Back from spending Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico with Gavin, Chris couldn’t wait to tell Mitzi and DiDi her exciting news. They’d decided to meet for lunch at Froman On Main, a popular eatery on the old site of Syd’s Tavern.
As per usual, Chris was the first to arrive. She picked out a sunny corner table, ordered a glass of sparkling water with a twist of lime and settled in to check messages and email on her Blackberry while she waited.
“It’s my fault that we’re late,” said Mitzi rushing in and leaning over to give Chris a quick hug. “The check something-or-other light went on when I started my car and I didn’t want to risk it conking out on me, so I drove it straight to the mechanic’s and DiDi picked me up over there.”
“So, where is she now?”
“Oh, she dropped me off before she went to park the car because she knew you were waiting.”
“But the restaurant has valet parking.”
“Uh, yeah…for seven bucks,” Mitzi retorted. “But you can get three hours of free parking in the mall across the street.”
“Mitzi, the valet is only five bucks.”
“Yeah, but you’ve still gotta tip the guy.”
“No, you don’t, that’s why you pay for the parking,” said Chris.
“Yes, you do,” insisted Mitzi, “That money goes to the restaurant.”
“Right…to pay the attendant’s salary.”
“But it’s probably minimum wage and not enough to live on,” countered Mitzi, "So…”
Spotting DiDi entering the restaurant, Chris was relieved to interrupt the conversation to wave her over.
“DiDi…as usual, you’re right on time,” said Chris.
“Hey, if that’s a dig for being late, I have a perfectly good excuse,” said DiDi
“Noooooo….trust me I was being absolutely sincere,” said Chris.
“Yeah, Chris and I were having a discussion and…”
“Oh my God!” This time it was DiDi’s turn to interrupt. “Is that…is that..?” she stammered.
“Absolutely,” said Chris with a grin, “Gavin and I are engaged!”
“Shut up!” squealed Mitzi”
“I will not,” said Chris.
“I didn’t mean it literally,” said Mitzi, befuddled.
“Oh, Mitzz, I’m just kidding with you,” said Chris, laughing. “Come on, gimme a hug!”
For the next several minutes the three women laughed and hugged and “ooh-ed and aaahh-ed” over Chris’ heirloom engagement ring.
“It belonged to Gavin’s mother,” said Chris.
“It’s beautiful,” said DiDi.
“Stunning!” said Mitzi.
“Who-d a-thunk it?” said Chris. “Marriage was never a goal of mine. I love my work and my friends and I’ve always been content whether there was a man in my life or not. So, to be getting married again in my fifties…”
“Gloria Steinem didn’t get married till she was in her sixties!” chimed in Mitzi.
“Anyway,” Chris continued, “it kind of caught me by surprise; but it just feels right, ya know?”
“Yes, sweetie, I know,” said DiDi wistfully. “Oh, Chris, I’m so happy for you!”
“And I hope you know how happy I am too,” said Mitzi. “So waddaya say I order a bottle of champagne to make a toast? And while we’re at it, can we order lunch, please, because I’m starving!”
While Mitzi called the waiter over, Chris turned to DiDi…
“Okay, so much for my good news, you’re up next. How was Thanksgiving with Cal and your soon-to-be daughter-in-law and her parents?”
“Hold on, the waiter is coming over…let’s get our order in, first, and then I want to hear all about it, too,” said Mitzi.
“Well,” said DiDi, “there was a snowstorm, so I wasn’t able to get there till the weekend, but her parents were lovely…just as warm and sweet as she is.”
“If you weren’t able to get out of town, then how did you spend Thanksgiving Day?” asked Chris.
“Oh, gee, DiDi, I hope you didn’t have to spend it all alone!” said Mitzi.
“No, I definitely wasn’t alone,” said DiDi, “but let’s have lunch first and salute Chris’ engagement and celebrate the season…and the fact that I already have all my Christmas shopping done. We can talk about how I spent the holiday later.”
“Hmmm…” said Chris, her private investigator’s instincts kicking in. “Sounds to me like there’s a lot more to this story.”
“If they only knew,” thought DiDi.
Mariann Aalda played DiDi Bannister-Stoner on Edge of Night from 1981 to its final episode on December 28, 1984. She also played Grace Battles on Guiding Light and Lena Hart on Sunset Beach on daytime and starred in the primetime series The Royal Family and First & 10 and recurred or guest-starred on such shows as Designing Women, Grace Under Fire and The Parkers, among others. With a penchant for comedy, she's also done stand-up in clubs across the country and is the co-creator of M.O.I.S.T.! -- the "sex-istential" comedy-with-music celebrating the seasoned woman -- which she co-wrote/produced/performs with Iona Morris (ex-Fiona Griffin, As The World Turns).