Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rumors and/or statistics about West Virginia fill the airwaves these days:
Only 16% of the population has a college degree;
and only a quarter of the population typically graduates from high school;
it's 95% white;
no Democrat has won the Presidency without winning West Virginia since 1920 something.

This is not the only time, besides coalmining mishaps, that West Virginia has made news. Turns out it's a West Virginian, Anna Jarvis who is responsible for the official recognition of mothers, on the second Sunday in May, on "Mother's Day". Anna was so put off by the commercialization of the holiday in the early 1900s shortly after its implementation, she went on a campaign to reverse it, to no avail. Today, many of us get sentimental cards prewritten by a stranger with our beloved offspring's signature appending it. Anna had long, hearfelt, handwritten letters in mind, and Mom relaxing for the day. Is it any wonder she died childless (and perhaps no accident)?

Services like OpenTable make dining out relatively effortless. You don't have to phone the restaurant for a reservation, just go to the site, pick the city, restaurant and time, the database susses availability and voila! In a matter of seconds, you have a confirmed reservation. No need for handwritten invitations or even personally-generated email to invite Mom to Mother's Day brunch, OpenTable does it for you! Here's the rub: for likely high traffic occasions, you might want to call the restaurant directly. I was escorted to Mother's Day brunch at the unseemly hour of 9:30 am, presuming the early hour was attributable to high holiday demand. When we get there, the white tablecloths on the unoccupied tables outside fluttered in the breeze; my pumpkin wondered if we were the first to arrive. I presumed not, but that it was too chilly to sit outside. Turns out, we were. Inside, two employees were laying out utensils and looked, baffled, at us, as we did likewise to them. "Brunch doesn't start till 11." A quick check of our printed confirmation revealed the 9:30 AM and not PM reservation. Ashtew presumed we had breakfast reservations, and after checking, said that we did, but the kitchen was closed. Frankly, I don't know what happened at Beacon Bar and Grill, but, FYI: call the restaurants directly. Carlyle Grand in Shirlington was able to accommodate us in short order.

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