Grampa Scotty Eats His Napkin: A True Tale of Gringo Horror

This is obvious, right?

This is Da-da's favorite Grampa Scotty/Cinco de Mayo/gringo horror story. As you may or may not recall, Da-da's dad looks just like Scotty from Star Trek -- which has no bearing on this story, Da-da just finds it infinitely amusing. Onward.

The year was 1958. Grampa Scotty, then about 24, was at his boss's house for dinner in Riverside, CA, which back then was nothing but rolling hills of orange groves and blue sky. Da-da can still smell the spring orange blossoms. Anyway, Young Gramps' boss was Hispanic, and his boss's wife ran a fine-dining Mexican restaurant. Being fresh off the boat from Indiana, Young Grampa Scotty was excited, as he'd never had Mexican food before (Da-da finds this so alien, having grown up with it). Indeed, Young Gramps had never even SEEN Mexican food before, as there were no Mexican restaurants IN HIS ENTIRE STATE, let alone any Hispanic foods in the whitebread grocery stores of 1950s Middle America. No corn chips. No tortillas. No refried beans. Not even a can of salsa. (Then again, a prime porterhouse steak was only $0.89 cents a pound.)

Young Gramps arrived early and hungry. He was then given his first margarita, which blew his mind ("Tequila? Is that a dance?" he asked), and his first chips, salsa and guacamole. Imagine that. Shortly thereafter, dinner was served.

Young Grampa Scotty sat at a large table replete with alien food: tacos, enchiladas, refried beans, guacamole, flautas, bottomless bowls of salsa verde and salsa fresca (and Da-da's getting hungry). Young Gramps took all this in and watched his hosts to see what to do next. He had no idea how to eat this food. Then he watched in horror as his hosts picked up their napkins AND STARTED TO EAT THEM.  

Omigod. They're eating their napkins! What's wrong with these people?

He sat staring at them until they realized their guest was in some kind of Midwestern Culture Shock. They asked him if everything was ok. Stunned, he told them he'd never seen anyone eat their napkins before.

Now it was their turn to stare. The two native Southern Californians suddenly burst out laughing, caught their breath, and laughed again. Trying to hold it together, they tried to explain. "It's not a napkin," (you poor silly gringo), "it's a TORTILLA." More laughter ensued. Young Gramps joined in... and stopped laughing after introducing himself to a big verdant bowl of pickled serranos and jalapenos.

Da-da imagines that this story is still told by Grampa Scotty's boss' family, year after year, echoing laughter across every Cinco de Mayo from hell to juevos rancheros. Tequila Dancing for all Da-da's friends. And would someone please get Grampa Scotty a margarita and a fresh napkin?

Behold: the serrano extinguisher.


Anonymous said...

They ate their napkins!

tess t said...


A Man Called Da-da said...

Da-da would love to take credit, but it's Grampa Scotty's story. 100% true.

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