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Trade Paperback
98 pages
Nov 2005

Life is a Buffet: So Save Room for Dessert

by Polly D. Boyette

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There's nothing I enjoy more than going out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. There's one in Portsmouth, VA, where I used to live, named the Circle. The food there is absolutely the best. They have a great variety of selections and everything tastes like home cooking. On Sundays, they have the best buffet in town. You can get anything from roast beef to, of course my favorite, fried chicken. There's usually a line, but it's well worth the wait.

One particular Sunday afternoon we decided to stop at the Circle for the buffet. Robbie Lee and I waited patiently in line along with the other hungry guests for about fifteen minutes before we were finally shown to our table. The front of the restaurant is actually shaped in a somewhat circular fashion, with the tables lined up beside one another in front of a huge window. This is the only thing I don't really like about the restaurant. The tables are too close to each other. You actually feel like you have to join in on the other party's conversation because you can hear every word. You're practically sitting in their laps, but I endure this inconvenience because the food is so good.

Once we told the waitress we were having buffet, we were off and running to the goodies. I skipped right past the salads and made my way to the main dishes, like fish, chicken livers, roast beef, fried chicken, and the best stewed tomatoes I had ever put in my mouth. I filled up my plate quickly because I was about to pass out from starvation. I headed back to my table, leaving Robbie Lee still pouring over the salads.

I smiled at the people seated at the table next to ours as I passed them. They were already eating, and they gave me just a quick and polite half smile. You know, the kind that people flash at you when they have no idea who you are and the smile fades almost before you have a chance to see it. Anyway, I turned quickly to sit down, and once seated I couldn't believe my eyes. The people at whom I had just smiled and who had been casually eating their dinner now had glasses, plates, and food turned upside down on them and all across the once-white tablecloth. I thought to myself, I wonder what could have happened to their table in such a short time. They looked fine when I smiled at them earlier, but now their whole table is in a disaster. Then I noticed that they were glaring at me. Why are they staring at me with such indignation? I didn't do anything. Suddenly it dawned on me. My pocketbook had a long strap on it and apparently as I swung around to sit down my pocketbook swung across their table, destroying everything in sight.

"I'm so sorry. Please, let me help you clean up," I cried. My face felt like it was about to explode from embarrassment. Everyone was staring now. "I'll be glad to pay for any dry-cleaning bills you might have."

"Please, just leave us alone. We'll take care of everything," one of the ladies replied.

I took my seat again, but I didn't know what to do with myself. After all, they were seated right next to me. Of course, Robbie Lee was still lingering up at the buffet table, chatting with someone, not knowing that her sister was causing enough chaos to get us thrown out on our heads.

"I wish she'd hurry up and come back to the table so I won't have to endure this embarrassment alone," I whispered under my breath. But Robbie Lee continued to linger over the food, chatting away.

"Are you sure there's nothing more I can do for you?" I pleaded, wanting them to let me do something to make up for the mess I had made.

"No, please. Just leave us alone," the woman again requested, looking at me like she wanted to knock me down in the middle of the room and beat me to a bloody pulp. I decided it would be best to leave her be.

I tried to begin eating, but it was so difficult with the whole restaurant staring and pointing. Finally, Robbie Lee came and sat down in front of me.

"Hey, what happened to them? Was there a tornado or something?" Robbie Lee said loudly.

The people at the next table just glared in my direction.

"Shhhh! I did that. I destroyed their entire table with my pocketbook. I'm so humiliated."

"You did it? Oh, no. Can we do anything to help you?" Robbie Lee blurted out to the woman who had already given me a threatening look when I asked that.

"Robbie Lee, be quiet! They don't want our help. Let's just eat and get out of here, please," I said, hiding my face with my hands.

We both tried to eat, but it felt like the whole world was watching us.

"Your face is really red," Robbie Lee pointed out.

"Thank-you, but I realize my face is very red because it feels like it's on fire. Can we talk about something else, please?"

"OK, guess who I ran into waiting in the buffet line?" Robbie Lee asked, quickly changing the subject.


"Sherry. You remember her. I went to high school with her. She was telling me she's married now, and they live in Longwood Homes."

"Longwood Homes?" I said louder than I meant to. "Who'd she marry, a millionaire?" I asked, laughing out loud.

Now Robbie Lee's face was beet-red. "No," she said in a hushed tone. "She married the man sitting right next to you."

As Robbie Lee pointed at the man right beside me, who was now staring at me even harder, I tried my best to sink underneath the table. I wished the napkin had been bigger so I could have covered myself up in it and just disappear from sight, but I couldn't. I tried not to catch his eyes as I shoveled food into my mouth to keep me quiet.

But then something terrible happened. Robbie Lee got the giggles, and she passed them along to me. Every time we looked at each other, we would just lose it. The people next to us were getting madder and madder because they thought we were laughing at them. I kept trying to explain in between our bursts of laughter that we weren't actually laughing at them, but they weren't buying it. Robbie Lee and I finally gave up, asked for our checks, and left. We screamed in laughter all the way home. I was so humiliated, but at the same time, the whole thing was so comical.

If nothing else, I sure learned a lesson from that experience. Now when I go out to dinner, I always carry just a small purse in my hand, make no sudden moves, and never look other people in the eye.

Psalm 23:5
"You Prepare A Table Before Me In The Presence Of My Enemies."

An enemy is someone who is proposing or seeking to inflict injury on another, according to Webster's Handy College Dictionary. Do you have enemies? Well, maybe they're not people who want to actually injure you physically, but sometimes our enemies are disguised as friends. I use the term "friends" loosely here. They are actually posing as friends in order to find out all of the dirt in your life so that they can be the first to share it with others, or they want to be on the inside so they can throw roadblocks in your path to prevent your success. Know anyone like that in your life? Well, God sees the heart of each person, and He knows their true intentions.

Have you ever wanted to take matters into your own hands, and take revenge on someone who is making your life difficult? You know, God can actually use our enemies to complete His plan for our life. Your enemies may not realize it, but they could be doing exactly what God has allowed them to do. While we're plotting their demise, God is perhaps trying to build character into our lives by using this unreasonable person or He may turn to good what your so-called friend intended for harm.

Whatever the situation, God is always in control and will work things for the good of those who love Him. He provides us with protection and power against our enemy. He allows us to walk in safety and security, knowing that He is guiding our steps and that He alone holds the reins to our future and no one else. Rest in His peace and strength. Leave the unfair and untrue accusations for God to handle. You don't have to defend yourself against these things. God will contend with those who contend with you. In Romans 12:19-21 it says "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge. I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."