Thanks to some magical electric spark in the fabric of time, Karina, Mary and I all arrived at The Good Dog within seconds of each other. Our previous and only other business lunch at this fine establishment occured on the eve of my monthlong excursion to most points north and west of Philadelphia, back in the giddy days of Emily's membership in Lunch Club and smoke-filled barrooms. Today we sat at a booth towards the back, ordered beer and more beer from a deliteful lady with Shirley Temple locks, and watched as the number of bar patrons diminished from twelve or so to just us three in the blink of an eye. A surprisingly appropriate Rolling Stones mix was playing, not too loudly for once in our lives.
Most business lunches the nation over must be consumed with talk of Thanksgiving these days, and ours was no exception. Mary had just returned the night before from Wisconsin, where the men are bearded and Republican, the women drink too much, and the fourteen year olds get cars before they get driver's licenses. Her apparent exasperation with all things family-related made me even more proud and glad that I had spent the holiday, along with Karina, in the family-less realm of Durham, North Carolina, and even more insistent that I never spend another Thanksgiving day with my family, much as I do love the folks. Seriously, once you've spent Thanksgiving night eating free turkey and mashed potatoes in a bar and impulsively rearranging the letters on a McDonald's sign to say something both lewd and nonsensical, you'll never want to go back to watching your drunk relatives embarrass themselves and stating, over and over again that no, you do not have a boyfriend.
Mary ate a half salad whose gigantic side made me shudder to think at the enormity that must be the full salad. Lettuce, arugula, feta, cranberries, really a quite delicious thing indeed. Karina and I shared the Good Dog's infamous mac 'n' cheese, which comes bubbling primordially in a crockpot with flaky cereal sprinkled atop and a slab of blueberry cornbread on the side. I had another beer and didn't finish it.