Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Just Plain Weird

Warning: very long post but it is interestingly weird

Last Friday, while up north, Matthew and I felt like going out to eat for a fish fry. We had no idea where to go. We decided to hop in the truck and drive down the trail to check out a couple of the restaurant/lodges that we pass to get up the trail. My mom and dad didn't come along because they were staying at our lodge to eat supper. This adventure was solely for the four Rollis.

The first place we came to didn't appear to have anything so we continued on to Windigo Lodge on Poplar Lake. Looked like a nice place and the parking lot was empty despite it being Friday and the advertisement for a Fish Fry on their road sign. Good spot to bring two tired children. We shouldn't bother too many people with our somewhat crabby kiddos if we're the only ones in the place.

Well, we went in and had to walk up a very wide staircase as the restaurant and bar were upstairs overlooking the lake. Pretty view. Then it starts to get a bit unusual. It had to have been at least 90 degrees in there, no kidding. I couldn't believe there wasn't any A/C in the place. Also, it was almost chilly outside and none of the huge, beautiful windows were opened to let in the breeze. Hhhmmm? There were three tables that didn't appear to have been bussed in quite sometime, lunch maybe? Nobody greeted us or told us where to sit and there was a 14" TV in the dining room with a soap opera update show blaring. Normally, Matthew and I would have turned around and left by now but ... we were WAY up north and this was the only choice besides driving another 25min. back to the cabin with two hungry and tired children for PB&Js. We decided to tough it out and see.

We waited a good 5min. before we even knew for sure if anybody was even in the building. They were. A very kind yet frazzled girl appeared, apologized for the delay and took our beverage order. Matthew and I noticed that this girl was the hostess, waitress, bartender, cook and dishwasher. Yikes! Good thing we were her only customers. We got our beverages and looked at the menu. Just as we were about to order, a group of 12 non-locals showed up for a fish fry. Uh-Oh. Matthew and I felt bad for the girl and I said that I didn't think she was going to have any help. Matthew agreed and said maybe he could help her out. I sort of got tears in my eyes and we decided that after we ate I would go home with the kids and Matthew would stay and help out if he could and maybe my mom or dad could drive back down to pick him up. Good idea.

Robin, waitress/bartender/everything, was not having a very easy time with the big crew of 12. The tables in the restaurant only sat four at a time and so tables had to be moved together. The customers were trying to do it themselves while we were ordering. Robin went over to assist just as a glass candle nearly shattered on the glass table top that was being drug to the next table over. Robin did what she could but had to get to the kitchen to give the order to the cook, herself, and then pass out the menus to the new people. Not good!

I told Matthew that I think she needs the help now, not after we eat. It was agreed. So ... Matthew got up went to the kitchen asked Robin if he could help. I was expecting a NO but, I peeked in the kitchen and what did I see? My husband wearing a white apron with a big grin on his face. Yup folks, my Matthew used his previous short-order cook status to help out Robin at Windigo Lodge. Cool!

Robin managed to pass out the 4 available menus to the group of 12 and Matthew nosed through the kitchen to see what they had and where everything was located. Afterwards, I'm glad Matthew did our cooking as some of the stuff he saw back there wasn't so up to par. Our food literally got put on the back burner to get out the group of 12's appetizers. Isaiah received his pizza and Anna her pasta and I can't tell you how yummy Isaiah's pizza was. That boy raved and raved over the best pizza he ever, ever had. Wow, Papa makes the best food ever! Later I found out that the "homemade pizza" was made from refrigerated dough, Ragu spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella. I could make that at home. We'll just let Isaiah think Papa's pizzas come straight from Italy.

After we ate we knew it would be awhile so we sort of sat and waited and waited and waited. Well, that was fun now what? I decided to give Isaiah and Anna a crash course in table bussing. Yes folks, we bussed our own table and the other three which were left over from lunch. I cleaned the tables and Isaiah put out napkins, place mats and silverware. Anna watched from the highchair and bussed her tray.

When Matthew had sufficiently fed the 12 we were on our way. Robin was so thankful and gave us all articles of clothing from Windigo. That was really neat and if we ever go back up we'll probably always have a friend on Poplar Lake. Matthew said he might just do that again, for fun.


Carla said...

Oh, that was so cool! I love it! She needed help and you helped! Thanks, Rollis!

PS said...

I knew Matthew would step in! Good story.

erin said...

That WAS a good story! What a fun memory for your kiddos!

Kelli said...

Way to cook Matthew!

Way to bus, Katie and Isaiah!

Way to sit, Anna!

Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

actually that's just our family secret for eating for free ;)

not really we still paid to "help" out.

I truly think that's one of the highlights of the vacation. I also slept that night the best of the week.

-papa rolli

Anonymous said...

used to work there and knew robyn personally. the owner way overworks her underpaid staff and we could never keep up. it's a good thing that some people understand that the waitresses/cooks/housekeepers/bartenders/liquor store clerks/dishwashers/secretaries/any-other-job-you-can-think-of workers are doing their best with what they have and sympathize. i am sorry you had such a disappointing experience there. robyn was a hard worker but obviously couldn't accomplish everything at once. your husband was a good sport about the whole deal...

Katie R. said...

Why are you apologizing? That was the best part of our whole trip. It is one of our family's favorite memories. We had a blast. We felt bad for Robyn and were afraid the other group wouldn't understand how it is and that's why we all chiped in.

My husband is a small business owner and we know what it's like when only one person wears all the hats.

We loved Windigo and will return next time we're on the Trail.