My birthday was earlier this week, and my son declared he knew the perfect place to take to me. It just so happened to be his favorite place, the place he and his dad and sister frequent when I'm out of town. I won't name the place, but I will say it's a food trough, I mean, a buffet.
Now, usually my preference when I go out to eat is to have my meal served to me, but seeing his excitement, I said there's no other place I'd rather go. It also meant the sweat pants I had on would be perfectly suitable to wear.
The parking lot was starting to fill as we arrived, so we hustled inside to beat the crowd. One thing I learned, and that is a 600-pound man can hustle when he smells food. I know because we pulled up beside one and got out of our cars at the same time. My son wanted to try to outrun him, but I told him there was no way I was going to get in between that man and the buffet line.
Once inside, I eyed the food frenzy that was taking place at the numerous buffets with skepticism and vowed to myself that I would eat healthily despite the mounds of fried okra and macaroni and cheese that surrounded me.
"They have seafood that's grilled to order," my son said, his mouth watering.
"OK, show me where I go to order it," I said.
We put our drinks on our table, and my son shouted, "Let's eat!"
I quickly followed him so he could show me the ropes.
We made it as far as the plates. He grabbed his and then whisked away to fill it up.
"Where are you going? The seafood line is right here," my husband said.
"I was following our son. He said he'd point me in the right direction."
Later, when I playfully scolded him for leaving me, he said, "I did point you in the right direction. I showed you where the plates were."
I finished my healthy meal and sent my daughter, despite the fact that I wasn't hungry, to fetch more. After all, when in Rome ...
As we enjoyed our second round, my son said, "Today, I'm concentrating on birds."
"What do you mean?" I asked, thinking he was perhaps developing a new interest.
"Fried chicken, barbeque chicken, turkey, chicken livers ..."
"You mean you are concentrating on eating birds," his sister said in a droll tone.
The other thing I learned is, never sit directly across from the dessert bar. I don't care how much you pride yourself on being able to resist sweet temptations, an open dessert bar is just asking for trouble, especially when one can justify eating it because it's one's birthday. So, in that vein, I sampled not one, not two, not three, not four, but five, yes, five desserts.
"It's best not to count," my daughter wisely said.
And she was right. Because when I say "sampled," what I really mean is "inhaled."
I had not even planned on eating any. I went back for salad, but somehow ended up with a piece of fudge on my plate. Let's just say iceberg lettuce with no dressing doesn't taste very good when it's put side by side with fudge.
The rest of the sweet treats were my son's idea. Boy, do I like how he thinks.
An hour later, we waddled out, a few pounds heavier, and, for me, a year older.
"I knew you'd like it, Mom," he said, and I did.
So much so that I promised to go back -- next year.