Anyway, it was our weekly Saturday routine, and we had ordered cheeseburgers and vanilla shakes. It was a special treat because we did not mix meat and dairy at home – ever! We kept a Kosher house with three separate sets of dishes – one for meat, one for dairy, and one for Pesach (Passover). I could never understand why we did this since Dad rarely went to synagogue with me. I used to complain that our religion was the religion of the dishes.
We were begging for another quarter to play the little jukebox when, all of a sudden, Dad was standing by our booth. We had not seen him come into Barson’s. He thought he’d surprise us – happened to be in the neighborhood on the way home from an appointment – and spotted Mom’s car. Just then the waitress came and put the plates of cheeseburgers and milkshakes on the table. Dad wore an I-don’t-believe-my-eyes look on his face. He shook his head in disgust, turned around, and walked out without a word.
Suddenly, my sisters and I were not hungry anymore. We started to sob and pushed the plates away. My mother looked at us and commanded that we eat the food we had ordered. But as hard as we tried, we could not force the food down our throats. My mom sat there, eating her cheeseburger and enjoying her milkshake (or trying to). She took her time, and finally motioned for the check. Mom paid the bill, stood up, and said curtly, “Let’s go, girls.”
Walking out of the restaurant, I could feel my mother’s anger. I couldn’t decide what was worse – my father’s disappointment that we would mix meat and dairy, or my mother’s silent anger for wasting perfectly good food!