Nana’s Birthday Cake
By Bob Kaku –
The dramatic ocean vista blended with the cerulean sky when we arrived in Malibu, a popular coastal town lined with inviting shops and trendy restaurants. My wife, Gail had decided on the spur of the moment to take her mom, Nana, out to dinner for her birthday on a bustling Labor Day week¬end. Four of us, including Gail’s dad, Mas, arrived in town late Saturday after¬noon.
Restaurants were already crowded at five o’clock as we cruised up and down Pacific Coast Highway. We didn’t have reservations. We didn’t have a restaurant selected. We didn’t have much time. Mas, a diabetic, had to eat at regu¬lar intervals, or he’d become sick from low blood sugar. He had already grown weak.
“Just stop any¬where,” he pleaded. “A hamburger is okay.”
“Jesus, please guide us to a restaurant,” Gail cried out. I was about to drive into a hamburger stand when she said, “Let’s find another place. We can order some appetizers for Dad while we wait for a table.”
At that moment, a water¬front restaurant came into view. Gail pointed. “Let’s go there.”
I rolled my eyes. We’ll never get in there. We pulled into the packed parking lot, and Gail jumped out of the car to put our names on the waiting list. We maneuvered our way into the crowded restaurant. “It’s a ninety-minute wait,” she said.
Before we had a chance to order appetizers, the hostess said to Gail, “A booth just opened up. Do you want it?”
Her face became animated. “Yes! We’ll take it!”
The hostess seated us in the terraced dining room where every table had a spectacular ocean view. Aromatic scents of steak and seafood permeated the air.
A few minutes later, the waitress brought a variety of steamy, freshly baked breads to our table. Mas began eating immediately. Thank God! He’s out of danger.
After we finished our scrumptious dinners, another wait¬ress whizzed past our booth to a nearby table carrying a large piece of mud pie with a candle aflame. The party at that table burst out singing, “Happy Birthday.”
“I wish I could have a birthday cake,” Nana said.
We told her we’d order one for her. But before we even had a chance to place the order, out of nowhere our waitress brought the same cake to our table.
“Who ordered the cake?” I asked.
We looked at one another nonplussed.