28 August 2006

Memory Building

After a few very tense days and another late, sleepless night, this blogger was hungry. Four AM dining options in the city are relatively few and my disdain for eating alone is well known.

I used to be a conscientious parent-putting my kids' wants and needs before my own. My every action was based upon what was in their best interests. Last night? Not so much.

With a few gentle pokes and insistent whispering I woke my younger daughter, totally disgregarding the fact that she was due at school in just under four hours with a social studies test looming shortly thereafter.

"Psssttt....hey! Are you hungry?" Her eyes barely open and most certainly not focused, she looked at me like I'd just asked if she would be willing to axe-murder a small child. "I know where there's a twenty-four hour McDonald's and we can get french fries!" The idea seemed to be catching on. She fumbled for her shoes as I shushed the canines, also roused from sleep by all the activity. We started to laugh, suddenly aware of the absolute absurdity of the scene.

She loved seeing St. Louis at night. Without much traffic, we could roll through the streets with ease and enjoy the lights of post and moon. Alas, the Mickey D's was only "open late" and not round-the-clock. On the way to our backup plan of the Courtesy Diner, we discussed throwing pebbles at the apartment above the Royale and treating SFS to a little sleep interruption of his own and lamented our lack of bathroom tissue, for decorating his purple neon sign seemed like a fun idea as well.

The kid couldn't quite punch in the numbers of the jukebox correctly and instead of listening to thirteen-year-old girl music, we jammed the the shredding guitar solos and raw vocals of some, unknown, eighties rock. The cook, a younger lad with a K-Fed demeanor and look, nodded appreciatively at her music selections.

We giggled and shoveled cheese and eggs into our mouths. We shivered in the meat-locker temps of the Courtesy Diner. We agreed that those wee hours were well-spent, U.S. geography be damned.

Nobody recalls what her birthday present was last year. And those astronomically expensive Nike shoes from a few months ago are kickin' it somewhere at the Goodwill. But, I have to believe, she'll remember for a long while the time her crazy mother took her to a grubby diner in the middle of the night.