The Vine Conference Day 1 – Eating off a Stranger’s Plate

During our last few days in Carbondale we are attending a conference at our church.  I was a little wary of this, since we should have a million things to do, but it actually has really helped with the boredom and the feeling that we are stuck between two places.  It also helps that the pastor (and some of the congregation), from the church we will be attending in Seattle, is at the conference and the more I hear him speak, the more I love him.

The morning session yesterday (Wednesday) was started with a fun little contest of “If you…” a game that consists of everyone standing and the leader asking questions like “Stay standing if you have ever been yelled at in a foreign language,” and so on, until only one person is up.

I was knocked down in the second round “Stay standing if you are wearing flip-flops.”  Now, you would have thought that this would have eliminated most of the 250 + people in attendance, but no.  Only about half of us sat down.

It was a next challenge that intrigued me the most.  “Stay standing if you have ever eaten off of a stranger’s plate.”  This took the people standing down to about 5 and started the crowd gasping in shock.

One of those shocked people was my wife, when I announced that I have eaten off stranger’s plates all the time.

The most memorable is once while traveling in Michigan with the band.

Now, I have a long history of naming something that I want before the days out and getting it.  This has happened with garage sales (the time I claimed that I would find a parka and snagged it an hour later), or the time that I stated I would find an under $5 pair of shoes in a Nashville mall only to leave the Gap later that day with a two pair of canvas slip-ons at $3 each.

Well, Michigan (and a few other states, I believe) have a restaurant chain named The Iron Skillet.  The Skillet has the most amazing Chicken-fried Steak and gravy that I have ever had.  So, as soon as we pulled into town I stated that I was going to have a Chicken-fried steak that night, even if I didn’t have the cash to buy it.

After the show, we drove over to the Iron Skillet for a late night dinner (our usual ritual).  As we walked in, we saw a huge table of kids that had seen the show.  We started talking to them and one of the guys had a chicken-fired steak.  I mentioned that it was my favorite Iron Skillet meal of all time.  He looked down at the plate and then back at me.  “Yeah, I got it and asked for my shake first.  Now, I’m too stuffed to eat it.  You want it?”

I looked down at the less than half eaten plate and got a huge smile on my face.  “You bet,” I told him.  He handed it over and I took it with me to our table.  It was the best chicken-fried steak I have ever had.  and, I still had the cash for a shake.

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