COVID-19 · food · Hershey · slice of life

Dinner Disaster #SOL20

Isabelle snapped this photo of Marc and I before the trouble began. (Btw: If you look in the background, you can see the Kiss-shaped street lamps, which line the streets in Downtown Hershey.)

Our favorite restaurant only accepts reservations for indoor dining, not patio seating. Therefore, we felt like we hit the lottery when we managed to get a patio table on Saturday night. The kids were thrilled to don their masks to march from the hostess stand to our patio table, which overlooked Cocoa Avenue and the monorail from Hersheypark (where they haven’t been in months).

Everything was going well as they devoured their biscuits. Marc and I played Uno with Ari while Isabelle colored. No one complained about the food taking awhile to come since we were dining at Devon!

Two minutes after the food arrived bees swarmed the kids’ grilled chicken and French fries. Each of them had a predictable reaction:

  • Ari, who was stung by a bee last year, declared, “Don’t eat my grilled chicken!”
  • Isabelle shrieked — repeatedly. Not even firm pressure on her shoulders could calm my bee-phobic daughter down. I advised her to stand away from the table while Marc and I tried to determine how we’d eradicate the bees and save dinner.

I didn’t want to engage in bee swatting for fear one of us would get stung. I kept peering over my shoulder to check on Isabelle whose body was stiff. She was wailing about the bees in a way that hurt my heart.

You know what we did, right?

We asked our server for the check, boxed up all of our food, paid, and ate in the back of the minivan.

Three of us tried to make the best of it. However, Isabelle whined about not having enough room for her legs on the picnic blanket. (She is 4’3” so her complaints frustrated us since the rest of the over five feet crew were fine!) I looked her squarely in the eye and said, “We love you. That’s why we left the restaurant. This isn’t an ideal situation. This isn’t the dinner any of us wanted. But, you have to stop complaining!”

She sulked in her corner of the minivan for several minutes while the rest of us ate and chatted. Eventually, she enjoyed the family banter and put a smile on her face.

We aren’t eating indoors these days because of COVID-19. We will only do socially-distant patio seating, but it’s hard when your child detests bugs and gets upset if there’s so much as a gnat near her. So… perhaps this Saturday night we order take-out and sit at our dining room table.

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17 thoughts on “Dinner Disaster #SOL20

  1. Sometimes I think these smaller Covid disasters take on a greater impact because of the accumulation of all we’ve losses or missed. Maybe having Hershey Park in sight was a reminder of how things are so off. Plus stinging things are pretty scary.

  2. Thanks for sharing your dinner moment. Photo of the happy mom and dad who happily scoredthe patio table to stay outside and safe. Then the trouble…bees and moody child. Your slice is so real. We’ve all been there. One minute, it is all calm and peace. The next, not so much. Your piece perfectly describes parenthood.

  3. Sorry that the bees ruined your outdoor restaurant visit. Perhaps after awhile the kids too can look at the memory with an adventure perspective and tell it as a creative problem solving story. And hopefully they just remember the tasty food more than anything else.

  4. Love this story. Like you we are only eating on patios – A birthday celebration at a local seafood place was interrupted due to impending – and surprise – thunder storm. We ate quickly and said happy birthday within minutes!

  5. Adventures like picnics in a van are always more fun when they are the original plan and not the consolation prize. These days, everything feels like a consolation prize. Sounds like you saved the day as best you could, and in the end all was well. 🙂 Stacey 1 — Bees 0.

  6. Just this morning my fiance brought back cinnamon buns, and we decided to eat on the patio. A bee would not get off of his bun and was mad that we were swatting at it. We did not get stung, but we did eat the buns inside the house.

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