On Friday morning, we headed for home, starting off our day with breakfast at iHop, which turned out to be a tactical error. We could have had breakfast at our hotel, but we (I) thought it would be cheaper if we went to iHop; it turned out to be twice as expensive. Sigh.
But the kids enjoyed it.
Our destination for that evening was St. George, Utah. It turned out to be one of the most magical evenings of our trip.
We pulled into our hotel around 4:15 local time, which was perfect for allowing the kids to have a swim after being cooped up in the truck all day. After a couple of hours, during which time I was able to catch up in my journal a bit after neglecting it all week, we headed across the parking lot to the Black Bear Cafe - a place that had been highly recommended in my new bible (Trip Advisor) and which was very popular among the locals, always a good sign.
This dinner turned out to be so much fun. Perhaps I should start with the wine, which Mark decided to order with dinner. The first indication we were back in Utah was when the server said, "I'll have to get my manager because I can't serve alcohol." A few minutes later, a very jolly middle-aged woman came up to the table to take our order. We weren't interested in the few varieties they sold by the glass; we wanted Pinot Grigio (a dry Italian white wine). We asked if there was a wine list. "Sure!" she replied, a big smile on her friendly face.
She shortly returned to the table with a piece of paper in a plastic sleeve, which was obviously their "wine list." Pinot Grigio was at the top of the list, available only by the bottle, so we said we'd have that. "Oh," she said, "that's a good choice because it's much cheaper than by the glass. Plus what you don't drink, you can cork and take with you!" She went on for a bit about how we could cork it, emphasizing, however, that we weren't allowed to have an open container in our car. "That's what's great about this: you can cork it!"
Okay. Yeah. We're back in Utah.
A few minutes later, the jolly manager returned with a bottle which she opened, then poured a glass which I handed to Mark, determining in the process that this wine was very obviously not chilled. "Um," I said, "this wine is not chilled?" "Oh ... no," she replied, a slightly vacant expression on her face. "Would you like it chilled?" "Yes, please." "Ok, I'll be right back," leaving me to wonder how she was going to be able to chill a bottle of wine in a couple of minutes.
When she came back with a (new) obviously chilled bottle, we politely explained (recognizing that she was no doubt a very faithful Mormon who had never had a glass of wine in her life) that white wine is always served chilled. "Yeah," Mark chimed in, mischievously, "it's like you don't drink your Bud warm." The manager laughed and said, "That's for sure!" We knew it was highly doubtful that she'd ever tasted Bud.
From that point, we proceeded to have a wonderful dinner. The kids were jolly and started telling jokes, some of which were actually quite funny. We were all laughing and having a great time, oblivious to the fact that we were a family comprised of a gay couple and their three children at a family restaurant in the heart of Saint George, not caring or even noticing (much) what a novelty we must have been to many of the other diners. It was fun.
After dinner, it was back across the parking lot to the hotel, where the kids got back in their swimsuits and Mark and I headed down with them to the pool. They were having so much fun. The full moon was brilliant against a blue sky, deepening in hue as the sun set. It was a beautiful night. A magical evening.