Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fancy Pancakes

Eventually the day came, when I no longer wallowed in my pain, and accepted the undertaking of daily tasks - digesting food, dispensing toothpaste, inserting contacts, locating my natural part.  Lured by my 12 year old daughters longing for her brother, and desperate need for her mother, I welcomed the morning light, and stepped into a world that did not include my son.

Shopping is what every girl wants on a sunny Saturday afternoon and so, concealed behind dark tinted ray-bans and a pearly white smile, we push our way through an ebb and flow of vacant faces, pausing long enough to pluck fashion “must haves” and push plastic at the cashier.  Nothing looks right, nothing feels right, but none of this matters.  “Wrap it up, it’s perfect, let’s go,” I affirm, as my daughter scoops up her tangible pleasures. 

Near the bottom of Main Streets shopping, is a teeny tiny French restaurant called Meli-Melo. It is run by a lovely husband and wife duo; who, along with their two small children, relocated from Paris to Greenwich.  We first met when their daughters enrolled in a neighboring dance school and I taught them the basics of ballet. 

It’s always busy here and the seating is uncomfortably tight, but none of this matters because the bright, Parisian atmosphere, coupled with attentive service screams “happy.”

They serve delicious homemade soups, divine crepes, and flavorful sorbets. My favorite is a buckwheat crepe stuffed with ham, gruyere cheese, and asparagus – then topped with mixed greens and a fabulous champagne dressing. “Fancy Pancakes,” Kerry called them.

We are greeted with a genuine smile, a European kiss, and a warm hug.

“Bonjour, Miss Shannon.  Bonjour Mademoiselle Lindsay. Look how you have grown, so beautiful,” marveled Annette, at the sight of my blooming daughter. 

She escorts us to a corner table topped with fresh cut daffodils before adding, “and tell me, how is your son?” 

My daughters relaxed stance stiffens in anticipation of my dark reply.  

“He’s fine, thank you for asking,” I answer.  

With the weight of Kerry’s death lifted, I returned my focus to the child left behind. 

Our mother and daughter date now restored, we joked about my lack of fashion sense, about her obsession with purses, and about our shared love of cheese.

It’s been 7 years since Kerry passed, but at Meli-Melo, he is alive and well.

I try not to give too much detail, only answering the questions put in front of me.

“Yes, he turned 30 this year – amazing how quickly time fly’s.”
“Yes, we still work together.”
“Yes, he is a wonderful father.”

Kerry is thriving at the "Fancy Pancake Place," the place that screams “HAPPY.”

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy


  1. Dear sweet Shannon,

    You are a lovely writer, and you made me feel the pain you feel and winch with the question about your son. Keep writing!


  2. Thank you Gordon :) you're encouragement is greatly appreciated!

  3. Shannon, I can picture myself there, from your description. I understand your reaction to the question about Kerry. While not the same situation, in junior high mechanial drawing class the teacher (a macho type guy) went around the room asking what our fathers did. I panicked, as mine had died four years earlier. It was a strange reaction. It would have been easy enough to state that fact, but I couldn't. All the other boys had an answer. I didn't, almost like I was embarrassed that mine was gone. So, the inexperienced 7th grade mind just said "he doesn't do anything." I endured snickers of "welfare" comments, etc. I disliked that teacher for many years for not knowing better than to ask his students a potentially ackward question. What if someone had been on welfare through no fault of their own, or their father was in prison. Some people have no common sense. Funny how we react to certain situations, huh?

  4. Thanks Sam, I feel better, so much better about my response :) It felt so right at the time and now, I wonder if I sound psychotic.

  5. Shannon, you have a talent of putting your experiences and feeling into words on paper.
    I can so understand how you just froze when asked about your son and said the first thing that came to your mind. And now this restaurant has become your special place to make-believe. It's really rather sweet.

  6. Shannon, all I can say is "Thank You".

  7. Thank you for commenting Beth. It has become a sweet oasis for me. Glad you understood!

    and're welcome :)

  8. Shannon..that was very well written. I had tears and a smile at the same time. During the last fifteen months we have lost three students at our high school, and I always like to think about how they continue to live with us every day. Your son and these three boys have made us a little bit better every day.

  9. It is a great story, shannonkennedy. Even more interesting (and surprising?) is that Miss Lindsay didn't respond at all - usually kids will just say what's on their minds, and usually don't "lie".

  10. Wow, never would have thought that the story would go that way... It's interesting how a simple phrase can change not only the mood at the moment (for you AND Lindsay), but your whole outlook on life. Because you said that one thing, you now have his memory as a reminder and source of consolation that you otherwise might not have... Amazing...

  11. [ ... ] link is being shared on Twitter right now. @zenx, an influential author, said RT @1ndus: Xtreme [ ... ]

  12. sorry, I don't understand "TWITTING" but thanks for trying!

  13. This reminds me of my sisters wedding. We were having such a great time and then one of us said, "I wish Brett was here" (our brother who had passed). Right away a family friend who was his best friend said, "He is here!" And I knew he was so right. Beautiful story you've shared!

    PS- I love the monkey hugging the dove, I use to have this exact picture up on my fridge. It makes me so happy!

  14. Not everyone needs the exact details....they need the details that are most important. And if he can live there, with the fancy pancakes, I think you made a wonderful decision in your response. :) It's so difficult for me to read about these things, but if I can do it with a smile AND a tear....then your writing was successful. Happy Wednesday.

  15. Mmmmm...sounds like a yummy place that serves up a helping of genuine warmth and hospitality with every fancy pancake!

  16. Great response. I bet it's difficult having to answer questions about him so if you can keep his memory alive, why not. =)

  17. My heart aches to think of this pain you have experienced.

  18. I love how you handled this situation. Great post! I smiled. I cried. Happy SITS Day to you. It's wonderful to meet you. I'll be back.

  19. Oh that place sounds AWESOME. I think that was the best way to answer. It's ok to keep him alive. He is alive in ur heart. No? And ur baby girl that put her at ease it seems. So it was the right thing to do. And do carry on with the tradition of "Keeping Kerry Alive" at the "Funny Pancake" place.


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison