Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just Going Home From the Beach

Robbie Lee and I were driving home after spending all day enjoying the sand and the beautiful ocean in the city of Virginia Beach. We were both wearing big floppy hats, huge t-shirts with beach scenes on them, baggy shorts, and flip-flops. We had been swimming, so our hair was neatly matted to the top of our heads—thus the hats.

On the way, I decided I was hungry. “Let’s stop and get some take-out.”

“All right, how about Moseberth’s Fried Chicken? It’s always good,”replied Robbie Lee.

“No, I was thinking more like a sandwich or something light.”

“But I’m really hungry. I don’t think a sandwich will do it for me,”Robbie Lee said, rubbing her belly.

“Look, there’s a place,”I said pointing to a little restaurant by the side of the road. “Let’s go in and see what they have. It looks like a deli, so they probably have a little bit of everything.”

As we pulled in, we noticed there were lots of cars in the parking lot.

“Boy, there sure are a lot of people here. I don’t know if I want to go in dressed like this,”said Robbie Lee, pulling down the sunvisor’s mirror. “I’m a real sight.”

“Oh, we’ll just rush in and get something to go,”I said,not even bothering to look in the mirror.

Upon entering the deli, we could smell fried chicken. Robbie Lee spotted the buffet right away and ran over to see what was in it. I casually strolled over to the counter to look at the sandwich menu.

“Hey PollyD, they have fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and lots of hot vegetables over here. It looks great.”

“I want to see what kind of sandwiches they have first,” I yelled back.

Suddenly a woman appeared behind the counter and in a low whisper asked, “May I help you?”

“Oh yes, I’m just trying to decide what kind of sandwich I want,”I said, still studying the menu.

Robbie Lee yelled back with a huge grin on her face,“I know I’m getting fried chicken. Ask her how much the buffet would be to go.”

The woman’s eyes were following my floppy hat as I turned back and forth to carry on discussions with Robbie Lee across the room.

“Please excuse me…” started the woman behind the counter.

“Oh, just one more minute, please. You have so many choices,” I said.

“Did you ask her how much the buffet is yet? These pieces of fried chicken are huge. Are you sure you don’t want to get the buffetin stead of a sandwich? Maybe we should call Mom and ask her if she wants us to bring her a plate too,”said Robbie Lee, lustfully leaning over the steaming food.

“No, I’m sure she would much rather just have a sandwich.”

“I’m sorry to interrupt you,”the woman said in a quiet,polite voice,“but you see, we’re closed.”

“Closed?”I asked in utter shock. “How can you be closed? There are a hundred cars in the parking lot.”

“You see, we’re closed because we’re hosting a private banquet.” She pointed behind me to a table of well-dressed people all seated around a long table. Upon second glance, I noticed a speaker standing behind a podium. No one was speaking. In fact, everyone was just sitting and staring at us.

There wasn’t a sound in the restaurant, except for the lone voice of Robbie Lee, “I’m going to get pork chops and fried chicken. Don’t you want fried chicken, Polly D? It really looks good.”

I snapped my head toward Robbie Lee and began to frantically motion for her to be quiet and to follow me.

“What are you doing? Aren’t you going to get something to eat?”

“Come on,” I said in a loud whisper, while the people at the table talked amongst themselves.

“But PollyD, why do we have to go somewhere else with all of this food here?”

“Just shut up and come on,” I sputtered, heading toward the door.

Robbie Lee flip-flopped back toward me, and then we both quickly marched back to the exit.

“What’s going on?” Robbie Lee still asked with her hands on her hips.

The woman behind the counter and the people at the table watched as I paused in my sprint toward the exit long enough to whisper in Robbie Lee’s ear. Suddenly she let out a squeal like a pig caught in a barbed wire fence, while we bolted for the exit to the sound of our flip-flops on the recently waxed floor. We didn’t stop running until we reached the car.

“I’m never coming back here again!” I cried.

“I don’t know, they had a pretty good-looking buffet,”laughed Robbie Lee.

The car spun off around the corner toward home. Later that evening, Robbie Lee, AC, and I enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with cold glasses of milk and swore to never leave the house again.

“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

Ever have one of those embarrassing moments when you want to hide your head in a bag? I’ve had so many I can’t begin to count them all, but they’ve certainly made life interesting.Sometimes we do things that would embarrass us to no end if anyone ever found out. We don’t want anyone to think we’re totally insane.

Fitting in and feeling like part of the group is so important to us, yet something will always happen to make us stick out like a sore thumb. I’ve learned to laugh at myself. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be able to show my face with some of the crazy things I’ve managed to do over the years.

Fortunately, the Lord is never ashamed of us. He loves us no matter what. Where else can you find this kind of unconditional love? Even when we look our worst, or want to move to another state because of something we’ve done, He still loves us as His very own child. Isn’t it great to know that even in your most awkward moment, when everyone else is staring at you with their mouths hanging open, He’s looking down at you with a great big smile? He’ll help you get back up and keep on walking with your head held high. Learn to laugh at yourself. Stop taking everything so seriously.

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So Save Room For Dessert." Copyright © 2005 by Polly D. Boyette 
All Rights Reserved

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