Second Helpings

Now Playing: (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, by Blue Oyster Cult. “All our times have come, Here but now they’re gone. Seasons don’t fear the reaper, Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain. We can be like they are …”

Today I’m going to tie up a couple of loose ends from past entries, concerning holidays and restaurants, and maybe cast a little light on my ambivalence, at best, for Darryl’s.

To recap, Monday’s post was about my favorite restaurant, which ain’t Darryl’s. I got a lot of comments on Facebook from folks who liked Darryl’s and a really nice response on the blog from the owner of the last Darryl’s standing, the one in Greensboro. He invited me to come to Greensboro and eat there and told me I might change my mind. Fair enough. I plan to take him up on it sometime.

But it occurred to me that I didn’t really explain how I feel about Darryl’s and how it has nothing to do with the restaurant and everything to do with a certain situation.

In another previous blog, I talked about eating holiday meals at convenience stores. That’s one of the byproducts of working so many years in newspapers – which don’t shut down for holidays or disasters or pretty much anything. Well, it turns out I’ve eaten a couple of holiday meals at restaurants as well.

One was when I was at the Gastonia newspaper. I had to work Thanksgiving, which meant going in around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Which meant Karen and I wouldn’t have time for a traditional holiday meal at our apartment. We went to a now-closed Charlotte restaurant and had a pretty good turkey and fixings meal before I went in. No problem.

The other also was a Thanksgiving meal. It was at the Darryl’s in Durham. I was off this holiday, and I’d gone to be with my family for the holiday. But my family wasn’t home. It was gathered at Duke University Medical Center, where my dad was hospitalized again for what started as tongue cancer. By this time, it had spread to his lungs and spine. He could walk. He couldn’t eat. He wasn’t getting any better, and this was when they told us he wouldn’t.

There’d be no more radiation or chemo, no more treatments designed to make him better. Just to ease his pain.

So we didn’t have a lot to be thankful for that holiday. But we had to eat.

We went to the Darryl’s in Durham. I’d eaten there several times while I was in college. The food was always good.

On this day, though, it was hard to choke down, through no fault of the restaurant. I’ve never eaten at a Darryl’s again.

My dad died a couple of months later. Time has eased the pain, though not the sadness.

I think I’m ready to give Darryl’s another try, thanks to a nicer-than-he-had-to-be owner of the Greensboro restaurant.

Everybody needs his memories.  They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.” _ Saul Bellow


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