Restaurant recollection, 1870’s

In October 1898, the Hamilton Herald published a few amusing and interesting anecdotes, which were remembered and told by Blantyre man, Alex McMillan. The newspaper paid money for anybody sending in their worthy recollections and some of Alex’s childhood memories are certainly worth sharing here, if only to be preserved. Like this one…..

Alex remembers as a young child during the 1870’s walking into a High Blantyre restaurant with two of his wee pals and a man. After they were seated by the waiter, the man leaned across the table. “Now boys, are you hungry? Yes? Would you like some sausage rolls?”

The boys eyes lit up. They were all hungry and before they knew it the man had clicked his fingers, “Waitress, bring three sausage rolls and two for myself, that makes five please!” He paused. “Ah, I’ve forgotten the bread for us all too. Add that too and some lemon water for us all.”

Before long the sausage rolls and bread arrived and the boys tucked in. “More?“, said the adult. The boys nodded eagerly and the waitress was called over again.

Eventually, the second helpings arrived with clean knives and forks and quickly the additional food too were demolished, the boys faces covered with smiles and crumbs. They all sat in the booth gorged. The man then put his fist on the table. “Cigars. I forgot cigars. I’ll just get them from the pub next door.” He grabbed his coat and stick and hobbled out. Turning back he said, “Stay here boys, ah’ll be back in a couple of minutes for some pudding.” “All right” the eldest boy replied.

5 minutes passed. Then 10, then 30 minutes. No sign of the man. The landlord noticed the empty seat in the booth. Casually clearing the plates and cutlery and thinking of the bill, he said to the eldest boy, “Your father’s been away a wee while?”

The eldest boy replied sheepishly, “Father?….he’s not our father!? Never seen him afore. We were aw outside playing an he just came up an asked if we wanted some sausage rolls and drinks. We said yes an he brought us in here!”

It’s a memory which stuck with Alex to adulthood. Illustrated by AI.

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