Lonnie was worried; the grand opening of Le Magnifique! had not gone smoothly: there were fewer customers than expected, and then the first two employees were a mess, so he had to fire them and immediately hire two more. The only thing that more than fulfilled his expectations was that he had made no mistake with Elaine; she was a magnificent and enthusiastic chef.
However; the next couple days at Le Magnifique! were definitely busier and more successful. Lonnie was finding out that owning and managing his own business concern was much more tiring than hosting his own show. He could tape those shows and only work 3 days a week. Meanwhile, while she was a hard worker, even Elaine could get worn out. He sent her home early one night and took over as chef for the evening. And Lonnie has already spelled Chris as host while she took a much needed break.
At home Liara brought home a new friend from school, Brook Ottomas. They got along well and planned to visit each other often. Jenny saw no problem with this and said she would call Brook’s mother to see when Liara could go to their house.
The restaurant was closed on Mondays and to relax the tension he felt in his mind and body Lonnie practiced his piano playing while Loni Faye danced to the music.
That night something happened that they would never forget. They had a frightening home invasion. Their alarm went off but the thief was already in the house. A Pleasantview policeman was there johnny-on the spot, but he did a lousy job. Jenny and Lonnie were alarmed to see that the girls had awakened and were rushing down right into the fracas. Grabbing them and pushing them behind her Jenny thought, well, he’ll have to get to Lonnie and me first to get to them. She was a tigress with her cubs, ready to attack this interloper the moment he made a move toward them. The burglar was preoccupied with the fight he was having with the cop, though.
The burglar got away and the cop shrugged and said,
“There goes my promotion”.
Loni Faye sniffed then muttered under her breath,
She was about to elaborate and in a louder voice when Lonnie gave her a warning look and she said no more. Then she realized that the burglar had stolen one of her favorite paintings and she began to cry. At least he had left the other family paintings alone; the ones painted by Jenny and Lonnie, but still he came in their home to take their things. Soon Liara was joining in with her own tears.
Right after the policeman left and as the children were about to crawl into bed Jenny looked out her bedroom window and saw that it had begun to snow—beautiful fat flakes that were accumulating quickly. It was only early November, they had not even celebrated Thanksdiving Day yet, but winter was here for sure.
Lonnie went to the restaurant on Monday (the place was closed on Sundays and Mondays) and in the deserted kitchen prepared all sorts of desserts for the next day to serve and to sell. Making chocolate-chocolate cakes, berry pies, cherry-cheesecake, he would have to make the baked alaska and freeze it so that patrons could set it aflame when they served it at home and the servers could light it just before they took it to the table. He would now need a cashier.
When Lonnie first bought Le Magnifique! he had intended to make the upstairs a game room on the way out to the al fresco dining on the roof. It had a lovely view of the ocean and could be used in warm weather. Soon he had seen that the pinball machines and dartboards were waylaying people from the outdoor tables and ordering. Even when it was too cold to use the balcony, people wondered up there after eating instead of paying and moving on. There was no money being made if they rushed upstairs to play free pinball after their meal. He realized if he kept it that way he would need a manager just for the upstairs. Now he decided to remove the games, and put in a bathroom just for his own needs with a bath and a shower. He was at the restaurant so many hours he would need it. This left a smaller lounge area for the customers, but hopefully would pave the way to the fresh air dining come spring.
Loni Faye had recently decided that not only would she someday be a virtuoso on the piano and cook like a celebrity chef (just like her father), but also learn to paint like her mother. Jenny was a much better artist than Lonnie, and almost as good a cook, but had never been to culinary school or art school.
Right now Liara was content to merely enjoy her childhood, never mind about the future. Jenny had just begun her first novel about a teenage couple from a southern state who must raise their child and grow up at the same time.
It was now winter and as the weeks went by the family was busy with various things. Loni Faye had her many friends over after school and on Saturdays and practiced the piano, too. Liara loved make believe and played often with her doll house. As always she spent lots of hours at the play-station as well, using the blocks and drawing pictures. When Jenny wasn’t working on her novel she was in her studio working with her pottery.
Lately Jenny had been complaining that the family never had any time together with Lonnie gone so much so on his next weekend, Lonnie took Jenny and the girls to the Wonderland Ice Skating Rink. Loni Faye and Liara were so happy to be going out to do something with their parents that they wouldn’t have cared what it was or where they were going, but the ice skating rink was so much fun they were close to ecstatic. Lonnie and Loni Faye practiced their spins together while Jenny worked with Liara, teaching her to skate. While there the girls ran into Loni Faye’s friend, Christopher Cooke. Jenny could see that he had a little crush on Loni Faye and that he was thrilled when she agreed to do some spins with him.
Poor Lonnie took some terrible spills, in fact, they all took at least one tumble before the afternoon was over.
By suppertime and after many falls and fun on the ice they all trooped home to take hot baths that would hopefully ease their sore muscles.
It was now getting close to Christmas and Lonnie decided it was a good time to make a Baked Alaska for the family. Later that night the couple read to relax before bed. Both had begun to wonder if the sweet romance and incredible excitement they had always felt for each other were gone from their marriage forever…
Next update: Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 5 Takemizu Village
Next chapter on the Jenny Lomas Hammond Family HERE