Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sarah's Olive Garden

Sarah had been named after Abraham's wife, Sarah, from the book of Genesis.  So, as she was growing up, her mother used to read her Bible stories about the amazing Sarah, what she had endured, and how special she was to God.


Sarah's mother was quite the story teller, so she began to embellish the stories and describe Sarah's special retreat where she sought solace and renewal at those times when Abe got to be a bit much.  Like when he was carrying on with Hagar when Sarah knew all along God would not abandon her.  And look at all the trouble that tryst with Hagar has caused ... to this day!


The point was that Sarah had this special refuge in a lovely olive garden she had cultivated herself over the years while Abraham was off doing "guy stuff."  She always went to her special olive garden to renew her spirit after particularly difficult times.  Not just with Abe, but the whole primitive set-up back then in umptee-ump B.C.

Our contemporary Sarah is all grown up and actually just retired from her fabulously successful career in the fast-paced marketing field competing with such slick guys as Don Draper  and his grey-haired side-kick who got his best ideas when hallucinating on LSD.  It was a hard life, especially for a woman, but Sarah was a pistol and bailed out after getting her last CLIO award.

So now ... Sarah is a retired woman of a certain vintage.  Fortunately, unlike men who just get old, women are like a fine wine and get better with age.  More witty and charming and articulate on practically any subject.  That's partially because the foolish men think Viagra is the answer, when in fact, if they would improve their mind and expand their knowledge of something other than sports or erections of man caves they'd be ever so much more appealing.

However, like everyone else, Sarah has good days and bad days.  And, as her namesake, she spends both the "UP"days and the "DOWN" days at her own olive garden ... which is actually an extraordinary chain restaurant coincidentally called The Olive Garden.

The multitudes also flock to her special retreat because the food is so fabulous.  Everyone orders the bread sticks which are FREE -- and simply to-die-for.  There is a hint of sweetness in the dough, and they slip just the right amount of butter inside of them and some magical stuff on the outside.  So, no one can "just have one" and your fingers are shiny with heart-healthy olive oil.
Then there's the entrees, which are numerous.  Some of the best are the short ribs in Marsala with tortellini (that they don't carry anymore, but WE can change that, can't we?!).  It has portabello mushrooms, but if you are unable to eat mushrooms for some reason, they will give you more of the melt-in-your-mouth short ribs. 
Or there is the Tour of Italy which is divine and has three different Italian favorites:  Chicken Parm, the ever-so-healthy Fettuccine Alfredo and the best ever Lasagna.  All on one HUGE plate for a surprisingly low price.  And ... if the diner has very low cholesterol, he/she can order extra Alfredo Sauce which they bring in an oval bowl with no spoon ... so you just pour it all on at once.
One other entrée that is off-the-chart delicious is the Filet Mignon, especially when grilled to perfection and served with garlic mashed potatoes, slathered with Creamy Marsala Sauce.  AND ... they will even bring you an extra helping of the Marsala Sauce, which is surely the nectar of the gods.
They have an extensive appetizer menu, but an outstanding choice is a double order of the Mozzarella Triangles (not wimpy sticks) which are prepared after you order them ... so they come to the table steaming hot.  Then, when you cut into one with a fork, they are so full of cheese that it oozes out and you find yourself scooping it up with the tines of your fork lest a single particle remain on the plate.  They come with Marina Sauce or Ranch.  Although the first bite should be in its natural state in order to savor the essence of the perfection of this simple fare.
Our Sarah, however, is certainly not one of the masses.  Our Sarah normally dines alone except for the time she was accompanied by her friend who helped her pick up the gorgeous walnut and cherry 36 string lever Dusty Strings harp.  Since they survived the Parade in Seattle for the Triumphant Seahawks, they ordered so many different items, the table was covered with delectable food.
Other than that, Sarah dines alone.  She celebrated filing for divorce with a double order of Mozzarella Triangles and a glass of Prosecco.  When she drove her new car off the lot, she headed right for Olive Garden, of course, and that day lunched on the fillet that melted in her mouth and filled her with even more pleasure than she thought possible.
But it is the memory of the last time Sarah sought refuge at her local Olive Garden that will forever remain in her mind and heart.  Something awful had happened to Sarah and she was devastated.  It was difficult for her to even drive with the tears that flowed from her broken heart.  But she made it.
As always there was a crowd waiting in the lobby to be seated, but the crowd parted for Sarah as if she were Moses and they were the Red Sea.  Barely able to speak, she told the hostess that she had a terrible day and needed a small private place and could not possibly wait.  The hostess was so touched by Sarah's plight that she guided her to the one remaining booth in the Lounge where thankfully children are not allowed.
Then she called over the waiter, Christopher, who looked as if he stepped out of the pages of GQ, and he took over with the practiced ease of a true gentleman.  He sat across Sarah for a moment, eyes filled with sympathy (although just the sight of him had already perked her up) and he took her order ... which is never simple because Sarah has complex tastes.
Because of her broken heart, Sarah decided it was a situation that deserved a chilled Sapphire Martini straight up with olives on the side.  Well ... Monica, the bartender ... performed some kind of magic with ice crystals and presented Sarah with the best Sapphire Martini she had ever had -- including the one at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco.  The ice crystals were subtle yet the martini was perfectly chilled.  After taking the first sip, Sarah thanked all the deities she could think of and then slipped Monica a well deserved tip for her magic.
After Sarah was feeling loved and safe and renewed in her Olive Garden on that special night ... Tatiana the manager came over and knelt next to where Sarah was sitting.  She expressed her deep and genuine sympathy for whatever had transpired that evening and then gave Sarah a hug.  And even arranged transportation home for her with a sweet, handsome young Opera Singer, Jared.
Can you imagine getting that kind of treatment from any eating establishment?  Of course not.  Because Olive Garden is not "just" a restaurant ... it is Sarah's refuge and source of solace and place of celebration ... as it has been since that very first Sarah waited around until God bestowed upon her a fine son, Isaac, who went on to have a significant life.
The only confusing part for me as the narrator of Sarah's story is why all the big to-do over a son.  I mean a daughter is ever so much better!  But back then, the world was run by men, who screwed it up even worse than they're doing now. 
Fortunately we are on the verge of the New Order of Things, marked by the Return of the Glory of Women which will bring peace and prosperity to all the people of the world.  Amen.

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