All across the United States restaurants went out of their way to honor veterans on Monday. I even got up early and went to cash in on my freebie. Someone forgot to send me the memo that the joint would still be packed at 1930 on a Monday. If you live in Minnesota, that’s way after “The Norwegian Dinner Hour.” You can usually count on the place starting to empty out at 1900, dontcha know?
Instead of risking being late for work, I abandoned the major chain (no hard feelings, glad to see you doing well and all) and headed to Old Country Buffet. You can stop the eye rolling. I like the place. Good coffee, Rice Krispy bars, pot roast, ham, mashed potatoes, etc. Comfort food.
I didn’t even ask about getting the military discount. I leave that one to the younger men and women who have taken over in the wake of my generation moving on to the important things: getting fat and bald. I paid my tab and hung my coat on the back of the chair.
A quick tour led me to the carving table where a giant slab of ham beckoned. If you can’t have bacon, ham is close enough. The young man at the carving station asked for my order and quickly filled it – and a giant hunk of ham it was! As I turned to head to my table he said, “Did you serve.”
Given the context of being served in a restaurant it took me a moment to figure out what he meant. I suppose the Casper Society (WARNING: autoloading sound file) hat on my fat head was a giveaway. And in that moment there was no finer, more welcome, better tasting meal in all of the world than what I had in my hand. “Yes, I did. A long time ago.”
“Thank you, Sir. I appreciate it.”
Finest meal I’ve had in a long time. And a well mannered young man who will be in my prayers when I go to bed tonight.
The meal may have cost me a bit on the credit card, the recognition and respect were priceless.
God Bless America – there’s hope for us yet.