Sunday, June 8, 2008

Quebec City for Four

Dee Dee, my father, his girlfriend (Carla) and I decided to spend a Labor Day weekend in Quebec City. We drove up in my car, stopping overnight in Watertown, Maine.

This was the third time I had done this, having gone once with Marylou and once with Dee Dee. All three times I stayed at the same hotel in Watertown and the same motel in Quebec. I'd recommend them to you, but I no longer have any clue about their names.

Speaking of recommendations, if it's still there you should have lunch or dinner at Chalet Suisse, a small fondue restaurant in downtown Quebec City. Or at least you should have thirty years ago.

On Saturday Dad and I took the girls for carriage rides. My best advice to you is that if you're going to do this in Quebec City in September, bundle up. Our teeth were chattering when we finished.

Somewhere along the way Dee Dee jumped out of the carriage for a minute and bought some candy from a vendor. She had a sweet tooth that wouldn't quit. After the rides we all did a little sightseeing and a little shopping, then returned to our rooms. The minute we got into our room Dee Dee began unwrapping some candy. I sighed and watched.

"What's the matter?"

"Dee, you know you don't eat much as it is. We're going to a nice restaurant and if you eat candy now you won't eat at all later."

"Oh, I'll eat it all, I promise."

She kept unwrapping, finally stopped, and said, "You're gonna be mad if I eat some, aren't you?"

"No, just irritated. I'll be furious later when you don't eat."

Silence, followed by the munching of candy. She offered me some.

"No thanks. I'm having dinner soon."

This made her irate, which I found very funny, and soon she was the one who was annoyed and I was the one who was having a good time.

There came a knock on our door, and I let Dad and Carla in. One look at the storm clouds on Dee's face and they knew something was wrong.

Dad: "What's the matter, Dee?"

Dee: "Oh, he's mad because I ate some candy. But I'm gonna eat all my dinner."

This, by the way, almost certainly would have been a first. Dee was a light eater, and I doubt that she had eaten "all her dinner" since the day she was born. But as I said, I had now shrugged it off and was in a good mood.

Donnie: "Dee, will you carry an extra pack of my cigarettes in your purse?"

Dee: "NO!"

Donnie: "If you'll carry my cigarettes I'll carry your candy." Then I collapsed on the bed, laughing. Dad laughed, and Carla, knowing that Dee needed an ally, had to bite her tongue and turn her back to hide her smile.

Naturally, at dinner, Dee ate about three bites. Astonishingly, she was actually surprised that she couldn't eat "all" of it. She looked up at me with a truly apologetic expression. "It's OK, Dee. Don't worry about it."

A couple more "Dee in Quebec" anecdotes:
  • On Sunday the four of us had lunch at a modern family restaurant just outside the city. Carla and I spotted a luscious looking dessert on the menu, "Hot Fudge Lucerne," an obsecenely concocted, stroke inducing, ice cream kludge, with a hot fudge sundae as its base. We both ate lightly and then ordered that dessert. Dee, perhaps as penance, did not. But . . .

    Monday morning we agreed to stop for breakfast before beginning the long drive home. For Dee, nothing would do but that we stop at that same restaurant for breakfast, and while the rest of us had eggs, pancakes, or whatever, she had the Hot Fudge Lucerne.

  • On our previous trip to Quebec, Dee and I decided to use the motel swimming pool. When we got out there, there wasn't another human in sight. Just before we entered the water, Dee spotted a frog in the pool.

    Dee: "I'm not going in the water with that frog in there."

    Donnie: "He won't hurt you. He'd probably feel the same way if you'd gone in first."

    Not one step toward the water.

    Donnie: "Just use the other end of the pool."

    That worked. In she went, floundering around and enjoying it.

    Dee, testily: "What's he doing in here anyway? Frogs aren't supposed to be in swimming pools."

    Donnie: "I'd guess he can't get out. The water's too far below the edge of the pool."

    Instantly - instantly - her expression changed from one of annoyance to one of sympathy and concern. She dogpaddled over to the frog, came up under him with her hand, and set him on the ground. He hopped off without so much as a "Kiss me, I'm a prince."

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