Thank God Texas Has A Lot Of Room
TAKE ME TO THE BUTTER CHURN is a cry I hear on a regular basis when we go south to visit family. “The Butter Churn” is a restaurant/feeding station aka buffet just a waddle or two away from the family home in Sinton, Texas. And every time we visit, along with an assortment of several generations of nieces and nephews, we go to The Butter Churn.
I’m not saying that their food isn’t good – it is, very good. That’s where the problem is. When we go there, all thirteen thousand of us, I tend to do an impression of a polar bear preparing for an Arctic winter. You know that Overeating is expected when the restaurant has a sign by the buffet reading, “Use a new plate for each trip.” When I see that sign I know that the sky is the limit.
I know better. I really do. I know that I should be a moderate eater and using only one fork at a time doesn’t qualify as moderate. But the Butter Churn gets past my intellectual dietary safeguards. When I go there I somehow find myself loading up my plate(s) with things I would never otherwise eat – Breaded Okra, Breaded Unidentified Organic Matter, and Breaded Something Else. After that I hit the Gravy Well to cover it all with a tsunami of some really good stuff you could also use to patch your driveway.
I do take a new plate to the “Salad Bar,” but I usually load it with Watermelon, Pineapple, Grapes, and a dash or two of Strawberries and Blueberries. Not only is it delicious, it is also my nod to healthy eating. After that plate with the fruit I grab a new plate and follow the pathway to the Beef, the Ham, the Shrimp, the Chicken, and the Tater Tots…and maybe another dollop of Gravy.
We were there in force the other night. The manager gave us our own room, out of the pathway to the buffet tables. We had our own restaurant staffers to keep us all well beveraged, napkined, and to haul away our collection of used and abused plates. We ate. Boy, did we eat.
After the first wave of eating was over and a pleasant euphoria hung over the room like a Gravied fog, we all sat quietly and talked – about our favorite foods. What else? Sports? Politics? Religion? Nope.
With about fifteen minutes of this idle chit-chat under my tightening belt I heard the siren song of the “Dessert Table.” It was easy to find. I just followed everybody else from our room. I was hoping for pie. I like pie. I like just about any kind of pie. They were out of pie. We shouldn’t have talked for so long. I think some other room must have cut the chatter and beat us to the Dessert Table. I had to settle for Peach Cobbler which is, in a very real sense, pie served with a spoon. I made do. My only disappointment came when I went to give my Peach Cobbler a crown of “Soft-Serve” ice cream. That other family beat me to the punch again. They were out of my ice cream. They had consumed ALL of the vanilla ice cream in the joint, and I’m a purist – I won’t crown my Peach Cobbler with chocolate ice cream. I just won’t. So I ate it plain.
After all of this I took my High Blood Pressure Meds, all the while feeling like I was pushing the outside of the pharmaceutical envelope. If my doctor ever reads this he might slap me upside the head with his stethoscope. Those things hurt when they hit you in the ear.
Last night was a major bonding moment for both the family and our arteries, but I take part in events like that only a couple of times a year. Any more than that and I’d have to fly home in the cargo hold.
It may have been an exercise in gluttony, but I’ll tell you what – that night I slept like a log. I slept the sleep of a man who overcame his disappointment at not finding any vanilla ice cream.