Midway between the Ridgecrest Conference Center, where I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and Banner Elk, where I would reunite with my husband and dog, is a small restaurant in a small settlement of about 200 residents. You come to this small restaurant after you climb the mountain, go under a stone bridge and round the curve with the sheep pasture on the right.
The special on Thursdays is fried chicken livers.
Last Thursday, my husband and I drove 40 minutes there for one of our favorite mountain meals. We looked forward to it for days. A few minutes after we placed our order, they told us they were out. No more chicken livers. I suspected the large church party in the back dining room had something to do with that.
Not to worry! I could get some the following Thursday when I came by the restaurant on my way back from the conference. It was a perfect plan. I would pick up dinners to go, bring them back to the cabin and enjoy a cozy, relaxed dinner with my little family. Four days of relentless rain made that prospect even more inviting.
The anticipation increased the closer I got to the restaurant. It was 3:00 in the afternoon when I arrived, so the parking lot was almost empty. Good, I wouldn’t have to wait long. I would order the dinners and be on my way.
I approached the counter and told the gentleman at the counter I wanted to place a to go order. “Fine,” he said. I asked him if they had chicken livers. He asked the cook who was standing with her back to us and this was her reply:
“not until 4:00, we haven’t even turned on the fryer yet, you’ll have to come back later”
Seriously? The sign says chicken livers on Thursdays, not Thursday nights, I thought rather than said.
How you say something matters. The disappointing news would have been easier to take if the cook had said: “Oh, I’m so sorry, our fryer is not heated up yet. Is there any way you could come back at 4:00? We could have them ready for you then.”
I didn’t get my cozy, chicken liver dinner in the cabin, but, I did get to enjoy a meal with my husband after four nights apart. It was his favorite — BBQ along with delicious fresh butter beans. More important, I did not allow the harsh word of the cook to stir up anger in me.