As part of my weeklong tour of my home state, my job has me visiting Chattanooga, the city where I first set up my post-college life, for the next few days. It's a funky weird town, progressive in some ways, regressive in others, but with a good overall vibe that is distinctly Southern.
In the middle of my piles of work to be done today, I managed to find some time to sneak off to what was one of my favorite restaurants while living here. Southern Star is a sort of upscale meat-and-three place minus the grit that usually comes along with such greasy spoons.
I had a delicious dinner of fried chicken, creamed corn, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread and, of course, iced tea (God, I hope my Weight Watchers leader is not reading this. If she is -- I plan to go on a super-long walk tomorrow to work all of that off.)
When it came time to go, the server asked if I'd be needing a box for that second piece of chicken I didn't bother tackling. No, I said, I'm staying at a hotel and have no place to put it. Well, he said, how about some banana pudding? I've got some in to-go cups that you can eat back at your hotel.
Sounded good to me, the company was paying for it anyway.
He came back with a to-go banana pudding in a bag with plastic silverware and a to-go cup of tea with a lemon in it. Noticing my spent packages of Equal on the counter next to my tea glass, he grabbed a few packets of Equal off the counter and threw those in the bag too with a straw.
Now, I don't expect much when it comes to restaurant service. I just want you to be efficient, friendly without being over-the-top and get my order and my check right.
The extra gesture of the to-go iced tea and the Equal in the bag? Well now, that was perfect.