This year's celebration was far more subdued--just a quick trip out for a lunch. Well, almost a quick trip. Events conspired otherwise.
To wit--as I drove along the PA Turnpike, two miles shy of the exit to reach the retirement village I encountered an Army convoy. Not too unusual; summer is the season when National Guards train, so we frequently encounter moving army trucks. However, this one had a most unusual cargo--golf carts. I am not kidding. There were about a half dozen trucks all carting (yes, pun intended) golf carts. I cannot imagine why.
When I got to my parents' cottage, I asked where my father might like to eat for his birthday luncheon. Mmmm, how about a friendly national chain restaurant? OK. So, we headed down the road for the brief 5 mile trip. Now, this road is undergoing extensive construction, so I keep alert for changing traffic patterns. I spotted an electronic sign that said: Road incident at intersection of XX and XX. Choose alternate route. No problem--I zipped off a fast approaching exit.
That dumped us onto a local road, that both my father and I know. But, I goofed and took the first right turn. No problem, I could think of a way to get to the friendly restaurant, albeit going about 2 miles out of the way. After a half a mile, I decided it made more sense to do a U-turn, then choose another road to get there. So, we turned around and headed back.
No problem. Except, no sooner had we turned on to a cross road to get us to the OTHER road that would lead to the friendly restaurant than we encountered a railroad crossing. With the safety arm lowering. With a train engine sitting just off to the right. Then, as we sat there, the train engine proceeded to maneuver back and forth several times, presumably shunting cars to and fro.
U-turn time again. By now, my father, step-mother and I were all more bemused than anything. Oh, never mind, my father said. Let's just go to the local steak house with a good soup and salad bar. It also has soft-serve icecream--vanilla, chocolate AND twist. And, this place is just a mile from the retirement village.
So, we did. We drove more than five miles, with multiple barriers to reach the closest restaurant.
But lunch was very nice. And the birthday celebration was just as fine.
See--getting there was half the fun.