Garden of Olives

In one of the square states this past week we dined in an Olive Garden on purpose. The Olive Garden is democratic for the most part which is to say that each and every one of us carries around a latent hub cap for a half an hour while avoiding eye contact with people such as myself.

You can drink wine while you’re doing this but the people such as myself are still there and we’ll find you anyway.

“Make the most of whatever Hell you’re wearing.”

Cecil told me that in college. He was right about that and other stuff.

He’s still dead but dead don’t make you wrong.

I met a lovely Native American woman with blood tatoos on her arms. She’s a storyteller.

“In my tribe these lines get longer with generations because we drift farther from the truth,” she said, indicating the glorious ink on her hands and wrists.

“Beautiful,” I told her.

“It’s my destiny to carry the stories of the tribe until I can no longer bear them,” she explained.

“And then?” I asked.

“And then the tribe forgives me and moves on to a new storyteller.”

Feels familiar.

The hub cap buzzes to life – lights blink and children applaud.


“Very nice to meet you Mary,” I told her. “Don’t fill up on the bread sticks – a little white man secret.”

She laughed. “It’s no secret,” she said.

Well then.

15 thoughts on “Garden of Olives

  1. Rick Neece


    We dined in an Olive Garden the last week of 2011 in Fayetteville. After we were seated, the waiter flourished a bottle of wine, holding it like a baby jesus cradling its label head on one hand, leaning over Mom’s shoulder. She shook her head. He started telling her about it. Mom said no. Then he tried again. I thought no, dude, stop, you don’t know what you’re getting int…”We don’t drink!” Mom erupted.

    I glanced around the table. I believe there were more than a couple of us who would have taken a hit off that hooch.

  2. Sheila Ryan

    Ah, this is good. You know, I have never entered the Giardino degli Olivi. They have one across the river over in Dubuque. I think I need to go there. Never having eaten at an Olive Garden is kind of like not watching TV.

  3. Sheila Ryan

    The square states: Pretty much those that run down the middle, right? And their neighbors and then a couple that butt up against Mexico?

    Just testing my command of US geography.

  4. Sheila Ryan

    I also like “we dined in an Olive Garden on purpose.” More common, I gather: “accidentally” and “out of necessity”.

  5. Rick Neece

    My favorite:

    “In my tribe these lines get longer with generations because we drift farther from the truth,”

  6. Rick Neece

    Eating at an Olive Garden is kind of like eating Swedish-Italian food.




  7. Sheila Ryan

    . . . and maybe even to some who do.

    Okay, I gotta take a look at one of these places.

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