Last Meal

We have all played the game at one time or another. Probably the question is asked after a big meal with everyone still sitting at the table. “What would you chose as your last meal in prison”. For me my answers have evolved over the years depending on the crime I committed. If the crime were minor and it was only an overnight, than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would suffice. If I was getting out after finally raising bail, than  three  Dorito Taco Bells tacos would surface. If I needed a lawyer, than lasagna with a side salad please. If it was a capital offence, and I had a bad lawyer, then I would check off the surf-n-turf  featuring lobster tail and filet. If however Rick Perry had become president and I accidently lost control of my car at a NRA Executive Board Meeting, and I had a bad lawyer, then it would be Indian food. It is the only food speciality that I now really get excited about. I’ve had assorted dishes over the years, but nine times out of ten I will order Chicken Korma and Peg will agree to share Spinach Palak. The mystery dish will always be Peg’s choice of entree. Always delicious. We save enough to have  leftovers for lunch the next day, and the server invariably has to wait and watch us dip just one more piece of Nann bread in one of the sauces before we allow all the dishes to be removed. It’s a sad sight, but we are rejuvenated once the “to go” bag appears and the reality of “tomorrow is another day for Indian food” settles quietly over our minds.

Many years ago a group of friends were celebrating Peg’s birthday at her favorite Indian restaurant of all time, Sitar’s in Albany NY. I offered a toast of an Indian blessing given to me from my foreign Nanny when I was just a small child which I had carried all my life and now thought it appropo for the moment.  I reached into my back pocket, pulled out my wallet, removed a small, tightly folder sliver of paper and began to read…” Kulfi rasomalai budum kheer gulab jamun gajar halive”;  Very roughly translated, “May you live with joy and happiness forever”. Everyone seemed moved and clapped loudly and offered their own birthday greetings. At the end of the evening, just before people started to leave, I offered an apology and explanation that I had hoped someone would catch my ruse. I never had an Indian Nanny nor did the piece of paper contain an Indian blessing. Earlier in the evening I had written down all the restaurant’s dessert names in their exact order on the menu, and folded and placed the paper in my wallet? The toast had roughly translated to “ice cream cottage cheese patties rice pudding milk balls shredded carrots with nuts.” Thinking about it now in hindsight, I was lucky that Indian dinner was not my actual last meal.


About Alan G Billingsley

My career has been varied, including time as a newspaper deliverer, lifeguard, bubble gum maker, door-to-door detergent promoter, telephone book proofreader, short order cook, private employment agency counselor and owner, office and credit manger, infantryman, pots and pans salesman, Chinese restaurant cook, Chinese restaurant owner, public employment counselor, budget analyst, tax analyst, grant administrator, radio announcer, radio and television show host, disk jockey, automobile valet, child advocate, and now retiree. I've seldom been bored.
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