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Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 01.12.07
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

Quest for fries

Abby loves french fries. With her dietary restrictions, it's a treat for her to get them, and we usually have to plan her other meals around it so she can have a good feed of frites at the end of the day.

So, when the three older kids happened to be away overnight last week, Deb and I decided to treat ourselves and Abby to a meal out in a restaurant. It was getting close to 6 o'clock by the time we set out.

"Are we going to get French fries now?" Abby asked in the car.

"Yes, but we have to get there."

"Are we going to McDonald's with the big slide?"

"No, we're not going to McDonald's. McDonald's makes Mommy barf."

Instead, we drove the fifteen minutes or so to one of the more popular eateries in the area. It wasn't our preferred choice but it had French fries, and that was a major consideration in our choice.

On our way, we passed a McDonald's. "I see the slide," Abby said wistfully. But she let it go.

We got to the restaurant and walked up to the door, Abby remarking on how she was going to have French fries, salt, and ketchup.

"Closed to the public," a sign on the door said. "Private party."

"Sorry, Abby. We'll go somewhere else."

"McDon…?"

"No."

We drove another fifteen minutes to a second restaurant, not too busy, and we were seated right away.

The waitress offered us drinks and even made a meal suggestion, which I took her up on. Abby was given the requisite crayons and colouring book. We enjoyed some conversation while we waited.

And waited.

A half hour went by.

"Where are my French fries? My stomach's making noises," Abby said.

"They're coming," we said, but we too were starting to worry. We watched a customer who had come in after us being served his food.

We finished our drinks. It was time to take steps. Phase one: make eye contact with waitress. But our waitress was a rare sighting.

By now, Abby - somehow managing to stay patient and polite - had crawled onto her mother's lap. People around us had come and gone. It was nearly an hour.

"Do I make a stink?" I asked.

"That's not us," Deb said.

A minute later, the waitress came over. "I'm sorry," she said. "But your order got lost. It just went in now."

"Now? Never mind. We're going to go. We'll just pay for our drinks."

We didn't really expect them to charge us for our drinks.

They charged us for our drinks.

"You should leave a tip," Deb said. "It may not have been her fault."

I left a small tip. In retrospect, of course it was her fault. She had abandoned us. Didn't even ask us if we wanted another drink. Didn't notice the moaning child on the woman's lap.

"What about my French fries?" Abby asked as we left the restaurant.

"We'll get you French fries, don't worry."

We headed towards a fast-food chicken joint, muttering about what we should have done and should have said and how we're not going back there and how we're too darn polite/timid.

Attached to the chicken joint was a Subway. "I don't feel like chicken. I'm going to get a sub," I said and walked to the counter.

"Umm," the server said. "I have to tell you that we're all out of sub buns."

"Are you serious?"

"We just had a bus come in."

I had chicken.

Two hours after we had set out, we were back home, sitting on our sofas, eating fast food off our laps and watching a rented DVD.

The french fries were cold.

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