Good Eats: Christmas/China Palace

I moved away from the rat-race of the city to the beautiful, peaceful countryside and the mountains of West Virginia. Traditionally, living in the city, every Christmas Season I’d take a homeless person to dinner. Well, unlike the cold, cold city, you can’t find homeless people on every corner here. We take them in where it’s warm. You can see where it’s almost an impossible task for me to fulfill this year. It was already Christmas Eve and I still hadn’t found a recipient for my traditional Christmas dinner for someone truly in need.

I was getting really hungry . . . and for now I would have to abandon my idea. So, I thought I would honor another Christmas Eve tradition and take myself to dinner at Chinese Palace in Lewisburg. It was very crowded. Families and friends enjoying dinner and each other; laughing, hugging and sharing stories, excited about Christmas the following day. There was a buffet with massive amounts of great traditional Chinese dishes. It all looked and smelled so good. Sushi too. Yum. I have eaten here many times and as usual, the food was superb. I’m not sure why, but friends always urge me to use chopsticks instead of a spoon, a knife and a fork. Well, I decided that I would try it this time. It didn’t last long, though. I now knew why they call it, ‘Egg Drop Soup’. I went back to my traditional flatware before I starved myself to death.

As I was eating my dinner, I noticed a family waiting to be seated. It was nice to see Mom & Dad, both together there with all the kids. . . and they had quite a few. I noticed another thing. I could see that they didn’t have much money. I could tell by the way the kids excitedly danced around the buffet that they didn’t often get to dine at a fine sit down restaurant like this one. It was much like that for me as a boy and it’s something that you never forget  . . . and I could see to them it was like the Chinese ‘palace’ in its name.

I had eaten my fill, (Way more than I should have eaten) and I finished my dinner. I glanced over and saw the happy faces all around the table of the big family that I mentioned. I made eye contact with the father and I smiled. He smiled back at me. Ready to leave, I stood up and put on my coat. As I was taking money out of my wallet for the tip, I took a little extra cash and held it in my hand. Again, I glanced over at the happy family eating their Christmas Eve feast. This time I walked over to their table and I leaned in to the father’s ear where only he could hear me and I whispered to him, “I know it’s hard to raise a family these days.’’ As I spoke to him, I reached out and shook his hand. It was the same hand where I held the extra cash that I had taken out of my wallet. I closed my hand around his and squeezed it tight…  It was enough to take care of their Christmas Eve dinner.

So, you see, there are opportunities everywhere that you can do something to help someone and make a positive difference in their lives. As I was walking out of the restaurant, the father’s eyes and mine locked once more. He smiled at me and waved. I smiled back and flashed him a peace sign. I was happy that I had finally found the perfect Christmas gift. . . . and now, my Christmas is complete.

A special, ‘’Thank you’’ to Eunice and all of the fine people who work at China Palace. God Bless you all and Happy New Year.

– Random Prophet. January #97 January 2018.

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