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Domesticated, Not Demasculinized

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A turning point in my daughters’ lives and an ode to Cousin Eddie

Posted by doatmon on July 28, 2009

I have a perfectly good excuse for this, the most egregious of blogging abominations: the re-post.

I am re-posting a blog I wrote earlier this year at a former location as I am currently in the throes of a shower that ‘didn’t take’ following a grueling 25-minute inglorious return to the pick-up basketball courts of Columbus.  My hands are shakign (sic) as I’m typing this and I think I might need one of them to reach for the defibrillator … so let me make this brief.

French Fry smacked my “buddha” today and exalted, “Your belly jiggles more than your butt-butt.” Yeah, time to hit the court.  Or another plate of chili-cheese fries and give up on life.  I chose the former. First.

Okay…I’m seeing stars and feeling as if I just sucked the helium out of five Dora the Explorer balloons.  Allegedly.  So enough of the set-up.  I wrote this after French Fry and Chicken Nugget experienced a buffet for the first time earlier this year.

MEDIC!

I can barely type this through my tears of joy.

Sunday was an enormous day in my daughters’ lives.  No, not their first Pro Bowl.  They have been around for previous incarnations of that orgy of pointless exhibitions and, well, orgies.  No, it was something infinitely more important.

It was their first trip to a Sunday buffet.

Before we go any further, let’s ensure we’re singing from the same hymnal here.  That’s buffet.  Pronounced “Boo-fey” … Not “Buh-fey” or worse yet, “Buff-ette.”  Something as bacchanalian as a Sunday buffet deserves the emphasis on the FIRST syllable.

Back to the turning point in my girls’ lives.  Sunday we were taking the girls to the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Hockey Fest.  But we wanted to do something fun for lunch.  And I was feeling flush with cash after fleecing some fine, upstanding gentlemen from a whopping $40 the night before.  I was wracking my brain to come up with a dining experience that didn’t involve a clown or excessive amounts of processed cheddar and oyster crackers.

As a plane flew overheard, it hit me.  Not the plane, the perfect lunch destination.  One of the highlights of my childhood was cramming in the family’s Ford Taurus/Tempo/LTD and heading to the place where culinary and kitsch meet in a chorus of consumption: the 94th Aero Squadron.

Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar, this was a chain of restaurants that were around almost every airport in the United States at one time.  They are built in a WWI motif from the “Checkpoint Charlie” gate in the parking lot to the sandbags lining the walls of the entry-way.  It is the ultimate theme restaurant.  Most of these glorious establishments have long-since closed.  But the one in Columbus goes on and on.  For one reason and one reason only: the Sunday buffet.

All of this reminiscing only served to strengthen my convictions.  I turned onto Hamilton Rd. and drowned out the ear-splitting protests of my wife and headed for this Sunday tradition.

It was exactly as I remembered it.  It seemingly contained miles and miles of moderately warm food, some of it prepared to order by completely uninterested college students still shaking off the cobwebs of the Mad-Dog and White Castle binge from the night before.  It was beautiful.  And then there was the 80 ft. long table of the finest pastries Sam’s Club has to offer.  Pure bliss.

And my girls dove right in with reckless abandon.  They each of course had their favorites.  Chicken Nugget ate two tons of “Belgian” waffle with whipped cream and oreo pieces. French Fry was fond of the boxed mashed potatoes and the sodium-saturated ham.  But what brought me endless joy was watching them run around, touching everything with the hands that had been playing in mud puddles only minutes before and piling their plates with items they won’t eat until they can legally drive.

Of course, bringing me down from this euphoric state of mind was my lovely wife.  Twelve years we have been together.  We will have been married ten years in November.  And buffets just aren’t her thing.  She would go up, wander amongst the aisles of food, lift the cover off of some food and I would watch her eyes roll back into her head as she slammed the lid back down in disgust.  She would wander over to the vegetable tray, remember she hates vegetables and stand there, stunned for minutes at a time.  Eventually, she would head back to the breakfast zip code and pluck a bagel, a piece of melon and a few grains of Uncle Ben’s finest.  She would then begin the dangerous journey back to the table playing “Frogger” with rotund individuals planning the items for their last meal until mid-week all while trying to avoid the mass of humanity making the pilgrimage from the thawed crab legs to the vat of melted butter-substance.

I truly felt bad for her.

But it was all worthwhile when my four-year-old leaned over, hugged me and said “I love you daddy…and I love buffets.”  I am getting choked up about it just typing these words.

It was a scene expertly captured by the cinematic achievement that was “Vegas Vacation.”  As the socially challenged cousin Eddie takes Clark W. Griswold to his favorite Vegas establishment, he walks up to the man behind the sneeze-guard, points to a colored, gelatinous mass and says these immortal words: “Give me some of the yellow…and don’t get cheap on me.”

Indeed, Cousin Eddie.  Indeed.

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2 Responses to “A turning point in my daughters’ lives and an ode to Cousin Eddie”

  1. Matt said

    Priceless, Brock. I had no idea 94th Aero Squadron had a buffet. We need to hit it up!

  2. Susiej said

    I haven’t been to that buffet in year! Glad to hear it still exists… great location for the kids… great idea to go there with them. And, what an awesome moment with your daughter.

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