Dont Forget To Say Grace

I’m just getting over a cold. Which thankfully means my appetite is coming back. There’s only so long you can live on soup and yogurt before people start calling you a manorexic. It’s okay though, because I still hadn’t quite gotten rid of the last of my Christmas cookie weight. My mom is legendary in her ability to plump people up. Oddly, she’s not big herself, though she does eat straight up pats of butter — which seems to defy all science and logic. But anyway, I’m looking forward to eating something today AND tasting it.

When I was a boy, my Pentecostal preacher grandmother would pick us kids up, and take us out to lunch. Almost always to the same place: The Horn and Horn Smorgasbord Cafeteria, a self-serve, all-you-can-eat, family-style restaurant.  It had all the charm of high school lunch, but without the patronage of anyone under 60. I’m not sure there was any type of food not available there, tanning itself in the equatorial glow of aluminum heat lamps. I think there was an ice cream bar too. And despite how horrific this scene sounds to me now, as a kid, it was pretty much Le Cirque.

I can still see myself there, carting a small hillock of fried chicken, mac and cheese, french fries, and lime green Jello, back to our table – round one of a bout sure to end in a KO. We didn’t know we were poor. We didn’t know it wasn’t classy. And if you were to have told us then, we probably wouldn’t have cared. ‘Cause there was still ice cream to be eaten. And who can worry about such things, when there’s ice cream on the table.

It’s been a long time since Pentecostal sermons and all you can eat buffets. I’m not really sure why this crept into my blog today. Its interesting the things that stick with us over the years. Sometimes you have to wonder why. Even more than the pig-out lunches, I remember the ride in my Grandmother’s car. I don’t know what kind of car it was, but it had one big long front seat, instead of two seats. One of my brothers and I would sit along side and watch the her carefully spinning, what seemed like a ships wheel. I enjoyed the rhythmic clicking of the car’s blinker just before a slow deliberate turn that seemed methodic and almost ceremonial in her small wizened hands. I suppose it made me feel peaceful. It was my favorite preaching she did.

Via Con Dios,
Eliot

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10 Responses to Dont Forget To Say Grace

  1. Josh says:

    Really nice. “Equatorial glow…”

  2. love this! i remember the big long seats and the rhythmic blinker too. my dad used to get out of going to church by saying he’d get the cold cuts. he went to this italian deli run by people who didn’t speak english. we’d come home to prosciutto, provolone, lettuce, onion, tomato, and peppers in a fresh italian roll with imported olive oil. then my mom would start the sunday gravy (what we called spaghetti sauce) that would cook all day….and nobody was fat back then. ..do you like the lyle lovett line “to the Lord, let the praises be. it’s time for dinner, now let’s go eat”?

  3. TamTam says:

    Glad you’re feeling better! My grandparents generally take us to K&W Cafeteria after church, not quite as awesome as an all you can eat buffet 🙂

  4. John Seay says:

    i was looking at the pic of the chubster at mcD’s and half-imagining that this was you at age 7 or 8, had to chuckle audibly …

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