Steak 'n Shake
Seasonal shoe shopping gifted me two afternoon excursions with my youngest daughters. My kids out-wear and outgrow their shoes just in time for the next season; their flip flops disintegrating just in time for sock weather (not that that’s any time soon in this part of the country).

Eating out with just one or two kids is a treat in a big family, and we step inside the cool of Steak ‘n Shake in all its retro glory like slipping into a flashback from Happy Days.

A dwarf meets us at the door and seats us (I later learn that he and I are the same age) and my daughters don’t bat an eye. I love the way they see the world, and imagine this amiable man prefers this.

Our waiter greets us, a fresh-faced Richie Cunningham with auburn curls, and I smile as the waitress at the table next to ours asks, “Can I get y’all anything else?” in a voice sweet as Southern tea.

On this magical evening the room teems with families; grandparents and grandchildren; and other mother/daughter dates. Six high school boys and somebody’s sister, neat and clean and smiling, sit nearby and I think one looks like the blond from One Direction. My girls disagree; they probably know best.

We squirt ketchup on long skinny fries and sip milkshakes, and my burger drips with fresh guacamole in this room that brims with happiness. “I wonder if someone’s eaten here so many times that they’ve used all their spoons?” my 10 year old ponders.

An old man laughs “Y’all have a good one!” as my youngest swings under the metal handrail next to him and pops up on the other side.

As we step back into the muggy summer night, I’m thankful for this moment—almost surreal—and my cherished time as mother to these sweet young girls.

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