Le dernier jour en paradis


Hipstamatic gramps playing poker



Today’s the last day in paradise. Tina and I have been in North Carolina almost an entire week. And despite our lack of beliefs in the Christian deity, lightning has not struck one time.

We’ve had a great time, and I’ve had a good break from work and blogging.

Sunday night we played games with my family. That was fun. We played a card game called “Set Back.” It was really confusing at first, but once I got the hang of it, it made a lot of sense. I took a lot of notes from what seemed to work between my mom, dad and gramps. I ended up winning. Woohoo!

Tina usually kicks everyones asses in any card game she plays. I was worried my family would be crying and licking their wounds after asking her to play cards. But she was a good sport and let me win for once.

After that, we got a few pennies out and played a few hands of strip* poker.

Monday night, we had a double date with my brother and sister-in-law. We went to PF Changs. Our waiter’s name was Mario. My dish was Sichuan Beef. My face was sweating. We shopped at Apple store. And Anthropologie. We drove home.

How did you like those staccato sentences?

Dinner with them was great. Tina and I wish we lived closer by just so we could have more time with them. I wish we had more time during this trip, but our schedules conflicted. I think Tina should go into business with my SiL. They have so much in common and seeing them together is like watching long-lost sisters reuniting.

Last night, Tina and I made pizzas for my family and we made two extras to bring over to regular-readers SAW’s and SAW’s wife’s house. We brought Talulah who played with their Dobermans.

We had a great time, and if we pushed it, we should have stayed over and talked through the night and gone though another bottle of wine.

My brother and his family will come over again today. I’m making beef stew for dinner.

Tomorrow morning, Tina and I hit the road again.

I want to write up a year in review for the blog, so you can remember your favorite moments right here at Le Café during 2010. But it might not be published until December 31.

I was curious if there were any moments you remember during the year that stood out. Or maybe even a list of events that were Le Café Witteveen specific. If you remember any, please drop a note in the comments.



*This is a southern sex joke that we keep it in the family. If you didn’t get it, I apologize and beg for your forgiveness.


Pope Mohammed meets Rodney Stevens; “Hell is getting a Journey song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.”

Last Wednesday, Pope Mohammed was at the Piggly Wiggly fondling a stack of Purdue chicken breast packages. He searched for the lowest price. Once he found it, He pulled the cellophane-wrapped parcel to his chest and started driving a fingernail underneath the price tag. He was making a little progress when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

“What!?! I’m not …” blurted Pope Mohammed. He spun around and a rush of blood-colored his face pink.

Standing there was a plain-clothed civilian. Pope Mohammed gave him a once over. It was a guy with dark hair, average build, average height.

“I mean, how are you today?” Pope Mohammed prided himself on recovering quickly from situations like these.

The man furrowed his brow, looked at the chicken packaging held against Pope Mohammed’s chest and back at his face. “Hi, uh, Pope Mohammed, right?” The guy stuck out his hand. “I’m Rodney. Rodney Stevens. We haven’t actually met face to face be…”

Pope Mohammed turned away from Rodney. “I’m busy.”

Slight pause. “I can see that. I just wanted to stop. I mean, I saw you over here, and needed to tell you something … real quick.”

Pope Mohammed looked around. He heard the sounds of shopping carts squeaking by. He heard the water spray alert in produce. He heard, “21 on 8.” If he listened closely, he could hear the hum from the fluorescent lights above. He looked down and continued his task of removing the price tag from the package of chicken breasts. “Go ahead, Randy. Lay it on me.” Pope Mohammed could use the distraction technique so the meat handlers nearby wouldn’t notice him.

“It’s Rodney,” He said as he started his speech. “Pope Mohammed, I’m not like everyone else who seems to know you since the day they were born. I met you when I was older. I think I was 26.”  Pope Mohammed was biting his tongue. He switched from using his thumbnail to his middle finger nail.

“At first,” Rodney continued, “I thought your stories of the desert, of gardens, salvation, love, honesty, forgiveness … of life in the afterlife … I thought those stories were amazing. I especially liked the ideas that if I asked for something in my head, it would come true.”

Pope Mohammed was nodding his head. Rodney wondered if it was because he was listening to him or because a Journey song was playing on the speakers above them.

“But after I saw you pull the price tag off the beef stew package and put it on the sirloins, I don’t think the message you deliver and the life you live match up.”

Pope Mohammed didn’t look up. Rodney said, “I’m not comfortable knowing you anymore.” Pope Mohammed’s fingers made the cellophane squeak.

“I just came over to tell you that,” said Rodney waiting for a response. The awkward silence stretched long enough. Rodney took a step back and started to walk away.

After getting three feet, Pope Mohammed mumbled something incoherent. Rodney turned, “Did you say something?”

Pope Mohammed looked up, looked back down, and pretended to continue ripping off the sticker. “Enjoy your afterlife … of torture,” says Pope Mohammed.

And Steve Perry sings, “Don’t stop … belie-vin’…”