GALLOPIN’ GRANDMA: Of Life and Buffet Lines

By on October 27, 2015

When the options are plentiful, judicious decisions are a must at restaurants and beyond.

In 1929, my mother picked this man, my dad, for a husband. She thought he was a snappy dresser... (Photo: gallopin’ grandma)

In 1929, my mother picked this man, my dad, for a husband. She thought he was a snappy dresser… (Photo: gallopin’ grandma)

Jackson, WY – Not long ago I paid many large bucks for a ticket to a fancy charity dinner. It promised me a gourmet meal by a famous chef and all sorts of grandiosity. I arrived at the event to learn that all waiters had been killed off in some waiter disaster, and the glittering dinner was a buffet.

Now I have nothing against buffets, I suppose that Chuck-A-Rama and Golden Corral have their place, but I don’t think that the words “feed line” and “gourmet” belong in the same sentence. A buffet line frightens me. I am a poor decider and not comfortable with being forced to choose on the spot.

When I hit a buffet line, I usually recognize half the food and wouldn’t like it anyway. The rest I recognize but don’t like either. The best stuff will be gone by the time I get there and if nobody wants it, it has probably been there long enough to give me food poisoning. On top of that, the person in line before me, and he knows who he is, will be taking his time choosing his food carefully, arranging it on his plate, rethinking his choices and holding up the line while the hungry peasants behind him are getting restless and ugly.

This reminds me of my hometown of Corn Cob, Iowa. There was a buffet restaurant called the Happy Farmer. About once per week, the Lurch tribe consisting of mom, dad, grandma and a bunch of relatives would descend upon the place, shovel their way through the food, take a few bites, throw it out and start all over again. Eventually, the manager took note of this, told them they were wasting food, could only go through the line once. Then he told them not to come back. The Lurches were stunned with disbelief.

“How can we discover what we like if we don’t try it first? How can we choose if we don’t know what it is?” they asked.

The manager agreed that they had a point, but, “Get out and don’t come back.” Tempers flared, police were called, grandma slugged the police dog with her purse because she said that he put his cold nose up her skirt. A few weeks later grandma was seen snacking her way through the salad bar at the HyVee store. She said she was checking the freshness of the produce.

I understand completely that choice is hard. I suffer from a panicked and disordered mind. I usually just point and suffer the consequences.

I’ve mentioned my friend LaWanda back home in Corn Cob and her ability to make lousy choices. Her last boyfriend was a bald guy who played the tuba and lived with his mother. She realized that she had made another dumb choice, but she really liked his mother and they became fast friends. They did stuff together like go to the mall and bingo night. Mom finally learned that she could choose what she wanted and what she wanted was to stop waiting on her loser son. She sold her house and moved to Omaha with her sister. LaWanda learned that while she had a lousy track record, she could always choose again and maybe the next one would be OK.

Someone said that life is a cabaret; well it isn’t. It’s a giant Chuck-A-Rama and we’re in a long buffet line. We get to choose what we like and don’t like, and as for that person ahead of me holding up the line, and he knows who he is, I am armed with a fork. PJH

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