First Friday now has a proven track record. 7 out of 7 times it has been a massive success in every possible way. Tonight was the special night for Kyle and me: The first Friday of September. I went out on a limb and veered way off track from our typical patterns of behavior – I took Kyle to Cracker Barrel. I had never been to a Cracker Barrel before. I knew their reputation to be “simple southern country food.” I also knew that you could potentially make a night of it there— playing checkers and sitting in rockers and browsing the “Country Store.” But this is not my kind of place. Normally I’d never choose the kind of food Cracker Barrel serves (for my entire adult life I’ve always chosen a little hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurant over any “American” food and/or chain restaurant). And the fact is that over the past 15 years or so I’ve become quite a ‘foodie’ (semi-ashamed to admit that). Many of my closer friends (especially those who have been guests at my dinner parties) would probably chuckle at hearing me say that I spent Friday night at a Cracker Barrel, but they probably wouldn’t be totally shocked either (I’m always willing to try anything). Well, thanks to Cracker Barrel, Kyle and I had a splendid night on the town! We came home grinning ear-to-ear with happy satisfaction with an AWESOME First Friday mother-son date night. We made a whole night of it, and loved every bit of it. The food was great (both Kyle and I can appreciate a good thing, and the food we had was a good thing— honestly really simple, basic, good food!), the old fashioned peg game that we played at our table throughout dinner made for some real fun, our after-dinner checkers match (yes, while sitting in rockers) was downright delightful, and the Country Store gave way to some terrific gifts for Kyle to bring home to his brother and sister. Kyle was literally skipping out of the place as we left, with a huge smile across his face. And I felt like I had really connected one-on-one with my precious son… which makes me feel like the happiest, luckiest, most contented mama on earth. It was such a splendid night.