Anyway,I sat them on the biggest table in the centre of the pub in full view of the bar,fireplaces and blackboard menu.All bases covered.
The Birthday Boy was how can I put this pleasantly? Quite senior,and not very quick on his feet.
As they perused the menu the wife was overheard to say:
'Well ..its your 87th birthday today so you have WHATEVER you want,have a look,WHATEVER you want I say'
When we went over to take the order the old boy asked for the sausages.I was just making a note of this when the wife pipes up:
'NO YOU'RE NOT HAVING SAUSAGES,I CAN MAKE THEM EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK AT HOME.HAVE SOMETHING DIFFERENT..something you don't have at home'
The old fella looks back up at the blackboard, frantically searching for something else and feeling under pressure I'm sure, as the other three had by now ordered.
The wife raises her eyebrows and says:
'You can have a rump steak, that'll be a treat,cooked medium to well done please'
As the order went to the kitchen,I was already fearful.
In our experience many older people tender to cope better with easier textures.Generally, even with fish they favour the bottom feeders,flat fish with tender flesh as opposed to the meatier varieties,so how an 87 year old was going to cope with a M-W done steak was mildly alarming at the very least.
I was also mindful of the Danish Chocolate Biscuit cake incident and the 90 year old tooth which was unfortunately displaced.Shudder.
Not long after the meals were served,an unearthly gutteral sound began to emanate from the party table.The Cynical One and I looked at each other without speaking.We knew immediately what was happening.I wished the sound away. I'm good in a crisis but medical ones aren't my forte and anyway I have no training in the Heimlich manoeuvre.Diners at the other tables put down their cutlery.There it was again and they were bloody centre stage due to having the winning ticket on prime table jackpot.There wasn't a single person there that couldn't see what was happening.
The wife seemed unconcerned.She continued chatting to the rest of the party.The Cynical One admirably went over and enquired if everything was allright and would they like a glass of water.
At this point the wife whacked the old boy on the back with some force,at the same time saying very loudly: 'BREATHE'
Thankfully this seemed to do the trick.Thank God.I had already visualised the headline in our local rag:
'87 year old chokes on birthday tea at local Inn after winning prime table jackpot'
|We can purée if required.|
As the plates were cleared we noted Old Boys napkin had been placed over his food(always an ominous sign)none of which had been eaten,well some briefly then obviously returned to the plate.
As the pudding order was taken,the wife turned to the Birthday Boy and said 'I don't think you should have anything else,we don't want to overdo it do we?'
I could have cried,a bit of ice cream might have soothed his poor old throat..