Monday, November 12, 2012

The Sandwich Place

My sisters and I have always gotten along really well with a group of our cousins who live in Calgary.  We only see each other once or twice a year (sometimes even less, especially as we get older and have separate adult lives) but these trips to Calgary or Disneyland or BC or wherever we met up were always a highlight of our year.

We had many, many cousin "traditions" that evolved and petered out over the years.  To name a few:  making a "parade" of every single toy (including several hundred small army men/McDonald's toys/etc.) in my cousins' basement and then making our parents clean it up, mixing up a terrifying cocktail of as many disgusting kitchen ingredients as we could find and making our dads taste it, walking to 7-11 to buy Slurpees and treats to have while watching Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's latest lame movie, and playing a game where we pretended to murder each other while jumping on their trampoline.  Some still live on today, like having lunch at Peters Drive-In and wearing our Team Cousin t-shirts at family events.

One of my favourite traditions, which I'm proud to have invented, was The Sandwich Place.  The Sandwich Place was a soup and sandwich (and veggies and dip) restaurant that we opened once a visit for our parents.  We decided on a few different sandwich combinations and canned soups that were available in the house, wrote up menus, and prepped the kitchen. 

We made our parents go outside and ring the doorbell when they "arrived" and I feel like at one point they even called to make a reservation (haha).  The two cousins delegated to be the servers seated the parents, and when the orders came in we scurried into action in the kitchen, slapping together sandwiches, ladling Ichiban into bowls, and pouring Ranch or Creamy Cucumber into small pools onto plates next to celery sticks that our moms had pre-prepped for us.  Our youngest cousin Kristin was always the "caller" - Fuddruckers-style, she sat at the "pickup" table with a toy megaphone and let each customer know that their order was ready.

My dad mentioned The Sandwich Place during his speech at the wedding, and noted that often the sandwiches were less than appetizing, but they politely ate everything on their plates and gave us rave reviews.  I'm glad, because putting on The Sandwich Place was a total blast.  It went through several iterations, sometimes even having PRINTED (on a computer!) menus, and lived on as a cousin tradition for 5 or 6 years.

I hope someday when my cousins and I all have children of our own, they're as close as we were and start some new cousin traditions.  I know for sure we'll be encouraging them to open their own version of The Sandwich Place.

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