Last summer my family and I visited Niagara Falls in New York. We camped nearly a week at a state park a modest drive away from the Falls and drove up for a typical tourist day. We did what everyone does — rode the boat near the Falls, watched the movies, got drenched while climbing scaffolding behind the powerful waters.
It was a fun affair, exhausting as any long, hot day trekking four small children through tourist sites would be, but fun.
Before we left the Falls to head back to our rustic camping cabin, we needed to eat. I had budgeted — super tightly though — for one meal out at a restaurant. Ouch. I’ve discovered in recent years being a “large” family is expensive. One nice meal at a restaurant can cost nearly as much as our weekly grocery bill, no kidding.
We settled on a chain restaurant, the kind of place where you can get everything from heaping salads to burgers and fries. I usually prefer other restaurants, the kinds of places where the locals eat, but this restaurant seemed just fine to cap our day.
We ate outside and listened to the roar of the Falls nearby, and our crazy family of six enjoyed a typical meal. The children scuffled over waxy crayons and paper placemats. Someone spilled a large tumbler of water. We plowed through a pile of napkins. If I recall, I was working hard to fight off the grumpies. (You can see why.)
Alas, we finished, everyone satisfied, and were waiting a little longish for the check. When the waitress finally returned, she said, “Thank you for coming. You’re all set.”
I frowned. “Oh, we have not paid you yet.”
“Someone has paid your bill already. You’re all set,” she repeated.