Shakedown  in the Neighborhood

Neighbor Amy very kindly said my debt was paid in full.  I cheated her out of a milkshake at Biltmore weeks ago and subsequently had two with her.

As I nixed John’s suggestion that time, I kept him from having a shake, too.  We agreed we’d have a half-price Sonic on the way home from buying a secondhand car.  Unfortunately, I ate too big a celebratory dinner and couldn’t face a shake.  Days later we stopped at a fast food place in Knoxville after a concert.  The voice from the order sign said the strawberry machine had been turned off.  We were indignant.  Who in his right mind would turn off a shake machine when we needed one?  A strawberry one, at that!  If my brain had been working, I would have suggested we go elsewhere.  Alas, John was the loser and settled for chocolate.  Please note the settling for chocolate was his sentiment, not mine.  I know for a fact that chocolate is king.

Weeks later we went to another concert, this one in Asheville.  We heard five Russians sing Russian Orthodox church music and folk songs.  Milkshake fever was running high, and we finally had our half-price Sonics on the way home.  A big plus was John’s having strawberry chunks in his.

People who read the shake saga from the beginning said I’d never live it down.  It’s going to be one of those family/neighborhood tales with a life of its own.  I have the feeling the next time we go out with neighbors Shawn and Bob, I’d better offer them a shake before we do anything else.

Shaking Amy’s World

Amy and I went out for a casual supper.  Because John had a play date with trains in Tennessee, I wanted to go out cavorting myself.  Old bones don’t cavort easily, but dinner at the diner seemed about the right speed.

As I got in her car, I said, “We could get a milkshake after supper.”

She understood I was offering to make amends for having cheated her out of a chocolate shake at Biltmore several weeks ago.  As we walked in the Haywood Café, Amy read a sign on the window – something about hand dipped shakes.  It was raining, so I didn’t actually read it for myself.  We decided to get a small sandwich to eat there and a shake to go.

I had no idea that ordering would be so amusing.  Amy wanted a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon.  She said to the waitress, “Make the bacon well done, but not burned.  I don’t want it limp and flapping in the breeze like they do it at burger joints.”

I was laughing and told the young woman to make my BLT with well done bacon, too.  I told Amy I always accepted whatever bacon the cook threw on a sandwich.  It never occurred to me to specify its condition.  The waitress filled up a whole sheet on her pad, writing down our detailed instructions for two simple sandwiches.

I struggled to get the top on my shake as Amy sat sipping hers.  She appeared to be sucking on the straw normally, not with cheeks drawn in and eyeballs popping out.  As we got in the car, I tried the first sip.  The shake was solid!  Nothing came through that straw.  Amy’s cup was almost empty.  I put mine between my knees, hoping to warm it before I began to shiver.

“Did you have trouble getting it through your straw?” I asked.


I said, “If I sucked that hard, all my teeth would come out.”

The one request I had was to take her photo holding the cup, but I forgot to get out the camera in the café.

I reminded her, “I still have to take your picture.”

Amy said, “My shake is almost gone.  I’ll suck on yours while posing.”

I may be a slow thinker, but I didn’t fall for that one.  Come to think of it, I should have accepted her help.  It’s an hour later, and I still have ½ inch of liquid to go.

042216 Amy with milkshake I owed her.JPG

Another Milkshake Disaster

When we made plans to go to a concert in Knoxville, John said we’d go early and eat dinner there.  My counter suggestion was to eat a small fast food sandwich before the concert and have a milkshake on the drive home.  Things began to go astray when we saw a restaurant we’d never noticed before, Aubrey’s.  The chicken salad sandwich sounded innocent enough, but it was huge.  We both also had creamed spinach, which was so good we had to stop ourselves from licking the dish.  The milkshake question was answered later.

The tour concert was performed by the choir of men and boys of St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue.  We used to go to evensong there about four times a year when we lived on Long Island.  After moving, John began to listen to their streaming services at  The concert was in a downtown church in Knoxville.  The building was much, much smaller than their home church, so we could see the faces of the singers.  The music was powerful, almost overwhelming.  However, the thing that affected the entire audience was the frigid temperature.  The locals knew to bring warm wraps.  John snuggled into his suit jacket, while I secretly plotted a way to climb on his lap, if necessary.  What saved the evening for me was the huge program.  I laid it across myself from shoulder to shoulder and whispered to John that I’d ask for his program for my lap if my teeth began to chatter.

The milkshake question came up as we headed home on I-40.  John asked, “Do you want to get a shake?”

I replied, “That was the plan.  I’m game if you are.”

John said, “If we’re going to get a shake, we’d better stop now.”

I didn’t understand the immediacy, but I said, “You ought not to ask me, because that’s the way I cheated you and Amy out of a Biltmore treat.  If you want one, you ought to say so.”

Without further quibbling, he said, “I want one.”

We pulled up to the drive-in menu, and John ordered one strawberry shake (his lifelong favorite) and one chocolate.  The voice from the box said, “We don’t have strawberry.  We’ve shut the machine down.”

Aaaauuuugggghhhh!  I should have insisted we go elsewhere, but while I hesitated, John said to make it two chocolate ones.  I know that the particulars will be forgotten, and in the retelling of the milkshake saga years down the road, it will somehow be ALL MY FAULT.  John is not vindictive, but he is good at reshaping a story to tease me.

Amy Cracks Me Up

Neighbor Amy had already read the post about my denying her and John their major milkshake moments.  I didn’t know that when I walked over to her house.  She invited me to sit outside for a while as she took a break from working in the house.  The afternoon was quite warm, so I filled two cups with ice, picked up two cans of soda, and put them in a plastic bag.  As I walked down her lawn, Amy stepped onto the porch.

Seeing the bag, she called out, “Are you bringing me my milkshake?”