I was a strange kid! So glad I am normal now,err sorta. I was born in Kankakee, Illinois. There was not a lot going on there in the 80’s. There was 1 place off of the last exit on Interstate 57– The Redwood Inn it was not a Buffet it was a SMORGASBOARD! It seemed to be so elegant. I had Jello with celery and walnuts inside, I ate liver and onions, prime rib, shrimp cocktail and chicken Caccatore, Kiev, Cordon Blue…and these little gray licorice flavored mints. There was a state of the art salad bar with creamy garlic dressing and desserts…. and I was there on a date with my Dad.
The Redwood Inn gave you a meal free on your Birthday so my Dad would schlep us there for dinner on our special day. Going out to eat, which we hardly ever did, on a weeknight, in the middle of cold, dark February really did make me feel special.
He would warm up the old Buick, hold the door for me and pull out my chair. I got to have a Pepsi with my dinner too! I don’t remember what we talked about really, but I remember that we did. He would tell me I wasn’t right to choose liver and onions. We laughed a little, and home we would go in the dark to our little house. I would be looking forward to the next birthday date before the night was even over
Fast Forward 15 years or so. I was in Wheaton, Illinois for a few weeks. My Dad came up to eat dinner with me. We ate at a Macaroni Grill. We talked about hard things and easy things. I remember that dinner too.
So today it is my Birthday. The Redwood Inn is long gone and I am miles away from my Dad but I will miss them both just a bit today. I am going to get us ready for church and have a lunch date with these 4 Hanson men of mine. That first date though, those special Birthday dinners with my Dad will always be my favorite.