Sunday was tough.
I lit a candle in memory of my dad and headed out the door to his favorite restaurant.
Already packed before noon, I found a table and sat down.
“Hey, how are you today?” the waitress asked.
“I’m doing well, hope you are,” I replied.
“What can I get you to drink?” the waitress asked as she pulled a straw and utensils from the pocket of her apron.
“I’ll have the buffet,” I said.
I waited until the line dwindled before I left the table.
Once most of the crowd had returned to their spots throughout the restaurant, I walked down the buffet line and chose some things dad loved to eat – butterbeans, corn, fatback, a chicken wing, barbecue and of course, a hush puppy or two.
I returned to the table, opened my phone and found a pic of my dad.
I said a silent prayer to thank the Lord for blessing me with one of the best men I could ever have in my life.
While I ate, I watched other fathers interact with their families.
Though I sat in silence, my brain spoke volumes and memories flashed through my head as I recalled many a Father’s Day at home, and at the restaurant.
I couldn’t help but smile and wipe away a tear or two.
A gentleman walked by wearing an Army veteran’s hat and I spoke to him.
“Thank you for your sacrifice and your service,” I said as I shook his hand.
He asked if I served in the military and I said, “no.”
I told him my dad spent three years in the Army and fought in the Korean Conflict. I didn’t offer too many details, but my facial expressions spoke volumes while I spoke with him.
This gentleman also went to Korea.
I told him my dad’s name and it didn’t ring any bells.
Yet, he felt a connection because he, too, was a POW who escaped the Koreans. And he, like my dad, received the prestigious Purple Heart.
He shook my hand again and headed toward the buffet.
A few minutes later, I finished my meal, but I wasn’t done.
Dad loved banana pudding.
I walked to the dessert bar, picked up the spoon and put two healthy scoops of that delicious concoction into a bowl.
It didn’t take long to eat it, either.
As it melted in my mouth, I could hear my dad say, “man, that’s good.”
Yep, it was.
Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, pops.