So the cook took up the thigh with what was on it and set it in front of Saul. Samuel said, “Here is what has been kept for you. Eat, because it was set aside for you for this occasion from the time I said, ‘I have invited guests.’” And Saul dined with Samuel that day.
- 1 Samuel 9:24
When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies,
for that food is deceptive.
- Proverbs 23:1-3
My wife and I went to our podiatrist the other day. Everything with our feet is fine, but my wife said that she did not want to cook. So, instead of going home, we went by a diner near the podiatrist’s office. We had been there for breakfast many times, but never in mid-afternoon. We got the full diner experience.
At first, a worker from the back told us to sit anywhere. He said that the booths in front were warmer. He gave a totally bogus reason, but we still sat in the warmer section. The booths were warmer there because we were next to the bar stool section and behind that was the kitchen. It’s always hotter in the kitchen. We chose the booth across from the open door to the kitchen.
At first, the waitress, only one for the period between the lunch and dinner rush, paid no attention to the new customers, us, but once she came over to our table, we were family. She was loud enough as she talked to us at our table that the cooks in the kitchen heard every word. My wife got the drink that she desired, but they were out of my first choice and my second choice. They had no soft drink that did not have caffeine. I settled for a raspberry iced tea, maybe a little caffeine, but suitably watered down.
Then a family left the diner and the woman collapsed on the sidewalk outside. A couple of the diner staff ran to her assistance while the waitress explained to us that the woman had fallen that morning. She had gone to the hospital and was diagnosed with a mild concussion. She was instructed to take it easy, and she would be all right. The family decided to go to the diner so that “Mom did not have to go from the hospital to the kitchen at home to cook them a meal.” They treated “Mom” to the diner instead, and she fell before she could walk to the car. The ambulance came and took the woman back to the hospital and the family followed them there.
With the emergency taken care of, our orders were taken. I know better than to order fried chicken, but I did. Fried chicken takes a lot longer to cook unless it is the only thing you make. Thus, we waited quite some time to get our food. Of the four pieces of chicken that I got for a modest price, two were thighs, so, like Saul in the Scripture above, I sat and ate.
But the long wait allowed my wife and the waitress to become long-lost friends. We heard about where she had lived before and what eastern European pastry was only available during Lent where she had come from, and they had some for sale. My wife got one for herself to take home.
By the time my chicken had been fried, my wife and the waitress had solved all the world’s problems, but I doubt if the world was listening.
If you have ever seen an episode of the television sit-com, Alice, I think I heard one or two full episodes in the time while we waited. The waitress never said, “Kiss my grits!!” (Flo’s catchphrase on the show, Flo, played by Polly Holliday being another waitress other than Alice who was played by Linda Lavin). In a way, I was disappointed in not hearing it, but the waitress probably wasn’t old enough to remember the show.
But this was not a television sit-com. This was reality. It was not scripted, but it was more interesting than any “reality television.”
We are on a fixed income. We probably could not afford too many trips to the diner, and the magical moment that afternoon might never be repeated. When you get one of those, you must simply savor it and praise God that you were there to enjoy it.
I have a woman with a concussion to add to my prayer list, but why not pray for the entire cast of characters while I am at it.
God puts some people in your path for a purpose, and this little afternoon that was spent in a time capsule gave me the chance to see that the world of my youth still exists, just in tiny pockets.
Hollywood may have moved on to stories that seem to have no warmth, no depth, and no touch of compassion. The stories push an agenda down our throats that differs from the values that God speaks of in the Bible. But the world has not totally gone over the edge to join them. Real life can include moments of people who simply love one another.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.