December 26, 2005

Pigging Out

Christmas morning I took a walk through empty sunny streets to slip a rented movie through a return slot, then came back and did a half-day's work on the teachers' notes for a Grade 11 literature textbook. I'd been invited to an early dinner by a couple of friends, and we drove to one of the few restaurants in town that was open: a Southern-style cafeteria where you can get all you can eat for $7.99. It had the only packed parking lot in town, too. The restaurant was a big, clean space with tables being rapidly cleared by black-aproned Hispanic women, and at 4 p.m. the line of customer went the entire length of the interior to the front door. Families were carrying overloaded trays of food, sometimes two trays per person, and many of the trays were piled two or three layers high, with several entrees, two or three desserts, and a multitude of small side-dish bowls. Well, the line was so long you wouldn't want to go back on it for seconds. Now and then a piece of china fell to the ground and smashed, to be quickly whisked up. I got cucumber salad, cole slaw, fried chicken (two thighs, two wings), roast beef, sliced red potatoes braised with onions, corn niblets, fried okra, jalapeno cornbread, pumpkin pie with whippped cream, and apple pie. Water to drink. This was a full tray only one layer high. Everything was good except the fried chicken, which was dry. And the okra was a bit stale and bready. The pies were excellent, the roast beef medium-rare, moistened along with the potatoes by natural juice. Among the three of us we had planned on four trays, but it turned out we didn't need the fourth.

All around, people were pushing plates of half-eaten food away. "I'm through." "I'm done." "No more." "No mas." "It's nap time." By the cashier's station stood a revolving glass display of whole pies. Pumpkin, pecan, apple, buttermilk, chocolate cream, coconut cream... They looked perfect. Some other time perhaps. I'll come back with the kids, they'd love this place.

Back home, I watched one play of the Packers-Bears game on TV: Brett Favre threw a touchdown interception. Sic transit gloria mundi. I read myself to sleep (ALBION by Peter Ackroyd, recomended for anglophiles only, of which I am one), then woke at 8 p.m. and watched a good suspense movie, ONE FALSE MOVE, written by Billy Bob Thornton before he became a star.

Today's plan: just another Monday.

Labels: , ,