Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Teppanyaki and friends

I think my dad has had a lot of influence on many of people. I say this because I came across a facebook post by an old friend of mine from grade school. It was a picture of her two sons enjoying a meal and show at Yamato Japanese Steakhouse in Oklahoma City.

My parents weren't wealthy. They weren't rich. But they were smart with money. My dad was a professor at a local university and my mom was an educator and then a counselor.

With her salary, the bills were paid, and she always had nest eggs with several banks. My dad paid for the fun stuff--vacations, dining out at nice places, and me. Yes, being the only child, he bought me tons of toys. I was spoiled. But he also wanted me to have friends, so he made time for my friends and I.

On weekends and days off, my dad and I would drive in his little Nissan truck picking up my friends. We would all sit in the bed as he would swerve back and forward down the street. My friends loved it.

When I was a kid, I didn't have very many friends. Well, I had friends, but I whined a lot. I was the only kid and I had a throne, which I didn't come down from until middle school.

The good friends were the ones that came to play with me when my dad would pick them up. Had they not been good friends, I'm sure the kids would have begged not to come play with me--maybe they did and the parents forced them to go and play with the son of a school board member.

They all looked up to him and saw him as a role model. They must have thought I was the luckiest kid in the world. One of those kids was my old friend from grade school whom I've kept closed contact with through facebook.

One birthday--perhaps it was my nineth or tenth birthday--I wanted to have dinner at Shogun Japanese Steak House in McAllen with my friends. It was something totally foreign, twenty-five years ago, in an area where Mexican food was the norm. This was a place I could totally impress my friends.  

I remember my dad and I picking my friends up from their house to take them to Shogun. I could tell my friends were nervous yet excited to try something that was foreign and cool--like something from the Karate Kid movies. One of my friends even made karate kicks in excitement when we sat in the private dining room waiting for our meal and our very own teppanyaki performance.

So, the picture of my friends' sons brought back memories. The reaction of her sons watching the teppanyaki chef cooking in amazement was similar to the reaction of my friends twenty-five years ago at my birthday party at Shogun.


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