I will be far, far away for Fathers Day. My dad passed away over a year ago, and I like to pay tribute to him on his day by visiting his gravesite. I was far, far away on Fathers Day last year, too. And the year before. It just seems to be how my job goes. Mom and I decided to celebrate a week early and headed out to the Sacramento Valley Veterans Memorial in Dixon, California. We brought with us fresh cut hydrangeas from home and put them in front of his “communal mausoleum”. We sat and enjoyed the sun, the breeze and the cooler temperatures for a bit. Mom likes a little quiet time there, weather permitting. She still cries. I don’t, at least not there. I usually find my tears at other times, like the other day, his Cross ball point pen that he ALWAYS carried in his shirt pocket was on the table. For some reason, that just struck me and I found myself choked up. Grief is weird.
When my kids were younger and our family was whole, we would almost always share family occasions and meals at “The Olive Garden”, one of my dad’s favorites. For “corporate” restaurants, it has always been slightly more tolerable than others. Every time we go to the cemetery, from the day of my dad’s internment service until now, we stop in the neighboring town, at “The Olive Garden” for a meal. Given the choice of “Red Lobster” or “The Olive Garden”, I chose TOG. I’m trying to turn over a new leaf on judging people, replacing those instant, judgmental thoughts with good, wholesome thoughts and praise. This was not the right place for me. All I can say, read between the lines if you must, they have a lot of “all you can eat” options on the menu and the clientele today looked to have enjoyed that. Often.
I carefully ordered grilled chicken, rice, which, in hindsight I should’ve replaced with steamed vegetables and “all you can eat” salad, which, in hindsight, I should’ve ordered without dressing. I had decaf espresso for “dessert” rather than the high calorie, sticky, gummy desserts they had offered and “included” in our “three course meal for $12.95” deal. Yuck. Mom ordered bucatini, which is odd because she doesn’t like “fat spaghetti”, which is what bucatini is. Oh well. Finally, Mom is ready to part ways with TOG. She said “never again”. I said “OK!!”
Somehow, I managed to be hungry for dinner later, and in spite of the fact I took a fitness day off. I fixed mostly braised vegetables with a few pieces of lean stew meat (beef) stir-fried in. It was so good, compared to TOG. A good way to end the day.