Our daughters, Blunderbuss, Musket, and Scuttlebutt all lead fairly charmed lives. Like a depression-era fairy tale, they are provided with a chauffeur (their mother) and a butler (me). When the chauffeur takes one or two of our daughters away for the day to purchase shoes for a fancy dress ball (often referred to as a prom), the butler (me) has an expanded set of duties. Instead of my usual “butler-ing”, I might also chauffeur around town, butler in areas beyond my usual job description, and do a greater degree of meal preparation. It’s how being a butler works. I know this from watching hours of Downton Abbey.
Saturday arrived as expected, a day of sunshine and low wind between Friday and Sunday. As planned, the chauffeur was going to take Blunderbuss to buy shoes for her fancy dress ball (often referred to as a prom) in the nearest large community where such shoes were sold. Sensing the opportunity for adventure and chicken nuggets for lunch, Scuttlebutt signed on as second mate. One other stowaway, “she with limited phone privileges”, also tagged along. The allure of the fancy dress ball and the desire for new shoes is hard to turn down.*
Musket and I were left to fend for ourselves. In other words, I became Mr. Belvedere for a day. Does anyone remember Mr. Belvedere? (He was English, a butler, jovial, and always seemed to know what to do.) Dinner time rolled around and it became clear, I didn’t feel like cooking for the two of us. I asked Musket if she wanted to go out to eat. Of course, but like all the discerning women in our family, her palate was honed in the underground dining scene of Belfast and Dublin. “I want chicken tenders but I prefer,” and she proceeded to tell me her favorite chicken tenders within walking distance.
I’m a butler, father, and chauffeur. This evening, her decision was mine. Shortly after the meal arrived, we were both enjoying our food; her chicken fingers and my buffalo wings. Our waiter dropped by the table and asked, “How are you enjoying your chicken?” “Fine,” I said, “It’s great”.
Musket looked a little confused, “Why did he ask if you were enjoying your chicken, I thought you were having Buffalo wings?”
“What?” I asked. “I thought you were having Buffalo wings,” she said. “Aren’t they made of buffalo?”
All this time, my child has thought I’ve been eating buffalo. Dear God, Forgive me for all the buffaloes she believes I’ve eaten and been complicit in their slaughter. I’m OK with being linked to eating chicken meat for culinary pleasure. Amen.
*Despite the movie Frozen’s massive popularity and its emphasis on running away from parties and living alone in ice castle, fancy dress balls are huge with people who’ve seen and know all the words to Frozen.