Big Bill's. Two baskets of garlic knots. Medium pizza with pepperoni and Canadian bacon. Two diet Cokes. One with lime. One without. (That 'without' was a deal breaker in the realm of the generous tip.)
That was our usual.
We ate there every Friday night when I was pregnant with Tyler. I claimed it was Tyler's favorite, in utero. Who can resist a large pregnant woman with serious cravings? Not Robb, I'll tell you that much.
Tyler's first birthday was at Big Bill's. Since it was so naturally in his blood, it seemed appropriate.
We ate there every Sunday after church. Every Sunday.
Leona waited on us. Every Sunday.
Their decor is almost entirely comprised of framed napkins with the doodles, notes, and drawings of their patrons.
I took the boys last night for dinner.
One basket of garlic knots. Medium pepperoni pizza. A diet Coke with lime. Two small lemonades (diluted, please).
'The usual' has changed a bit at our table.
Leona stopped by. She hadn't seen us in a while; she hadn't heard. She didn't know.
I told her. "It was sudden and tragic, Leona. We thought it was the flu."
She was stunned. Everyone is, when they first hear.
She put her hand on mine. "I'm so glad you're here. I'm so glad."
I added to their decor. They hung it up immediately. As in, four minutes after I handed it to Big Bill, the hostess brought me the framed, finished product.
Then, Big Bill himself took my two little boys on a tour.
"Here's your daddy's napkin, boys. You come see it whenever you want."
Big Bill and Leona bought our dinner.
"We hope you'll come back."
Oh, we'll be back.