• Do we have what?

    This morning, at 10 a.m., I stopped by a KFC to grab a bite to eat (don’t judge me, I’d been up since 5 and was starving and it was the only place around). As horrible as that sounds, I guess I wasn’t the only person eating fast-food lunch so early in the morning. It was one of those KFC/Pizza Hut combined joints and the Pizza Hut side had the door locked. Security asked me if I was there for the birthday party. Seriously? A birthday part at Pizza Hut at 10 a.m., Tuesday morning?

    Anyway, I was sitting there eating my Twister and my cheese-filled empanada when I remembered a funny story from back when I first met my wife in Anchorage, Alaska. How a Panamanian woman meets a fella from Okalahoma/South Florida is a long story so we’ll skip that for now.

    When I first started dating my wife, she always had strange requests when we were out. It started with the white donuts she wanted so badly. I searched all over the frozen state, trying to figure out what delicacy she was describing. Apparently, her cousin, who she’d been staying with in Alaska, had introduced her to these sweet, savory, white donuts. She didn’t know where her cousin had picked them up. I was thinking these were some sort of gourmet pastries only her cousin knew about. We looked everywhere, and it wasn’t until we were standing inside of a gas station convenience store that I realized she was talking about the little six-pack powdered donuts sold by Hostess for $.99.

    The memory that hit me while sitting in KFC involved empanadas. The first time we went to a KFC, in Alaska, she asked me if I could order her a cheese empanada.

    “A cheese what?” I asked.

    “A cheese empanada,” she said, like it was something everyone had heard of.

    “I’ve never heard of that before,” I said, and then continued to order our food.

    Then we went to a Dairy Queen.

    “Can you order me a cheese empanada, please?” she asked.

    “A cheese what?” I asked again.

    It was the conversation we’d had at KFC, all over again. Only this time she was more persistent.

    “They must have them. They’re cheese empanadas and they’re like a pastry filled with cheese. Dairy Queen and KFC have them in Panama,” she insisted.

    “Well they don’t have them here. I’m sure of it,” I promised her.

    “Can you ask?” she begged.

    “I’m gonna sound stupid. I’m telling you, they don’t have them here,” I argued.

    “You won’t even ask? What if they have them and you just never knew about them?”

    “Ok, fine.”

    So I drove up to the drive-thru window, waited for them to take my order, and asked, “Do you guys have cheese empandas?”

    “Do we have what?” the attendant asked.

    “Cheese empanadas?” I asked again.

    “What is that?” the attendant asked.

    I looked over at my wife and couldn’t hold back my laughter. She was so upset that they’d never heard of the cheese empanadas. Well…I live in Panama now, and there I was, this morning, eating a cheese empanada at KFC. Who would’ve thought?

     

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