Renee dropped me off in front of the bakery with the seven girls and then parked the van in a nearby garage. We got in line behind the 25 people, but were quickly asked if we had a ticket. No. Well, then, cross the street and get one. The guy is handing them out in front of CVS/ Office Depot. It's a good thing the predicted rain didn't come. It's a good thing the sun wasn't beating down on us. It's a good thing we were under an overhang for shade. It's a good thing the folks around us were in good spirits and not obnoxious complainers. It's a good thing there was a steady breeze and that there was a bottle of water in my purse. Had any of those factors been different, the wait would've been dreadful.
But there was also a very entertaining employee about 18 or 19 years old named Izzy who, despiite a speech impediment and thick glasses, was extremely self-confident and outgoing and really kept the crowd in a good mood. He divided us into two teams and promised he'd bring out 14 cannolis, and would award one to each person who answered a question about Buddy or the show correctly AND raised their hand. We had birthday girl Mary would watches the show all the time. Her question was "What is Buddy's real name?'" She knew it. (Do you?) Cannoli for Mary! She also got a free cupcake for her birthday.
From my vantage point in line, I just watched random people go up to the shop window and peek in, or pose for pictures. Isn't it fun to see what people choose to wear? Or maybe fun isn't the right word. Maybe you can substitute your own word choice.
At last we saw Buddy. Okay, not Buddy himself, but his likeness. Isn't he friendly looking?
And then we stood in yet another line, but at least we had cool pictures to look at.
Then came time to place an order. Everything looked so pretty, so yummy, so fattening. And nothing had a price tag because I'm sure that if people had to count both calories and cost at the same time, Buddy wouldn't have as much bread and butter. Besides, I'm sure that all the tourists must be thinking the same thing I was: "I'll probably never get back here, so might as well get everything I want now." So yes, Renee and I started in with the "I'll take one of this and two of that and three small of that and one large that....'
I ended up purchasing a sampling for the family: with a piece of tiramisu, a serving of strawberry covered cheesecake, a vanilla birthday cupcake with chocolate icing, two chocolate covered cannolis, a nut bar, two lemon biscotti, and a crumb cake. Everything tasted good, the cheesecake excellent, but the chocolate cannoli was the best, and I am not normally gaga about that dessert.
While waiting for our orders to be filled (which is an impressive display of self-control under pressure in that tiny, bustling, chaotic shop of cell phone paparazzi), birthday girl Mary got her picture taken with Buddy's sister Madeline and Grace. They are very warm and gracious, just like what you see on TV.
And then there is his sister Mary. She bustled in behind the counter like an entire gaggle of geese and honked out in her annoying New Jersey accent, "Does everyone know who Tim McGraw is? Well, this is his mother. She came to pay us a special visit today. Everyone say hi to Tim's mom." (Hi, Tim's mom.) Then my friend Renee' asked sister Mary if she'd get a picture with daughter Mary.
Well sister Mary ignores her and instead lifts the lanyard she's wearing. It apparently held a backstage pass to the concert that night. In a very "nanna nanna boo boo" voice, she exclaims, "I get to see Tim McGraw's show tonight." She might as well have added, "and you don't, ,so hahahahaha." Renee says later to me, "Isn't she just a little bit old to be acting like that? No wonder Buddy fired her."
Anyway, Renee's daughter Mary got her cake (I missed a picture of it). Vanilla and chocolate layer with purple fondant and flower-power daisies on the top and sides. It's called "Groovy" and tasted amazingly moist and flavorful. Even the fondant tasted so good I didn't realize until it was gone that I'd actually ingested something that usually tasted like sugared wax to me.
We ate lunch at Johnny Rocket's a few blocks away. My poor feet. What a blister I was developing on the pinkies, but thankfully my attitude wasn't starting to blister. My bladder, by contrast, was starting to throw a fit. Two and a half hours is just about its limit. I headed toward signs marked "Restroom" and couldn't help but notice how all the girls all looked adorable sitting at the red diner counter; I wanted to take a picture, but given the circumstances, what I wanted more was to do some de-briefing in the bathroom, and then come back to the table and kick my shoes off, Which I did. Sweet relief in more ways than one.
We ordered burgers, Philly cheese steaks, fries, Cokes, the typical Johnny Rocket's fare. Mary was clearly having a great time, as were all her partymates. A third friend of ours (who had joined us back in the CVS line when we first got there, sat and talked and talked and ate and talked some more. When the food was gone, we still just sat there. When your feet hurt and your back is tired and you're finally in air conditioning, and have washed up in the ladies' room, you kind of just want to sit on your launch pad for another rotation of the sun.
But alas, we decided that since we were so close to being able to see the Statue of Liberty, let's do that next.