Friday, April 14, 2006

A brief interlude...

(Please pardon me as I break from the DRAWNOUT account of my NY trip.)

If you've watched the animated TV show 'King of the Hill' in any great quantity, you've no doubt seen a restaurant featured called "Luly's". It turns out there really is a true Texas counterpart to television's "Luly's" - a cafeteria style eatery called "LUBY'S". I realize this sounds more like a business where you take your car for an oil change, but it is a reasonably good place to eat and on Wednesdays and Saturdays, kids eat free with the purchase of adult meals.

So it was, that last night we headed out to Lone Star Comics on Hulen Avenue to pick up a copy of GIJOE #111 which features a Scarlett pin-up page by my friend and excellent artist Adam Hughes. After the quick comic book stop, we scooted down the street to LUBY's for dinner.

As we ate, the two boys, Taura and I chatted about Superman's powers. I was explaining the yellow sun as the source of Superman's powers to the boys and discussing how x-ray vision might work with my dear wife Taura.

When dining at LUBY'S, one doesn't really get a proper waitress, but rather a 'server' who fills your drink glass and who will bring you odds and ends if you need them. Our server was an elderly lady who, to my eye, looked as though she should not have been working at all. Her age seemed beyond that of retirement. She engaged us in conversation and was really quite pleasnt to us. She was most amazed that my youngest son Joshua was eating spinach.

We were almost done with our meal when there was a tremendous crashing sound a table away. I looked and saw our elderly server, who was bussing a table, had almost dropped a bin full of dirty dishes resulting in most of the contents spilling onto the floor. I shot a quick glance at Taura and went over to help. I only managed to pick up the bin and a few dishes before two other employes showed up and politley waived me off.

It dawned on me that I had been handling the dirty plates of unknown persons, so I headed off to wash my hands in the restroom. Shortly after, we collected ourselves and paid our check with the cashier near the exit. The four of us were in the entry way and almost outside when I heard a woman's voice calling "sir, sir?".

My first thought was that I had been given the wrong change or left some personal belonging at the table. As a woman I hadn't seen before came through the exit toward us, she began to tell me what a good man I was. She had noticed how I 'jumped up' and helped the server when she dropped her pile of dirty dishes. I was taken aback but I smiled and managed a polite 'thank you'.

As we made our way to our car, I was reminded of the Biblical account of someone calling Jesus 'good' and his quizically knowing reply of 'Why do you call me good? Only God is good.' I only wish I had managed something one-tenth as profound as He, when I suddenly found myself on the receiving end of a stranger's praise.

As we drove toward home, I found that I was oddly melancholy about the experience. I was struck by how little pride I derived from the situation and how I actually felt a twinge of remorse that I am not a better person than I am. Instead of self-satisfaction, I only felt the desire to do better. It seems to be the best way to think of a situation like that. One good deed per day is not enough.

Taura and I spoke of this as we neared home. "Helping someone like that is really no big deal at all," I told her. "And anyway, after our conversation about Superman, what else could I do?"

She smiled at me.


Anonymous Charles said...

Trust me on this. You're one of the good guys.

April 17, 2006 4:17 PM  
Blogger J. Scott said...

Great story Lanny - don't be too hard on yourself, you showed the true intention of your heart when you offered to help. A small act - but a big heart!
Scott L.

April 18, 2006 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Mike B. said...

What's really important here is the lesson the boys will learn. Sure, they'll remember as they get older the fun trips to the diner, but wht they learned by watching your actions will go much farther then the warm fuzzies......

May 04, 2006 4:25 AM  

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