just to make it a little more thrilling to go to Food World, she would invariably choose to get out on Valleydale Road during the 5:00 PM traffic. After she fell in the parking lot, we said - enough! That didn't stop her though, two years later she has called the dealership for more keys (someone must have told her or maybe she saw it on Oprah). We don't know how many solo trips she's made since receiving the keys. We can tell when she's driven by theway the car is parked catty cornered in the garage, the heat still radiating from the engine. Since the last trip to the body shop she has somehow managed NOT to hit, bump or scrape anything so we are hoping she isusing discretion when she takes it out now. All I can say is this - those people who park their cars on the side of her street instead of in their driveways or garages are dancing with the devil! She likes to make test runs occasionally just to "SEE" if she can still "see" how to drive. She doesn't consider it to be "dangerous" because she makes a U-turn in the Vet's parking lot and doesn't get out on Valleydale. Then she goes to the other end and makes another u-ie. For that, she pays a $1200.00 car insurance premium each year. My brother and I consider it a bargain!

Upon arrival at the restaurant, we were seated at the grill and had already eaten our soup and salad without too much excitement. Mother opened her cards (her favorite things) and her gift (a cute little stylish outfit from her favorite store, McRae's. Favorite because she could park right at thedoor to the Mall, when she was still driving, and shuffle on in to the women's sportswear department on Senior's Day). Just about the time she told us where she would wear the outfit and what jewelry would go with it, out comes Iron Chef with his tray of ingredients and utensils. He immediately cleans the grill with the Vodka and sets it on fire.

We watch for Mother's reaction. My brother and I acknowledge with knowing glances that her wheels are turning! She is liking the drama. He throws an onion on the grill and arranges the sliced rings in the Volcano. He fills itup with sake and lights it. She is amazed. He throws some eggs around in the air and cracks them open on the grill. He adds some veggies. She looks interested. The rice comes next. The spatula whips around and is being twirled on one finger as the Iron Chef displays his multi-functional talents. But wait, he loses control - the spatula slips - it hits the sauce bowls - the sauce hits Mother right in the face, all over her sequined black top but worse, on her newly cleaned white wool coat! Lord Jesus, Help Us All! My brother and I look at each other in terror. We KNOW the volcano onthe grill was just a prelude to what is surely to come next. She leans back as far as she can in her chair, grabs her chest and screws up her face. We all throw napkins in her direction. Iron Chef blanches - but not from the heat. The first words out of her mouth? "I JUST got this coat out of the cleaners and furthermore, I COULD have been killed! Or had my eye put out!" (Her worst fear since I have known her was to have her eye put out or for one of US tohave OURS put out.) We were sure she would start to act like Roy D.Mercer and demand $250.00 next so we created a little diversion. After assuring her that the restaurant would clean the coat and she would be OK, we started talking about my daughter who is her favorite person. We told her that Allison's favorite place to eat was this particular Japanese restaurant so she reluctantly decided to give it another shot. Never mind that Allison has never been to this one. It was built years after she moved to Texas. Hopefully, Mother won't hear THAT on Oprah. By the time Iron Chef had brought out the steak, chicken and shrimp and had started cutting them up at Mach speed in front of her, she was OK. The only problem she had was that the restaurant had no Tartar Sauce to serve with the shrimp! (Or cocktail sauce, either). No amount of explanation that we were NOT at Captain D's would do. If they served shrimp, they surely had to have some Tartar sauce!

I really sort of felt sorry for Iron Chef. You know how the Oriental folk revere their elders. Her scathing looks and comments were bound to be painful for him to endure. I only hope he doesn't practice Hari-Kari. A good drunk is probably all he needs to get over this. In that light, I offer the following recipe.

Champagne Blossom Punch

1/3 C Frozen Orange Juice, undiluted
1/3 C Frozen Lemonade, undiluted
1 Bottle (25 oz) Riesling, already chilled
1 Bottle Champagne, already chilled
Lemon, Lime or Orange Slices, if desired

Combine 1st 3 ingredients. Stir well. Gradually add champagne but do NOT stir. Pour into frosted champagne flutes and garnish with slice of your fruit of choice. This makes about 2 quarts. I advise all Iron Chefs to keep it on hand and drink up when you see little white haired ladies coming in. She is sure to be back - maybe with friends!