On a lazy Sunday afternoon, my family and I decided to get some lunch. We were “chomping at the bit” to try Backslope Brewing in Columbia Falls as friends had shared with us how great it was. For those of you who don’t know, “Cfalls” is the gateway to Glacier National Park, and every summer, literally thousands of people travel through this quaint little town and patronize all sorts of charming and delectable dining establishments along their journey.
There was no way we would eat in Whitefish with all their commie type mask ordinance hoopla. So, Columbia Falls, it was!
My husband (tall and looks like an older version of Gregory Peck) waltzes right in talks to the hostess WITHOUT a mask on mind you and gets a table for 6 literally ten feet away from the hostess stand.
I (short and stocky) quickly breeze past the hostess as she uttered, who knows what, “Welcome! can I help you?” or something along those lines. I said “No,” smiled, gave her a salute, and quickly fled to my spot across from my hubby. By then, most of us had arrived, and then came THE WAITRESS. “It seems you “slid by” our hostess, she quipped, and you’ll need to wear your masks.”
“Really? I retorted, “While we’re seated at our table?”
“No, she returned, but anytime you leave your table.”
“We aren’t going to be leaving our table, I remarked.”
“To use the restroom etc., she stated, “You came in without masks. You all need to be wearing masks ANYTIME you’re away from your table.”
“We’d like to pull this table up next to us as we have more joining us.” (But I knew what the answer would be.)
“Oh no, that’s not allowed.”
“Really? Is the Health Department making you do that?”
“No, that’s our restaurant policy” Then she left.
I was not happy. Fortunately, my peace-making significant other chimed in. He quietly shared, “We can put the three toddlers in high chairs so there will be just enough seats for all the adults.”
“Ok, ok,” I whispered.
That’s when I noticed it, noticed “them.” Long sheets of Visqueen everywhere. It looked like a cross between a construction zone and Junior High PE shower stalls. Then I saw IT. The “deer” wearing a mask! Even the wildlife had given in to “virtue signaling!”
I thought to myself (what on earth are we doing here?) It was too late to get up to leave, (well it really wasn’t, but we were nestled in for good); the menus were spread everywhere, and the server was hovering.
After the first scolding episode from the waitress, I whispered to my husband, “Can’t we leave? What about that Mexican restaurant? I bet they aren’t mask Nazis..” NO, he said, “the kids are almost here, and I don’t want Mexican.”
“Ok, ok,” I mumbled. (I could feel the irritation rising in me just being there in that atmosphere of “COVID” CONTROL, but I tried to keep it low-key for the sake of a peaceful family outing.
OF COURSE, I had to use the restroom to which I practically RAN to because I had slapped on a recycled nasty mask barely (my daughters), and I had to walk right past the “Visqueen deer” to get there! His mean beady little eyes staring at me the whole way (like those weirdo art paintings that follow you.)
Exiting the restroom, I snapped a quick pic of the sign on the door on the way out because heaven knows I didn’t want to forget my mask!
I was bound and determined to record everything I saw. Naturally, my kids had that look like, Oh there goes, mom.
Finally, I began to relax a bit..(not easy for a “type A” being held captive in a restaurant where the hired help is calling all the shots), but somehow I coped. And then our food came. I was hoping it would be awful because then I could justify how much I REALLY didn’t want to be there, but that’s NOT what happened.
Not only was the food not nasty, moldy, or cold, it was EXCELLENT. Keep in mind that over the last 50 years I have eaten in almost every restaurant in the Flathead Valley, and this was probably in the top three places…EVER. I was almost mad that it was so delicious.
Naturally, being the connoisseur of fine delicacies that I am…I ate mine and had to try a little bit of almost everyone else’s food. Surely something must be off at least a wee bit. Nope. None of it was bad. Not even close. Dang. Even the Mac and Cheese that my 2-year-old granddaughter was slopping down was delicious. And on it went. All the way down to the parmesan, garlic fried potatoes that my 17-year-old was inhaling. Then the real test came. I eyed my husband’s fish n chips. The battered Cod was out of this world.
After some laughs with my clan and great food, I began to calm way down. Until I left, that is. Then I went outside. It was a plethora of the most intensive over conditioning propaganda I had ever experienced in a dining establishment. EVER.
And everything I missed seeing on the way in? I took special note of it while leaving. My chubby little fingers were snapping as quickly as they could upon exiting that place. First, I shot the sign on the wall outside. Well, that was fun.
Then came the front door. “Snap” These owners weren’t kidding. They didn’t care who lifted what mandate; they were gonna make sure you knew their rules.
Then the finale. I got a pic of the entrance and finally (drum roll) the facade and almost shot one of the “Carry Out Curb Rules” listed in the parking lot..but by that time, all I wanted to do was get to my car, so I could relax. (We patriot types don’t do well when our rights are being trampled on.)
Once I got home, and my blood pressure resumed to normal, I said to my husband, “Well, what do you think? Do we ever try it again? I mean, maybe curbside? I didn’t wait for his answer. Hmmm, no, that won’t work because then we’d be supporting them. He agreed. “No, we don’t want to support them, but boy, the food was great. I sighed. Yea, I know, I know.
There may come a day, and very quickly when trying to slide by without a mask, will be passe with all joking aside. It will be “show me your Vaccine Badge or no entry.”