, July 2021

“Let’s go, Golden Corral time!” Dad called into the house.

Eyes glued to iPhones, the kids wandered from their bedrooms, out the door, and into the Town and Country without looking up. Mom waited until the credits appeared on Judge Judy before heading out.

The Cashier/Host/Attendant greeted them by name and led them to their table overlooking the Interstate.

Dad ordered the Carving Station Steak. Mom, the Awesome Pot Roast. The kids went with the Fried Chicken. All meals came with the Salad Bar. For dessert, the Ice Cream Bar, Chocolate Wonderfall, and Cotton Candy Machine.

The next day at work, Dad spent an hour of company time on the toilet. At home, Mom was on it for two hours. The oldest son and daughter, who no longer attended high school, ninety minutes each. The one in junior high raised his hand in all but one of his classes for a hall pass to the Boys Room.

That night, they went a little lighter with Olive Garden. The next night they did Culvers’, then Tijuana Flats, Marco’s Pizza, Sonic, and, for Sunday dinner, Waffle House. ▪