Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thanksgiving at Old Country Buffet

I spent last Thursday afternoon with a friend of mine. He has no family in the area, so I sought to show him a good time on Thanksgiving Day. We watched some of the Titans' annihilation of the Lions before heading to one of the only restaurants open that day, Old Country Buffet.

I'm not a fan of buffets and rarely go to them (I prefer to have my food cooked to order and at regular restaurants, the likelihood of running into a carny is significantly less). I was able to compromise, however (especially when I found a coupon that reduced our admission from $12.50/person to $9.50).

We arrived a little after 3pm figuring that since it was the middle of the day, there wouldn't be as many people there. Boy, were we surprised. The line was almost out the door. Nothin' to do but wait. We talked as the line steadily moved. While engaged in conversation, I noticed a lady, a hostess, who looked quite a bit like a girl that I graduated with almost two decades ago. She was wearing glasses and a bit heavier than back then, but dang if she wasn't the spitting image of her. Why would she be working here, I thought. Oh yeah, that's right, we're in a recession.

As we got closer to the cashier, I hoped I would see my favorite buffet cliche', a big guy wearing overalls with a John Deere cap. There were people of all stripes at the restaurant. It was a regular global village. Obama would be proud. As we got close to the front of the line, I noticed people were having trouble finding seats. Yikes. I might have to eat turkey on the floor.

It was just then that I got a good look at the girl who resembled my former classmate. My eyes widened. It was her. This was proven conclusively 5 seconds later when I saw her nametag. I told my friend (who graduated the same year as I). He said he didn't remember her as clearly, but felt she looked familiar. After we paid for our grub, I said, "Hi" to her and believed she recognized the two of us. Luckily, we were able to get a booth right away.

The line to get turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and all that jazz was not inconsequential. It actually snaked back around itself (kinda like W). I had a bit of a problem figuring it all out (though not as much as this guy). I told my friend to have a go while I held our seat and got something to drink (two small glasses of blue Powerade). I noticed in the center of the buffet a guy carving turkey, ham, and steak. Boy, was his arm gonna be tired tomorrow.

Most everyone in the restaurant was in a good mood (though some were more antsy than others to eat). Feeling our seat was safe, I got in line. Determined not to overdo it, I wound up getting a medium cut of turkey, some mashed tatoes, a cinnamon roll (I'd forgotten its pleasures), and a smidge of cranberry sauce. Oh, and a slice of pizza (I was probably the only person over 30 that day to take one).

My friend and I talked about work, social activities we've pursued of late, and the Marxist tendencies of Obama.

While eating, I noticed a man of Asian descent working quite feverishly at clearing tables and getting people refills of water and coffee. As my friend went up for another helping, I gave the man a dollar bill (I would've given more, but only had 5's and 20's besides the single). Nonetheless, he was incredibly happy when I gave it to him (he must not get many tips).

The high school lady walked past our table a couple times while we ate, but didn't look at me, instead taking a gander at my buddy. Had I lost my touch? Was she pretending to look at him while looking at me out of her peripheral? Did she notice me eating with my left-hand and feel she should steer clear of such madness? No matter. It was good to see someone I remembered fondly from my high school days.


Coconut said...

Oh the OCB. Haven't been to one of those in like, 6 years.

Sarah said...

Possibly the most random Thanksgiving story ever! :) And like the line [and W!], it seemed to snake back around itself. Still, I found it oddly compelling.

Glad you had a happy Thanksgiving!

Brian said...

For Thanksgiving, the wife and I went through the trouble of making a healthier version of Thanksgiving, then went to see Twilight & we each got nachos with that extra slop of cheese.

Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving.

Rocketstar said...

I used to love OCB

Eric Curtis said...

I've never been to an OCB. Have to check and see if they even have them down here in South Carolina.

Spent Thanksgiving with my Mom and Grandmother. I don't see them too much, so it was really nice.

Dämmerung Anblick said...

Okay, that picture just made me hungry. So much for bypassing the fridge before bedtime...

Sarah said...

I have to tell you my family's OCB story... We were in Omaha & decided to hit up the OCB for lunch. At one point, my 6-year old brother has disappeared. We're all a little freaked you know, his being lost in the 'big city' and all. Turns out the poor kiddo ate too much and had to step outside to barf. I cannot help but recall that story when ever anyone mentions OCB.

Stephanie said...

We don't have OCB here in Houston ... at least not that I know of. Hmm, wonder if it's a northern thing.