a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Lost in Translation

Talking to my brother Stewart about my vacation to Puerto Rico brought two fun stories. Stewart chimed in with his thoughts on an authentic Puerto Rican Burger King breakfast.

< by Brennan >

In 1999, the Lowery family traveled to Puerto Rico for one of the more exciting and beautiful family vacations we had ever taken. The beaches, the sun, the resort — it was a veritable paradise for 13-year-old Brennan.

On one particular day, we ventured out to explore the Puerto Rican rain forests, a dynamic change from the wooded areas of Virginia I was accustomed to.

After a breakfast at Burger King — you can take the family out of the sticks, but you can’t… you know the rest — we were in the rental car and on the highway to the rain forest.

My mind was racing with anticipation: the sights, the sounds, the creatures I would see. Beautiful rainforest waterfalls, lush vegetation, exotic birds of paradise. Things I had only read about were about to be live in front of me, painting a beautiful tableau of a world I had never seen.

One, two, three, four … the signs seemed infinite, with no sign of the rain forest in sight. Mile after mile of endless, straight road, the landscape not showing any sign of a rain forest.

Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer. We weren’t going in circles, but the city of Salida was beginning to feel limitless.

“Come on! Salida must be the biggest city in the world.”

My parents burst into laughter. Flustered that my anger was being treated so lightly, my tantrum continued: “Well, when are we going to be out of Salida?!”

“Brennan,” my dad said, “Salida is Spanish for exit.”

All I wanted, right then, was to salida the car.

< by Stewart >

It was a warm January in Puerto Rico. The family had a big day ahead of them, but not before the most important meal of the day. Breakfast. Ten-year-old Stewart was filled with joy to find a bit of home in this foreign country: Burger King.

The man always known as “Dad”, one Dr. Palmer Lowery, was taking the lead and ordering for everyone. Is he the kind of US citizen to slow his speech and raise his tone when speaking to foreigners? Absolutely. So what? He was plenty well-mannered to try his luck at some good ol’ s-pan-oh-lee.

Tres. Dos. Uno. Dos. Elementary education partnered with Spanish classes, courtesy of the Talented And Gifted program, told Stewart these numbers were quickly adding up to more than the Lowery quartet had planned on. But no worries, the ordering was complete and Dr. Lowery joined his family with a look on his face saying, “Damn I’m good.” Nobody knows better than Dad….

Except for native speakers. Stewart’s basic education had prevailed, and to his joy, Dr. Lowery’s epic fail had landed a fresh BK breakfast fit for a family of 15. Best Puerto Rican breakfast ever.

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