Wine, Nerves and Basketball

It’s been a disturbing week.  I don’t know how to explain it in any other way than I have bitten off more than I can chew.

What’s new?

My husband says to me this isn’t anything new.  I’m just not content unless I am overcome with obligations and responsibilities.  I am sure you can psychoanalyze that any way you would like.

Because of this incessant preoccupation with life, I seem to be very nervous.  Nervous to the extent I don’t really act like myself, and to add the perfect timing, the restaurant has been incredibly slow.  So while I’m busier than a bee, On the Square isn’t, and when On the Square isn’t busy, Stephen and I get extremely nervous.

Maybe it’s just timing.  Maybe it’s just my body saying I’m not crazy about turning 35.  Maybe it’s the fact the restaurant has been really slow.  Maybe it’s just nerves.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Stephen and I dread the ACC tournament just as we dread the NCAA tournament.  It’s bittersweet for both of us.  Of all my favorite sports, college basketball is the one I love, as long as Carolina is winning.  Stephen being the superstar husband that he is, roots for UNC Chapel Hill and follows the players and the wins religiously.   I am so appreciative of this even though he didn’t pick the heels as the champion in his brackets this year.

Anyway, the restaurant is dead as in slow as hell during the tournaments.  As much as we want Chapel Hill to win (and I know I will lose a lot of readers as I write this), we almost want them to lose so that our customer base is recommitted to the restaurant.

Tonight, a Friday night, we opened the doors with 68 people on the books.  In case you’re not aware of what we like to see in our reservations, the ideal number is 120.

Instead of being a Debbie-downer, I opened a bottle of Domaine Bachelet-Monnot Maranges 1er Cru La Fussiere 2008.  A young Pinot Noir from the southern-most point of the Cotes de Beaune, I thought it might bring our restaurant some good luck for the night to come.

Cranberry, sour cherry and smoky smokiness, the wine tasted young yet pretty. It reminded me of the saying my aunt used to shout at us when my cousins and I would play at the beach:  “Look at that girl with the cute little figure, wait awhile boys ’til she gets a little bigger.”

The wine wasn’t omigosh yowsers, but it was absolutely perfect and pure, only waiting to develop to be fully enjoyed as it ages.  Just like your daughter who you want to wait before she goes out on a date, this wine should not be exposed for at least 3 more years.  O.K., call me an overprotective mother, but maybe you can try her in two years.

Unfortunately, besides Carolina and Duke both winning, I have no great news to tell you.    A 20-top didn’t walk in the door  and order every extravagant bottle of wine on our list.  Nor did a customer taste this age-worthy Burgundy and say they wanted to buy the entire case.

No, we served 72 people tonight, an all-time low for a Friday night in the history of On the Square.

I don’t know what was harder, having opened that bottle of Burgundy with no one to share it with or my husband coming out of the kitchen every five minutes asking me what was wrong in the restaurant, but I tried to be positive.

I’m not sure I did a great job of making everyone feel secure, but the bottom line is the kitchen was finished by 11:14 p.m., and it was time to go home.

I decided to have one more glass of Cava before leaving the restaurant with my good friend Ashley when I realized my husband (who had been down in the dumps all night) was gone.

He’s left me without saying a word, I thought.  What a creep!  (In case you thought I have ever used the word creep, I haven’t.  Creep is blog for asshole).

As I lock the restaurant and exit the back door, I hear movement and laughter and thumps.

Outside in the parking lot, the entire kitchen staff is playing street ball.  Stephen is telling d’Wayne to pass him the ball.  Miguel is holding his hands up for the pass.  Jesse, Anthony, Justin, Dustin and my sweet husband Stephen playing basketball in On the Square’s small parking lot, laughing and yelling.

Basketball ruined the night in terms of the restaurant making money yet it saved the night with a group of guys coming together to celebrate friendship and life.

The wine wasn’t ready, but the guys in the kitchen were ready for a little play time.

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  • Jim Sessoms

    Fear not Inie, the Dookies will be back tonight! Let’s hope the Heelers lay off another couple of weeks!

  • cynthia s. boylan


    BIG C

  • bobby bloss

    Was looking to see if these storms affected tarboro and found the blog. What a treat as I read them all. You are so talented and such a good writer. I miss you guys. Love bobby and valerie.