"This is for Isaiah," he announced, a shiny black and chrome 22 the proferred offering. Now, I happen to be in the middle of reading Before you Know Kindness, a novel about a girl who accidentally shoots her father unaware the gun is loaded.
"Is it loaded?" I gulped. Buster extracted the rod and sure enough, 6 or 8 little bullets fell out on the seat next to Bella. Great.
"Is the safety on?" Andy asked.
"Red means it's on," Buster showed Isaiah. (Later, back home at the yurts, Andy would show the same red spot and inform Isaiah, "Red means it's off.") The gun went in the back, Bella put the bullets in the cup-holder, clearly an unadvertised innovation, and my nerves became a bit more frayed in the face of my 6-year-old with a fistful of the only kind of gold the day would bring. We headed downriver past a herd of grazing elk to the Dawg--the actual spelling as I discovered but I am getting used to these things.
"NO kids are allowed in there," she hissed before playing her nasty trump card, "And we are out of corned beef anyway."
"Well, then why are you advertising a corned beef dinner?" I gasped incredulously, my Irish blood starting to boil at the thought of missing my annual corned beef fix.
"We've been serving it since 11," she sneered over her shoulder, clearly finished with the likes of us, the uninvited.
Now, of course this begs too many unanswered questions, not the least of which could be,"Who eats a corned beef dinner at 11 and wouldn't that be called a lunch?" You are not in that bastion of all things Irish anymore, Lassie, I told myself, meaning Costa Rica. Stunned, I remained in the warmth of the garden room entrance in deference to Bella's tropical attire, reading and re-reading the false advertisement for their corned beef dinner, while waiting for Xana to get dropped off to meet us while Andy marched past the NO Minors sign to work the crowd. The triumphant witchy waitress made a point of shooting daggered looks at me in between taking her green beer orders, pausing her scribbling only to aim a dramatic roll of her evil eyes like I didn't understand English or whatever. Once everyone converged, we left. Kelly Go Bragh.
We hurried back thru the cloud of smoke and into the warmth of the Silke-mobile, where I ascertained that the gun was pointing towards the back, just in case. "I want to go to Outback Jacks, floor it," I announced, the 22 our only passport. We cruised beneath the proverbial one stoplight in town which is typically blinking yellow and hit the main street of Waldport with my blood cells screaming for a salty beef fix, passing the only other Wallyworld culinary options - Grand Central Pizza, Geng Sing Chinese (sacrilege, both of them) and the notorious Flounder Inn which is a scary place to drink much less "dine" although I am sure some of my ancestors would have happily acquiesced to a liquid dinner and turned their thirsty selves right on in. Trying to set a good example for the kids in a town where parenting has become a lost art, we headed south to Yachats, quelling our hunger while enjoying the St. Patrick's Day sun sinking into the Pacific. We drove along the coast, reminiscing dreamily about a place 3000 miles further south where the party was in full flip-flop swing complete with bagpipes retrieved from Peru, an acapella-singing amiga, and plenty of smiling non-Waldportonian-type faces.
Pulling up to the Drift Inn we encountered a lass in a green velvet shirt and Irish plaid skirt drifting out of the inn so Andy rolled down his window to inquire as to the status. She said she thought the wait was too long for dinner and was heading for the Adobe instead. We parked and Andy went in to inspect the situation while Buster got out, crossing the street towards the ocean where he encountered a scruffy hitch hiker and proffered a smoke while we watched from the warmth and safety of our armed vehicle. "That's called sharing," Bella informed. Andy returned with the happy news that yes, there was a table in about 5 minutes and we all piled out. Heading towards the bar I noted the towel-covered Irish soda bread resting at one end and my blood began to sing along with the Irish band. Bella and I shared a stool by the soda bread while the fiddle-playing lass sang an old-country yarn. As the notes lingered in the air, Bella sighed, "That was the best song I've ever heard."
"You should ask Buster what kind of rock that is," I told him, pointing the way to the guy who looked like Santa. Clearly a brave lad, he marched on over.
"It's a Leverite," he returned to tell his trusting Mom who had amazingly not stopped him from talking to strangers in an area full of them.
"You will have to write that in your journal," she said.
"Buster knows his rocks," I assured.
Our Irish blood restored to its proper salinity for another year and our tropical dreams temporarily forgotten in the face of our full bellies, we all drifted back out of the inn to a perfect sliver of moon cradled over the sea.
"You could hang a pail on that," Buster noted.
"What kind of rock was that?" I asked as we drove away.
"Leverite," Buster replied knowingly.
"As in leave 'er right there where you found 'er," Andy snorted.
We all laughed. I wonder if that family from Talent will think to question the authority of a man who looked like Santa. Will they ever recognize that treasured rock for what it really is--a Blarney Stone.