_ I have a love/hate relationship with Shaker Village. I’ve had two very traumatic experiences there. One, playing Mary Todd Lincoln with no microphone, stage, or historical relevance for doing so. To my knowledge, she never even visited the place. And, when a friend took me there for dinner with his parents, and used me as a beard. While he and his father toured the gift shop, his mother described in graphic detail how she’d had the best sex of her life the night before in the inn. All I could say is, “The Shaker’s do build sturdy beds.” Ironic since they only used them for sleeping.
But the history of the Shakers is sordid and rich— founded by a woman (Ann Lee); belief in equality of the sexes; worship involving singing and dancing, shaking and shouting, speaking with new tongues; and gaining membership through adopting orphans and indenturing children. And, the jokes are endless. Frank’s favorite is to always remind me to get their specialty: the milk shake.
I went there recently for lunch. Here is a snippet of conversations from my visit.
When you are seated at the table, they bring you a basket of assorted bread and a wooden bowl of cole slaw. After ordering and gorging ourselves in silence, K finally speaks.
K: Both their cole slaw and potato salad are amazing.
Me: That only makes sense.
Me: What is the common denominator…mayonnaise.
K: I still don’t get it.
Me: How do you make mayonnaise?
K: With eggs…
Me: But then you do what to it…if you’re making it old school?
K: You shake it.
K:The biscuits are good too.
Me: They're made by the Shake n Bakers.
While watching a table filled with a miserable-looking octogenarian tour group who complained about everything, but the ice water. As if to counteract their dour dispositions, they were all wearing incredibly cheerful clothes in bright colors with bold plaids or funky floral prints, and Keds tennis shoes.
Me: I don’t ever want to be at that table. I now know that I would rather live hard and die young than ever be forced onto a bus filled with curmudgeons dressed like kindergarteners.
K: Don’t worry. I’ll shoot you before I ever let you get that crochety or wear hot pink.
The waitress who K thinks looks like a young Jody Foster comes to our table with a tray of pies and cakes.
Waitress: Would you like dessert?
Me: No, but it’s his birthday.
I don’t know what I expected by giving her this knowledge. I mean it’s not like we were at ChiChis where you get to wear a giant sombrero and have waiters assault you with a maraca-accompanied “¡Feliz cumpleaños.” What were they going to do? Gather round, tie a bonnet on his head, and do a rousing rendition of “Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free…”
K: I don’t want dessert. But, I’d like more cole slaw.
The waitress looks at him perplexed and leaves. A few minutes later she returns with a stryrofoam container, which looks completely out of place.
Waitress: I was able to get some leftover cole slaw from the bowls.
Now, it’s our turn to look perplexed.
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