The Sisterhood of the Traveling Shirt

We met for a little retail therapy and lunch encounter, low brow style, here in the reality show of south Arlington. Goodwill and The Broiler. The Saks of Goodwill, which is just around the corner, is an asset to my home assessment. The thrill of purchase without the agony of buyer’s remorse. Coupla smart cookies, we are. At least Melissa.
The Broiler is a beloved on-foot destination for the people in my hood. After 18 years living here, this certified greasy spoon, if they had spoons which they don’t, is beginning to eke out a little real estate in my heart.

The trick is, do not go for soft serve only, cause the grease smell will getcha and make your first lick icky. You must get a fix of fries and a sub first, then swash it all down with a cold, sweet, licking-sticky Mr. Twisty/Mr. Softee. Freezes the grease and  moves it through your system in small bits, rather than coating your ribs for a lifetime.

Good place to meet a real man, I’d say. I’ll say! They said, “No one has wanted to take our picture in a long time.” Nudge, wink, nudge, slurp. They looked happy and at home. Bet they have clocked some hours in that orange booth.
I used a napkin/bite ratio of 1:1, stashing the unladylike, reduced-to-transparency-by-grease, crushed and crumpled paper bits in the corner of the booth. They accumulate with a 6-inch sub. A diet of 12-inchers for a few months could clear a forest.

Just before we received our mushroom cheesesteaks with everything Melissa said, “I have a thing about crumbs.” Uh oh. I thing about crumbs. The bread was toasted crunchy. Crackin’. She ate it, neatly. Admirably neatly.

Shopping, I was in search of a white shirt for the first band concert of my son’s elementary school (what is called nowadays) career. Posh, this is not. It is elementary school, although he did want to look the part, lovely boy that he is. White shirt, black trousers, black shoes. I had scored a pair of incredibly fabulous black Doc Martens for him at the Goodwill, but the white shirt had not surfaced. What gives with that? I was devastated.

Don’t think there is a breed more resourceful than the breed of mothers on a budget. There is not. Melissa stepped in. Of course she had a shirt in her library. We took it out on loan.

The shoes, the fantastic, extra-thick soled Docs have been worn. Only once. They don’t stand a flip flop’s chance in a blizzard of making his regular shoe rotation. Too heavy, too many laces, too old school. But when he is grown, and sees the pictures?! He will know. He will know the lengths to which a mother will go. Miles and miles and miles, even in second hand shoes.

Thankfully the Broiler is in walking distance.


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