This past Saturday was an important day for me, it was the official end of my wedding season. It has been an especially long year full of grade D beef, open bars and crappy dancing, but I made it. This particular wedding was an American wedding, but that didn’t save me from having to share a table with a bunch of Serbs. I did it to myself, I married in.
The night started out strangely. The priest (?) that presided over the ceremony was an older man and quite the performer. I got the impression that he was doing material, like a comdedian off the cuff and winging it. He was holding some sort of binder that cold only have been a prop, he only looked at it twice and I think it was because he had an outline in there. He reminded me of the crazy highschool biology teacher that wore Hawaiian shirts and would ramble for an hour about how cool the 60’s were. Once he was done shocking and aweing we had some cocktails and hours’douvers and made our way into the main room for dinner. Our table consisted of myself, the wife, her two sisters, their mother, one cousin, one boyfriend, and one friend. Myself and the friend were the two Americans. So I was at the table with 6 hungry Serbs waiting to get fed.
The waiters start flooding into the room with bread baskets and salads. The bread basket made one trip around our table and was almost empty. All that was left was some kind of dark rye raisin bread no one wanted any part of. Some of the more greedy of the Serbs took multiple pieces of bread for fear it would run out. And this is where things got tense. One of the sisters asked the waiter if we could have more bread. She was met with this response in a thick Spanish accent;
“I’m sorry. There is only one basket of bread per table”.
“What? Really? We can’t have more? There isn’t anymore bread in the kitchen?”
“The bread is for the salads.”
“Well what about for dinner?”
This got everyone’s attention and sparked a 20 minute debate about bread, and why there was no bread, and don’t they know we are Serbs and we love bread and how could there be no more bread? No one believed that waiter and decided to ask another, thinking the first was wrong. “No, sorry, one basket per table”, was again the response. The wife’s cousin offered,
“Can’t you make some more?”
All told they asked three different waiters for more bread. The waiters were unified in their defiance and refusal of more bread. Their bravery in the face of breadless Serbs was admirable for they knew not the dangers they faced! Now a brainstorming session started on how to get more bread. The other tables in the room were eyed with a frenzied and jealous desire. They best they could come up with was a kind of smash and grab attack. The wife’s sister even asked her mom to run over to her house and grab a couple of loaves for us. In the end they just ate the crappy raisin bread.
Dinner went on and there was some sulking about the lack of bread. The conversation went on and bread was never far from it. It kind of devolved into smart-assed junior high pouting. At one point while the waiter was filling the water glasses I heard the wife’s mom remark “they don’t have any bread but they got plenty of water.” I am proud of myself for catching that because it was said in Serbian and I was only able to understand three words, but they were the important ones!
When dessert came, they also poured coffee and I think everyone at the table had some. The coffee was actually very good. I wanted another cup and flagged down the waiter on his way by and tapping on my cup asked;
“Can I get another cup please?”
“Sorry sir, you can only have one cup.”