P.E.I stands for Prince Edward Island, a tiny little…well..you guessed it, island in the Maritimes where I grew up. I’m not sure who decided that we–my grandmother, my mother and I–were going to go hit the road and take the ferry for a little trip to P.E.I. My mother liked to wander for her own reasons and I suspect my grandmother did too, she just didn’t get the chance to do so often. So I assume they managed to get me to stop chasing shiny things long enough to bundle all of us up in the car for the entire day or so to take the trip.
All I recall about P.E.I is that it was hilly and green and that there were a lot of sheep and cows. Miles upon miles of little grass tufts with rocks interspersed, and me in the back seat with Grandma and Mom in the front. I think that like most kids? I was absolutely bored to tears. Though a lot of that boredom was broken up by stopping along the way to eat and get out and wander around.
There are many truck stops along the way, and Truck stops were notorious for big plates, good food, big personalities, a little bit of history most often and quick convenience. We stopped along the way for supper at this little place with warm yellowing tiles. Padded blue stools lined along a diner-like bar where several gargantuan, bear-like fellows were hunkered down over their coffee and meals. Every one there was male, and they couldn’t get any more Hollywood burly trucking man stereotypical if they tried. It was oddly very quiet when we walked in and I could sense that my mother and my grandmother were a little discomforted–but they were hungry, and food was here.
We ordered drinks. Now, it wasn’t entirely silent–it’s a diner. There’s the sounds kitchens make with clinking dishes, rattling silverware, steam from frying pans and the soft foot-pads of waiters and waitresses. It was just that when we entered it was as if we’d come into a diner-library. The men along the counter murmured and those in the booths were relatively soft spoken. We sidled into a pale yellow, plush booth and table, I was across from my mother and grandmother.
We ordered and got our drinks first. I guess my mother got something carbonated–probably pepsi or root beer–and she was relatively thirsty. More than half of that glass was gone in a few gulps while my grandmother talked about the things they’d seen and the pictures they’d gotten on the trip. My mother, listening, put down the glass and turned to her. My grandmother as far as I know, had always been the quintessential little old lady with mostly old fashioned ideas about some things-but relatively approachable about others. Nanny’s hair was never not permed, she always had lipstick or lip gloss on, her nails were always clean and shaped, her clothes were always as clean as they could be.
So my mother, who had listened all this time turned to say something in reply to my grandmother, opened her mouth and–
A hush filled the room.
The waiters and waitresses froze in place like deer hearing a car horn.
The big, burly trucker men along the diner counter all fell silent, rolling wide eyes to each other and then hesitantly looking over their shoulder toward the three of us who were so stunned we were slack-jawed in the booth. They seemed in a state of both awe and worship-fullness.
The people seated in booths near us made a mixture of stunned, surprised, disgusted and proud faces all at once.
My mother–my delicate, pretty, tiny little mother had let loose a belch that had rung proudly across the diner so much as to make the metal in the booth tables and stools ring. Darting a glance left and right after the ringing of her burp had long faded but conversation had not yet begun my mother reached up, patted her mouth and said in a very proper, demuer voice, “Oops. Pardon me.”
And that is when we all lost it.
We never remembered the P.E.I trip honestly. But anytime we talk about it, one thing we did remember was the belch heard ’round the the diner.[box type=”bio”] Melissa Pence is wife to the husband and wife team here behind 2 phatgeeks. On December 11th, 2011, Melissa lost her mother to a long, difficult battle to diabetes. In her memory, Melissa is blogging 24 hours in order to raise funds for her through the organization: Step Out: End to Walk Diabetes, and for the personal goal to finish a humming bird tattoo on her right arm in memory of her mother. [/box]