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Dining at Shaffner House – You Must Read This!

If the dining experience at Shaffner House Inn had simply been good, I might not be commenting on it. However, like the rest of my experience at this Inn, dinner was full of surprises I did not expect….

You know, one can have so many choices in life that one has a hard time deciding what to do. In that way, some restaurants feel the need to dazzle you with a wide array of meals to choose from. This can be annoying, and I think it is a big mistake when restaurants do this.

Sometimes it is nice to have only a few choices in life. This can speed you along the way of getting down to enjoying what life has to offer, rather than making the mere act of choosing so burdensome that you end up wasting too much time trying to decide just what to enjoy.

The menu at Shaffner House Inn was varied, but not overly so. I studied the dishes, and like most people who come from humble backgrounds I also studied the prices. They were reasonable, given the circumstances, but there were no blue plate specials to say the least. If you intend on enjoying yourself, do not skimp and expect to spend about $35.00 per person.

There were several soups and main entrées to choose from, and I studied each carefully. I knew I wanted the Corn Crab Bisque, but what for the main meal? Hmmmm. I simply had to think about mom in order to make the decision. Like my mom, I always loved filet of mignon, and I wanted to have it and so that is what I ordered.

I will refrain from a detailed description of the meal itself, because what happened next was far more profound. Suffice it to say that the chef, who is purportedly world renown (I think his name was Peter), cooked my meal to heavenly perfection, and while the soup was terrific, it was the steak that transported me to a place I did not expect. With each bite into this tender peace of meat, with each tasty morsel, I could not help but remember mom.

You see, my mother endured hell at the hands of her doctors. At the risk of sounding arrogant myself, I know doctors like to think of themselves as brilliant. It sort of makes me sick the way many doctors today consider themselves Gods amongst men in terms of knowledge and healing powers, when in fact the medications they cram down our throats and pump into our veins, the radiation they burn our bodies with, all in an effort to make us feel better, often kill us faster than the diseases they are trying to tame. Modern medicine is, in reality, often cruel and quite primitive, devoid of any true understanding of what causes disease and what it takes to truly cure it. Sorry, can you tell I am bitter? But I digress.

In any event, for the last four months, maybe even six months of moms life, food was something she rarely enjoyed. It was all she could do to choke down a butter bean, let alone eat a single healthy full course meal. For you see, the treatments she endured shrank her esophagus to the diameter of a pencil and she simply could not swallow food without running the risk of vomiting. And here I sat enjoying, no, savoring, the one food my mom loved so much in her life, and yet was barred from eating for the remainder of her days on this planet. She literally was starving to death.

So, as I ate this meal, and I savored it for my mother’s sake. As I sat there, I tried as hard as I could to let her experience the taste and texture through me. And while the meal would have otherwise gone down smoothly, I began to choke back tears with each swallow. It was a surreal moment, at once being allowed to have this wonderful sensory experience that filled me with joy, and yet at the same time having the experience mingled with profound sadness and anguish, remembering the suffering my mother endured in the last few months of her life whenever she tried to enjoy even one of life’s simple pleasures.

I am sure the people at the table next to me must have wondered what was going on with the guy sitting at the table next to them, and why it was he kept placing his napkin to his eyes, over and over. If only they had known.

Here’s to you, mom. I love ya.

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October 14, 2004 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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