I am usually late wherever I go but this time I arrived early so I could check out the place a little and figure out where to go. I'd never been to the Depot. The lady at the check in desk said that nobody else had arrived yet but she pointed out the room where the party was scheduled to be. She said it was behind the train display which was under a huge glass enclosure.
Kids were standing next to the display watching the trains run. Another train was up on the ceiling. The track was on cut out plywood suspended with copper tubing from the ceiling. The Depot was full of people. People seemed to be milling about waiting for a table. Some young people stood around wearing evening gowns and suits. It made me feel like a fish out of water.
Around seven o'clock Teresa's mother showed up. I had forgotten how she is. She's a take charge kind of woman. She charged into the room with two little girls and a man in tow. She dropped a bundle of presents in the floor and began worrying aloud about where to put the birthday cookie.
I had been sitting at the end table on the side. One chair was situated at the end. I told her she could put the cookie there if she wanted Teresa to sit there. She began claiming all the chairs at the end of the table. As she touched some of the chairs she said her granddaughter could sit there and her grandson could sit across from her. Then she saved a place for the oldest little girl with her, and herself, then the other little girl. She pointed to chairs across from us and said where Teresa's sister and her husband were supposed to sit. By then I had lost interest because I had already lost my seat.
People began arriving and everyone grabbed chairs on the other end of the room at the other end of the table. So much for planning.
Teresa and her daughter arrived from the opposite end of the room. Teresa didn't even realize that she was at a party until everyone began singing Happy Birthday. She circled the table and said hello to everyone and walked on past the place at the end of the table. She came to sit beside me. I told her that her mother had saved the chair up there for her but she said she didn't want to sit at the end of the table. She wanted to sit near her friends.
Well knock me over with a feather. That reminds me of the parable of the guest who goes to a party and is wise enough not to presume to be too important. It is better to be sitting in the back and be called forward than to be sitting up front and asked to move.
The Depot had two young men to serve us and they were very nice and tried to keep our glasses full but the service was slow.The guys said it was a madhouse in the kitchen and everybody was running around doing something. Obviously, not cooking. I swear, they were slow.
A waitress came in carrying blooming onions and asked if we had ordered them. We said, "No, but we'll eat them." She said she might bring them back if she couldn't find out who was supposed to get them. We ended up getting three free blooming onions. Later she came in with some baby back ribs and we offered to eat them too. She must have found someone who claimed them though because we never got those.
The guys served the salads. Another lady and I sat at our table waiting for our food. I had ordered a hamburger. They brought some people's food and a little while later they brought a few more plates. The group at the end of the table were the last to be served.
Everyone seemed satisfied with their food except one woman who said her steak was too raw. They got her another one. Teresa's sister offered me a bite of her steak. She said it was marinated in Jack Daniels and was delicious. It certainly was tender but no wonder. I would be too if I'd been marinating in Jack Daniels. Boy, was it strong smelling and tasting.
All in all, it was an interesting experience going to the Depot but I wouldn't want to make it a habit. You can see trains outside the dining room windows which are right beside the tracks. Several trains went by while we were there. Little kids thought it was exciting. Pictures of trains were painted on the walls and around other areas of the Depot. There were some huge trunks sitting around and an original set of scales. Mirrors on the walls lined the ceiling in the main entrance. It would be interesting to read all the memorabilia but other than that and the too expensive prices I don't know what the big deal is. Maybe I'm just a Hardee's kind of gal.