Saturday, June 23, 2012

Beach Bound

Six years ago my friend Barb and I began a tradition of an annual girl’s weekend to Osage Beach. We stay at her parent’s condo and spend most of our time giggling like school girls. Since that time, we’ve only missed one year --when Barb so rudely decided to bear twins in favor of drinking a margarita lakeside.  To read about the first leg of our trip, click Goodwill Hunting.

As we headed southwest on Highway 54, Barb and I couldn’t help but recall happenings from getaways past.  Like the time we ignored our better judgment and allowed our stomach’s craving for Chinese food to lead us into a questionable establishment.  The name of the place, Asia Cuisine, should have tipped us off -- as anyone who starts a restaurant using a grammatically incorrect name, probably overlooks a host of FDA recommendations in the kitchen.   Upon entering the dark quarters I took note that we were the only patrons during what should have been the lunch rush.  We were greeted by a somewhat unkempt server who seemed to be sweating profusely in the air conditioned space.  Barb, never one to insult anyone, addressed him kindly as he took our drink orders and then disappeared into the kitchen.  While the minutes ticked by, I shared my concerns that based on our surroundings and server,  our cook probably resembled the one described in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  Barb told me to RE-LAX and everything would be fine. 

When our drinks arrived Barb immediately took a big swig of her iced tea and was rewarded with a crunch and slightly chewy sensation.  “Hmm…I must have gotten a piece of lemon,” she commented.  But, when she looked more closely at her glass she spied a partially dismembered fly floating in it.  Well, no need to hit us over the head with subtleties; Barb and I jumped up from our table and made a bee line for the door.   We’ve since made a pact to steer clear from Chinese restaurants in the land of Hee Haw.  And, to the owner of Asia – a better name for your Asian restaurant might be Fly’ed Rice.

While giggling over the debacle in Asia, I noticed a piece of paper protruding from Barb’s purse.  “What’s that?” I inquired.  Barb, a planner’s planner, prior to leaving, had had the forethought to trace each of her children’s feet onto loose-leaf, whereby assuring correct-fitting shoe selections for her small army of little people.  If trapped on a deserted island, she’s the one I’d want to have with me – always prepared for an emergency.  She’s the kind of person who carries a full first-aid kit complete with scissors, 18 different sizes of band-aids and a container of neo-to-go in her bag; while my poor kids when injured get a hug and my hot breath to blow on their cuts.  I wish Monty Hall from the game show, “Let’s Make a Deal” would come to town.  “Anyone from the audience have a binder clip?” Barb’s likely reply would be, “Did you want a small, medium or large one?  I also have them in black and silver.”  Suffice to say, she’d be pocketing Benjamin Franklins left and right!

Over the years, our annual escape has taken on a familiar, yet satisfying routine.  On the ride down we always stop at Taco Bell…or Taco Hell, as Barb calls it.  We eat there because it’s quick and since our kids hate it, we rarely get the opportunity to scarf down a 3 lb. burrito.  Mostly we go as it makes us feel young and reminiscent of our college days when a midnight “run for the border” was a regular occurrence.  However, the happy trip down memory lane is usually a short one and often ends about the time our middle-aged tummies are left to cope with the grease and urban legendary grade D meat.

Other trip traditions include getting pedicures and making a trip to Randy’s Frozen Custard…not to be confused with Andy’s Frozen Custard.  If you are familiar with the Lake of the Ozarks, then you know of the two competing custard stands.  I first discovered Andy’s in Springfield, MO while a college student and have no problem slurping down an Andy’s famous Woody P. Snowmonster.  Barb, on the other hand, wouldn’t be caught dead consuming anything from the franchised business that arrived at the Lake “A.R.” (after Randy’s).  Barb has history with Randy’s as she grew up coveting the mom and pop shop’s turtle sundaes.  I have no doubt she is their number #1 fan.  If I rifled through her purse, I bet I'd discover she's a card-carrying member of the Randy’s Custard Fan Club…in fact, she’s probably the president.

Our easy flow of conversation made the ride go by quickly and before I knew it, we had arrived at our destination.  As we unloaded the trunk, I couldn’t help but sigh upon entering our quiet, spacious, sticky-free, accommodations.  We both headed to our respective bedrooms, equipped with private bathrooms nearly the size of my bedroom at home.  After settling in, we each grabbed a couch and went to work…relaxing.  Almost as if on cue, my phone rang.  It was my husband.  “What are you doing?”, inquired Steve.  “Laying on a couch and enjoying my book,” I replied.  “What?” my husband responded somewhat appalled. “You mean you traveled 200 miles to do something you can do at home?” he challenged.

"Uh, which home…our home?  You mean the one we share with two little gremlins who think of me as a 24 hour service station?”  I retorted.  “Oh, don’t worry, the night is still young...and so am I!  Well, younger than you, anyway.   Just promise me you’ll feed the kids fruits and veggies, too.  Chicken nuggets are not a stand-alone meal,” I nagged.

That evening we grudgingly left our comfy seats in search for some dinner as we do not lift even a pinky finger for our meals while on getaway.  We settled on Italian food and stopped in a busy joint decked out in the country’s traditional red, white and green.  Barb and I agreed that after Asia, we would only patron restaurants filled to the brim with customers.  Make us wait!  We have all the time in the world – no sitters to pay or pre-dawn wake up calls from our little cherubs.

Since we had Taco Hell, earlier, we decided to split a five cheese and meat calzone so that we could save our calories for dessert; never mind that our lunch probably contained a week’s worth of calories and our divided Italian delicacy added up to more points than we cared to count.  We figured it would all come out in the wash.  Tomorrow our bodies would get a serious cardiovascular workout from all the shopping and excellent resistance training from the many packages we’d be toting.  In fact, the more we shopped, the better it would be for our overall least that was the story we planned to tell our husbands.

When our meal arrived, it looked and smelled amazing --savory meats and cheeses wrapped in a pillow of leaven loveliness.  We both commented to the waitress how big it was and how we just couldn’t believe the size of it.  She smiled and left us to it.  Seriously, we couldn’t seem to get over the size of the food.  Everything was huge including the rolls and our drinks.  The calzone was literally as big as your head! 

“What’s the name of this restaurant anyway?” asked Barb.  I shrugged.  Neither of us had paid any attention. “I’ve got to be sure to tell my folks about this place.  They would love it!” cheered Barb.  We then craned our necks towards the window to read the outdoor signage bearing the name, Biggies.

Now that’s a restaurant that really stands behind its name.

Click here to read about our 2012 Girls Getaway Adventure


  1. Oh I just LOVE reading these stories!!! I can picture every scene, as you so beautifully placed all your words to create the picture. I want a BIGGIES near me! YUM.

    SO fun!

    1. Thanks, Chris. Every mom needs a time out from the grind whether it be for a weekend or a few hours at a restaurant with her best girls.