Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ffffettucine Alfffredo

The summer I was fifteen, my father's side of the family went on a trip to Colorado together. Somehow we managed to get 5 kids, 3 adults and 2 senior citizens out west without losing anyone along the way, and enjoyed a week full of activities ranging from a hailstorm horse ride to lasso lessons.

We fell in love with this tiny family-owned Italian restaurant and dined there twice during our stay. I sat in the middle and across the table from my cousin Brian during our second visit. Brian is my favorite cousin, and is two years my junior. He was thirteen at the time and carrying some awkward adolescent pudge.

Nana was sitting to my left, and my Aunt Susan was two seats down on my right. Susan was helping her preschool son pick his dinner, and Brian was hidden behind his menu.

"They have fettucine alfredo!" Brian exclaimed. "I love fettucine alfredo, my mom makes it for me all the time!"

Nana's eyebrows raised as she lowered her menu.

"...All the time?" she asked.

"Oh yeah," he gushed, "no one makes it as good as my mom does."

"If she makes it for you all the time, then no wonder you're so ffffffff..........robust."

I froze.

Conversation continued on either end of the table. I saw Brian's eyes widen and soften.

I saw Susan slowly look up, lips parted, looked to Brian, to Nana, back to Brian.

My 10-year-old sister, Natalie, was sitting beside Brian. Her brown eyes were round and wide.

Brian, Natalie, Susan and I exchanged glances as Nana returned to her menu, thinking her close call had been imperceptible.

Late that night, the four of us howled about it over a game of Euchre, retelling the story to my dad and uncle. It became the joke of the trip:

"How are you fffffeeling today, Heather?"

"Oh, just fffffine," I'd reply, and we'd burst into giggles.

And, no, Brian didn't order fettucine alfredo for dinner that night.



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