Date Night Gone Awry

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Woody Allen

Mother Goose doesn’t necessarily chase after the movies of Woody Allen, but the reviews for Blue Jasmine sounded interesting. I’m a modestly casual fan of Cate Blanchett, and Alec Baldwin’s Capital One commercials make me smile — good reasons to make plans to see a new movie.

With the film’s limited release on Friday, we could easily drive into the city, park near the Landmark Century Theater, catch a nice dinner beforehand at La Creperie and enjoy the movie together. What lovely plans! What a charming date night this could be!

We drove downtown in the Cadillac of Husband Goose and easily found a parking space on Diversey Parkway, just a block from the restaurant and theater. Husband Goose even checked with a Chicago policeman on his bicycle about whether this was a legal spot to park! The officer wholeheartedly agreed that this was a beautiful parking space.

We merrily skipped along to La Creperie.

We took this picture last year in June.  As I looked at the pix from that date night, I saw that I wore the same dress and we sat at the exact same table.

We took this picture last year in June. As I looked at the pix from that date night, I saw that I wore the same dress and we sat at the exact same table.

As you know, Mother Goose does not believe in accidents, coincidences or chance encounters…

I had read online that this quaint family-run French bistro would be closing its doors for the last time later this month. We wondered why they would close — surely business is always good with normal thirty minute waits on most nights. Forty-one years of serving delicious savory and sweet crepes, soup a l’oignon gratinee and an exciting array of fine wines — how on earth could they possibly be done?

While we waited to be seated outside on the back patio, we spotted the owner, Germain Roignant. He was acting as busy host for the night, not unusual at this long-lived northside bistro. Germain is an older gentleman, charming with his French accent and attentiveness to the ladies. We asked why he was closing his wonderful restaurant.

He explained that he had wanted to pass La Creperie on to his son, but after giving it a try, his son had decided it wasn’t for him and had moved to California with his wife. But then, the most heartbreaking…Germain told us that his son had now died, just the day before.

Of course, tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened to this news.

“Why are you here?” I asked.

“Somebody called in and couldn’t come to work, I need to be here,” he said with a sad shrug and then walked back towards the entrance to greet a new crowd of guests.

We stood speechless, absorbing this information and quietly relating it to our own families and children. How sad, how terrible to have to plan a funeral for a son… Germain’s wife Sara had passed away in 2002 — we could still read the grief on his face for losing his lifelong best friend and lover on the restaurant’s thirtieth anniversary.

How life can be so very short and confusing…

We had delicious food, of course, watching the precious proprietor rush back and forth through the restaurant, seating his company and receiving hugs and condolences from close friends who had heard the awful news.

When we finished our sumptious dinner crepes, our Bananas Sara and our coffees, we met Germain at the front door on our way out. “God bless you,” I whispered into his kindly old face. “Thank you, dear,” he replied and planted a warm kiss on my cheek.

Lost in our private thoughts, we walked silently to the theater…

But this was just the beginning. Incredibly, the date night continued to go awry. You won’t want to miss the next story where Mother Goose continues to describe the strange details of this night…

Monday Reflection of Mother Goose

With the beginning of the school year upon us, Mother Goose hearkens back to days gone by. Often she contemplates the history of her children, their plans, her dreams for them and where they are today. Mother Goose just LOVES doing compare and contrast studies, even on her offspring.

I bring to you today, a document that Mother Goose has kept posted on the refrigerator or washing machine for the past ten years. I created it ten years ago in order to imagine where all of my goslings will be in the “next ten years”. The time has come to compare and contrast — plans, dreams and reality.

Crumpled plans…

When I made the chart, oldest daughter Jessi was in high school and the baby, AnnaRose, was not yet a year old. I listed out the grades that each of the kids would be in for that year and for the next nine years to come. This became a very handy tool when somebody would ask me, “Mother Goose, what grade will I be in when Adam and Erik are in 8th grade?” or “Mom, when Jessi is in college, where will I be?”

Everything went according to the plan until the school year 2005-2006 when Jessi didn’t go to college. Well, she went to college for a little while. We drove her to upstate New York and left her at a Bible College, but that didn’t work out. She soon returned on a train after spending the semester in the Dean’s office…

So then she was not in college until 2008, but I didn’t bother to change the chart because it was so charming to see how it was all working out.

Then the plans for Adam and Erik were all fine until the year 2010 – 2011 when they should have been Juniors in college. They decided to work for awhile and then they joined the U.S. Navy. And by then their older sister WAS in college, but not working. Fortunately the younger siblings have all stayed on track so far. They have been going to their correct grades and following the plans of their Mother Goose.

It seems that the children follow the plan very well until they reach the end of high school! And then they begin to make changes to reflect on their own hopes and dreams. Imagine that!

At some point, the offspring of Mother Goose become independent thinkers. For that, I am most grateful. I reach my wing around and pat myself on the back for raising these children to think for themselves. I am singing for joy, and honking in merriment that this bit of family history has been preserved for the generations to come.

Do you see the far right column where it says that the three older goslings would be working? Yes, they are working out just fine. Jessi is working and applying to a Masters Degree program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Erik and Adam are working for Uncle Sam as “nukes” in the greatest Navy in the world.

Here’s a proverb that seems to apply today:

“In her heart a goose plans the course of her goslings, but the Lord determines their steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (paraphrased…)

Love, Mother Goose

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