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Armchair Ponderings
Try eating at La Mariposa on Mother’s Day

Guy Geller

Donuts on Cake

My wife and I celebrated Mother’s Day for sixty-five out of sixty-six years together. Sadly. last September she passed away. I spent several days planning on what to do, without forgetting her contribution to our family. I called our middle daughter to see if she and her husband might want to go have Mother’s Day Lunch at La Mariposa, Magnolia’s premier restaurant where I eat almost every Sunday after church. They were to pick me up at eleven. The street was full of cars.

We opened the door; the restaurant was already full. My corner table had a reserved sign on it, as were all other tables. I had foolishly not called for reservations.If there is a question about the popularity of La Mariposa in Magnolia, try eating on Mother’s Day without reservations. I asked for seating and we were offered seating at the bar. Rather than going looking for another restaurant. We sat at the bar, though for me that is somewhat of a problem. Over the years I have sat at many bars with no problems, not all food bars; but that was years ago before three back surgeries that were less than successful.

From that advantage point I saw that every table had a little stand with names. We thought that it would have been simpler for Mercedes, the owner could have said, “I’m sorry but we are full of people who had made reservations.” In her inimitable way, she found a table where the entire party was not coming, leaving four seats empty. The “Professor as she is called, graciously offered to share her table with the three of us, in the European way, which we accepted. We have done that over the years and have met very interesting people from two Russian sailors to an Australian Neurosur-geon and his wife.

During our conversation we verified that Mercedes would be moving the restaurant to Summitt, Mississippi, probably in June. After years of fighting with the local administration, she finally decided that Magnolia was not what it used to be. She didn’t say that but I can tell. I sold all my Magnolia properties including our 1856 Frith house, two years ago even after spending plenty to renovate it in 1998.

All you have to do, is drive up and down streets, looking at the burned-out places, left standing. I was proud of that town a few years ago. I offered my talents to serve on nine boards. From Zoning administrator to Library Board member. None paid anything at that time. The South Pike Hospital Association did pay a monthly stipend.

La Mariposa and mostly, Merecedes will be missed after spending I believe seventeen years as the “go to” restaurant in Magnolia. She proved that a Hurricane Katrina refugee with hard work, good food and a stellar personality can be a success anywhere.

The fact that she did not turn us away and made accommodations for us to celebrate as if Pat had been there, was very touching.

Mercedes, I don’t know how much longer I have on this earth, but we will miss you personally. Best wishes to you on your new venue!

Donuts on Cake
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