Jenna had warned me that she doesn’t like fancy restaurants, but I figured I knew best. She’s a princess who dreams of opulence and refinement. She also said she wanted to eat at an Italian restaurant for our date, so I tapped my social media network for recommendations. Suggestions poured in for quaint little restaurants in the Old Port, many of which I was not already familiar. I called them all, only to be told they would be closed on Christmas Eve, the evening we had planned for our date. Frustrated, we rescheduled to December 27 and I made a reservation for two at Piccolo on Middle Street.
After much thought and searching for fun things to do, we decided to go bowling at Bayside Bowl in Portland. They would open at 16:00, and I was pretty sure few people would be there as the weather was supposed to be snowy. I left work early and drove down to Saco to get Jenna for our date. The roads in town were treacherous, with wet snow falling heavily and piling up quickly. Fortunately, road crews had done a good job of clearing I-95N, so our drive north wasn’t bad. When we got to the city, though, things were different. Conditions were slippery and visibility was poor. The silver lining, of course, is that we would have the bowling alley to ourselves. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The place was packed! Every lane was busy with both large and small groups, and they all had nearly an hour left on their lanes.
Jenna and I put our name on the wait list. Since they weren’t taking reservations, we had arrived early for just this possibility. With it being so close to Christmas and in a storm, we didn’t have an alternate plan. We sat at the bar where Jenna ordered a ginger beer and I ordered a Siesta cocktail. The conversation was slow and difficult, as it had been on the drive up. I know it always takes Jenna a while to relax and feel comfortable, so it was okay. While we were sitting at the bar talking, we calculated the time at which we could no longer accept a lane and still make our 19:30 dinner reservation. We gave ourselves ten minutes to drive to the restaurant and thirty minutes to bowl, which meant that if we didn’t get a lane by 18:45ish we wouldn’t be able to bowl. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
When we were finally offered a lane, we quickly got shoes and balls, as we had planned. I put our names into the computer while Jenna put on her shoes. The bowling was a lot of fun. Jenna did better than ever, rolling most balls straight down the lane. She was obviously having a good time, and smiling quite a bit. She also frowned a lot when her ball did not roll the way she had intended. Jenna does not like imperfection.
After we had rolled one game we turned in our shoes and left. We found a parking space on Middle Street and began looking for Piccolo. I held Jenna’s hand as we trudged through the heavy snow and slush, and at the end of the street we finally came to the place. We walked in and the waitress seemed as if she was expecting us. She showed us to the coat racks where we removed our coats, then we took our seats at the small empty table against the wall in the middle of the restaurant.
We ordered a cheese and bread tray, which was nice, if unusual. The cheese samples were tiny, which was fine, and ranged from hard and crumbly and sour to soft and creamy and sweet. The breads, likewise, were a choice between a hard, dry, dark selection and another that was light and soft.
I had ordered the rabbit and Jenna the lamb. I enjoyed both entrées, but it was a bit much for Jenna. Her lamb was chewy and a bit too foreign. I felt bad. I really wanted to show her a good time and for her to feel special, but she wasn’t really enjoying her meal.
As the night progressed, so did the conversation. Jenna opened up and told me about school, her sisters, boys, etc. It was very nice to sit with her, enjoy her company, and get to know her better. By the time we had driven halfway home, she was talking non-stop and asking me lots of interesting questions. I have learned to be patient with Jenna, because the wait is well worth it. When she feels like talking, the conversation is quite good. We had a great time, and with the exception of her not liking her meal, our date was a big success.
Festibond 2013 – My date with Dad
Jenna Danler, Danler.org, January 4, 2014