Know the Padre?

Over labor day weekend, we went camping and hiking in the sparsely populated north-west corner of Oklahoma.

Sunday around dlunchtime, we were driving through Mooreland, Oklahoma and decided to look for a place to eat.   Rural towns in Oklahoma usually have three types of restaurants:  convenience stores selling warmed up crap, Mexican restaurants catering to immigrant workers and diners catering to the natives. The diner in Mooreland was closed.  No doubt because it was Sunday.  The convenience store had pizza which may have done in a pinch. Fortunately, we found the Mexican restaurant.  Its parking lot was full -- a good sign.

As soon as we walked in, everyone in the restaurant turned and stared at us.  All the patrons were Mexican and mostly male. Wonder where the white peeps eat. The pretty waitress (there was only one) came to get our order. Her English had an Oklahoma accent and, just in case there was any doubt, her smile was quintissentially American (S2 seems to have picked it up too).  The waitress spoke in Spanish to the other customers though.

We ordered.  A few minutes later, the waitress' mom brought out a soup to the next table.

"What's the soup?," I asked the mom.

"Fish soup," she replied.

"Can I change my order to the soup?," I asked.

The mom nodded, "no problem."  The daughter came by a few seconds later to confirm.  "You want the fish soup instead of the tostados?"

The food turned out to be excellent.  Better Mexican food than I've had in Norman, a town 100 times the size.

The mom came by again about half-way through our meal.  "Do you know Father Thomas?," she asked, pronouncing "Thomas" the Spanish way.

"Who"," I asked.

"Father Thomas"

"Oh, sorry," I said, "we are from Norman.  The Catholic priest in this parish ... he is from India?," I asked.

"Yes, he is very nice. Knows everybody's name and remembers everything about everybody.  I thought you may be his friends.   How do you like the food?"

"The soup is very good," I said.   "You should add the soup to the menu," my wife suggested.

"We make it only on the weekends," explained the mom, "and everyone who comes here knows."

If you happen to be in Mooreland, Oklahoma on a weekend, go by the La Palma restaurant.  They serve a fragrant, tasty fish soup.  You don't have to know the local Catholic priest, although it may help if you look as if you might be friends of his.

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