[This originally appeared in The Journal, a print publication in Seneca, S.C.]
As much as I’d like to write about Christmas and all the goodies and cute reactions from my nieces and nephew, I wanted to take a moment to tell y’all that one of my largest life goals has been achieved: I’m a regular.
In case you misread that, it has nothing to do with fiber intake and everything to do with how often I grace Monterrey’s of Clemson with my presence.
Nearly every Thursday for the last three or so years, I’ve delivered for Meals on Wheels of Clemson with my preacher, Danny. Here and there, I’ll miss a week due to impending deadlines or holiday travels, but it’s been a consistent part of my life for a while.
Also quite consistent are the times Danny and I head on over to Monterrey’s to grab lunch for ourselves.
A month ago, we walked in the door and the lady standing at the podium didn’t ask how many in our party — she asked if we wanted menus today.
“You come in here so much I didn’t know if you’d need them,” she told us.
I didn’t, to be honest. My Thursday lunches rotate between the burrito deluxe with chicken, taco salad with beef and the occasional quesadilla with rice and beans. Nine times out of 10, I know what I want before I walk in the door.
As soon as we are seated, they bring us water with lemon — extra lemons when the algae on Hartwell is blooming — and remind us of which salsa is mild and which is spicy. By now I should be able to remember that the blue bowl is mild, but sometimes I forget. Or maybe it’s the black bowl. See why they have to remind me? They know I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy food.
They also apparently know my deep love of Americanized Mexican food.
You could take just about anything, wrap it in a flour tortilla, throw some cheese on top and I would be good to go. The contents may change up a little, but the essential three components are always there: meat, tortilla, cheese.
My taco salad? Deep-fried tortilla filled with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole and topped with cheese.
That deluxe burrito? Chicken wrapped in a tortilla and covered with cheese.
My splurge on the quesadilla? Chicken and cheese squished between — I’m sure you can guess by now — a tortilla.
There’s not a lot of variety in my Thursday lunch menu, and that’s just the way I like it. Calling a deep-fried tortilla a salad makes me feel good about myself, and I think you’d be lying to yourself if you said you didn’t occasionally do the same. Potato salad? Jell-O salad? Not at all a salad.
But back to the point: It’s been a long-time adult dream of mine to be recognized when I walk into a restaurant, and I would like to thank Monterrey’s of Clemson in Central for finally making that dream come true. I will go into 2018 with my head held a little higher.
Caitlin Herrington is an aspiring adult who will talk non-stop about her nephew and three nieces given the opportunity. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.