We seldom went out to eat when I was a kid. Oh, I know, I’m going to sound like an old geezer when I say, “You young-uns don’t know how lucky you are! BAH!” At least I still have all my teeth.
So, eating out. We thought it was a huge treat to eat lunch at Arby’s when Mom took us to the “city” when we had a check-up with our pediatrician. Once in a while, we would drive over to the next town to eat at the Dairy Queen Brazier, which was at a truck stop on the highway. Buster Bars were my favorite–there’s just something about vanilla ice cream salty peanuts and fudge that can’t be beat! Most of the time, however, Mom would make us breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we would eat at home. There wasn’t really that much temptation to go out when you live in a small town with barely a stop sign, anyway.
For our birthdays, it was a special treat to drive down to the Village Inn in Champaign for pizza. The Village Inn had round fireplaces and big round tables. It was dark, warm and cozy. Dad ordered a beer, Mom sipped a glass of wine, and us kids got to drink root beer. The thin crust pepperoni pizza tasted so delicious! Plus, the birthday girl got to pick out a small stuffed animal from a special display! I still remember the little horse I picked out one year.
If you asked me when I was a child where my favorite place to eat was, I would definitely have said The Village Inn.
My family had a lot of fun when we went out. Most of the time, though, dinner was eaten at home, in the dining room. Only we called it “supper.” Dinner was the big meal we ate at 1:00 on a Sunday afternoon after church. For suppertime, our family of six would all sit down together, and we ate whatever was on the menu for that evening. When my brother would request a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Mom would tell him, “It’s not on the menu!” When I would almost cry over the five bean casserole I couldn’t stand, I had to eat it anyway. We bickered and fought over supper. We had silent suppers. We had noisy suppers. We had celebratory suppers.
We had together suppers.
Mom worked hard at cooking supper every night. She made sure that we always had a vegetable and a fruit, and there was usually bread on the table as well. As a pastor, Dad’s schedule was not predictable. He had to go to the hospital to visit sick parishioners, he had meetings almost every night, he had services to prepare and sermons to write. But at 6:00 every evening, no matter how busy he was, he came home to eat supper with his family.
Supper was not always perfect, but it was always time spent together. Looking back, my favorite place to eat as a child was where ever my family was; whether we sat around the dining room table or a table next to a fireplace at The Village Inn.
Written in response to the following prompt for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop: 3) Write about your favorite place to eat when you were a child.