The hair soup special

My parents were not gourmet foodies. As I’ve mentioned before, most of our restaurant outings consisted of fast food. But occasionally my parents would opt for something different. On this particular outing, we regretted our decision, but it became a big family joke for years to come.

Mom had unearthed a coupon from somewhere for a restaurant that we had not been to yet near the shopping mall. Dad could never pass up a good deal, so off we went on a Sunday afternoon. We did a bit of shopping and then it was time for dinner. (Which was around 5 p.m.. Even when my parents were younger they ate dinner at the “old folks” hour.

Spires was the name of the restaurant. It was a nondescript diner-style restaurant, but the building that housed the restaurant was memorable because it was an odd hexagon-shape. In fact, the building still exists, and a Persian restaurant is currently in the spot.

I remember little about the interior of the restaurant or what Dad and I ordered. That’s because what Mom chose off the menu became the focus of our meal. Mom ordered soup, which was a bit unusual for her. I have no memory of what kind of soup, because there was only one ingredient bobbing in the broth that was delivered to our table that mattered.

A long, dark strand of hair.

Unfortunately for my mom, she didn’t discover this “special ingredient” until she had a spoonful of soup in her mouth. At first she thought it was a celery string. Then she pulled it out with her fingers, and discovered the hairy truth.

What was worse was that our waitress had red hair, so it wasn’t as if the hair had just fallen into the soup as the waitress delivered it to our table, which would perhaps have been a little easier to accept.

Our spoons and forks went down. Suddenly, none of us was hungry anymore. A manager was alerted and of course he comped our meal.

We never ate at Spires again. But every time we drove by the iconic building, Dad would jokingly ask my mom, “Are you sure you don’t want to stop in for some hair soup?”

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