“It’s on fire, Dad! I can see the flames from here.”
Oh, that? I’ll get back to that in just a second. But first, hi! I am in Eagle Point visiting my dear old papa Jim and nana Karla, soaking in summer with my family.
My family and I drove to Oregon from San Diego, and it took quite some time. We took the occasional rest to stretch our legs, but my dad wanted to press on and get here quick as possible, to “save us the most money,” because time is money after all.
So we were driving and driving, and my two little brothers, Bernie and Jeremy, would get antsy, like any kids would, sitting in a car scrunched up for hours. At one point, as we were passing through Crescent City, my mom spotted a tiny restaurant off the side of the road nestled in the green forest.
Jeremy immediately loved the bear statues out front, and my mom was starving and starting to get a little feisty. If you have ever been around someone who gets hangry (hungry and angry), then you know exactly what I am talking about. My dad, not wanting to lose an arm or leg, pulled over and parked.
We were seated as soon as we entered, and we all liked the place right off the bat. It had decorations of cute fish smiling at you and dancing flowers on the walls. Our table was clean and the menu had just about anything you could ask for.
As the waitress brought us water, my dad asked what the best thing was on the menu. The waitress described a fried chicken plate, battered in their homemade bread crumbs, served with mashed potatoes, vegetables and soup. I could see my dad starting to salivate. In fact, we all were; we hadn’t eaten in hours. There was one catch with this specific plate: Because it was homemade, it took about 30 to 40 minutes to cook. Seeing the doubt in my dad’s eyes, the waitress quickly added, “It’ll be worth it! I promise!” So, my dad said yes.
My brothers and mom all ordered burgers, and I ordered a mushroom and ham skillet. Our food came hot and ready about 10 minutes in, and immediately there was a mood change in us all. Really, it was like night and day. You could tell my mom was happy now, because she whipped out the selfie-stick and starting capturing all of those fleeting, precious moments of us chewing and scarfing down food.
We were laughing and catching up with one another while my poor dad waited patiently. Time ticked on, and I must say, that was the best skillet I had ever eaten. The food tasted so good we even ordered dessert, and by now, my dad was getting desperate, eating the crumbs off our plates. All of a sudden we smelled smoke and looked back toward the kitchen. We could see a flash of flames, and then no more.
Right after, the waitress returned with some terrible news. My dad’s chicken had caught on fire. If only words could describe the sadness on my dad’s face; my brothers started laughing, and I could see my mom suppressing a smile. I thought it was kind of funny too.
It worked out in the end, because my dad got a free meal. After he ate, we got back on the road, but it didn’t take long for that skillet to disagree with me, and we had to stop for “breaks” every 10 minutes. My little brothers thought this was hysterical. But my parents didn’t mind taking the time to stop for dinner, or the long battle I had with that delicious skillet.
We had a nice family dinner, and for just a moment, we paused life and took a seat. Life moves pretty quickly, and if you don’t sit down every now and then, it might just run right past you. So go home. Kiss your spouse and kids. Sit down at the dinner table, and share a meal with your family. And most importantly ... don’t eat the skillet.
Amber Reinhart is a junior at San Diego State University. She is in Eagle Point this summer visiting her grandpa.
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