Dinner With the Clampetts

It was new money, oil money, dirty money that led the Clampetts to pack up their truck and head to Californy. Anybody of a certain age either saw the original show (it ran from 1962-1971) or the reruns. Jed and his family were simpletons with crude backward ways. However, the Clampetts were decent moral people and a little smarter than Mr. Drysdale and the slick city folk gave them credit for. Despite all of this, there is no denying they were like fish out of the water.

SY, my younger son, attends two different preschools – in the morning he attends a religious preschool, and in the afternoon, he attends public school. This week is graduation week. My wife and I are very proud of SJ and wanted to celebrate this momentous occasion. So, I decided to take my family out to dinner. Now, this is a very big deal for us. Prior to this most recent occasion, we have gone out to eat together just one time. ONE TIME! We get take out once a week, and my wife and I go out to eat occasionally but as a family it has been only once.

There are many reasons for this infrequency. Firstly, I don’t love going out to eat. I know some people love going out to eat – my mother, for instance, thinks it’s the greatest luxury. Now, if I had cooked as many meals as she had for a family of six, maybe having someone waiting on me would mean more. My mother has conveyed to me that the joy of going out stems from being waited on and the relaxation that goes along with that. So my wife and I have always had the thought if the point of going out to eat is to relax, why bring the children? They don’t know how to relax without a television or some other form of entertainment. Therefore, when my wife and I do go out to dinner, it is alone and peaceful.

However, between SJ’s graduations, BR’s big day at school (an author celebration where each student read something they wrote aloud, and a competition where the 2nd graders defeated the 8th graders) and me completing another school year, we had a lot to celebrate. So, off we went.

SJ choose a restaurant that serves bagels and pizza – two foods the boys generally eat. Before we left, SJ kept requesting a snack. Though we were going out soon, he is not especially reasonable when it comes to food. So I gave him a snack and figured he would be calmer and refrain from constantly telling me he’s hungry. The first thing the boys saw when we entered the restaurant was the drinks, and of course, they wanted soda. We rarely let the kids have soda during the week, so this was a treat. After we placed our order at the counter, for BR a bagel and fries and pizza for the rest of us, we found seats in the corner and sat waiting for our food. The boys were content to sip their sodas (they had already mouthed the bottles while waiting for me to open them) as we waited for our food.

Within a minute of the food arriving, it began – the burping, that is. Not just a little ‘excuse me’ burping. It was table-shaking, glass-rattling, turn your head and look at the classless people in the corner burping. They must have burped 20 times in the 20 minutes we sat there. The boys actually tried – somewhat – to cover their mouths but their hands never seemed to get there in time or were not sufficient to stifle the monstrous sound. Thankfully, fighting was kept to a minimum – only one kicking match under the table which turned into ‘I hate you’ and my wife and BR switching seats. Then BR picked up a fry from the floor and ate it — “Why not? No one stepped on it!” he explained as my wife told him he should not eat food off the floor. Couple all this with my children’s inability to master an inside voice and it is no wonder the restaurant was near empty when we left.

As we left the restaurant my wife tossed over her shoulder, “The Clampetts are leaving now.” The boys said thank you – hey even the Clampetts had morals – and SJ asked can we go out again to a restaurant that has Coca Cola. I’m not sure I can handle all that relaxation.

8 thoughts on “Dinner With the Clampetts

  1. My boys are 9 and 11, and it is just now getting to a point where eating with them in a restaurant isn’t a horrific experience. They are still often too loud and far too whiny about the food on the menus not being to their liking, but they’re coming along. I figure that I can expect good table manners from them about the time they become sullen teenagers and refuse to speak during dinner. 😉

  2. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! This is hysterical and brings back so many memories. We rarely took our kids out for dinner; such a waste of hard-earned money. Wait, though, until they are older and burp on purpose. My Erik still thinks it’s kosher as well as amusing. 🙂 On a more serious level, cherish these moments. You will be glad you wrote them down.

  3. I totall agree, when my husband and I go out for dinner (which will be without kids, by the way this has only happened twice in as many years) I always see families with babies and toddlers eating out and I never understand why, it never looks like they’re having a nice relaxing time, you might as well save your pennies and have stressful meals at home surely!?!

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