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iPad-2013.09.19-12.42.07.804 (1)This past year has been full of adventure, challenges and God’s blessings.  But, it is past.  Now, it was time to gather my leadership team, go out for a good meal and reflect on what we did well and what we can do better.

Four of us share in the leadership of our institution of graduate higher education.  Each one on this team is extremely capable and humble in carrying out their duties.  Loyalty is huge among us.

I chose the restaurant.  It was a surprise to everyone.  No one else had ever been to this snazzy place to dine except me.

It was a Brazilian steakhouse.  Lunch was the perfect time to come.  It was not as crowded as the evening and the price was like getting the meal on sale.

The salad bar is exquisite.  There are not many presentations of vegetables and unique offerings that compare.  Everything is fresh, bountiful and succulent.

But, for the four of us men, a visit to the salad bar was a mere courtesy.  The main event was waiting to converge on us.  All it took was to turn over a 3×3 card from red to green.

Setting the example with my veteran experience, I flipped my card to green.  Extremely attentive servers were at my side like flies to honey.  A long three prong skewer was loaded with three sirloin steaks, still sizzling from the grill.

The fragrance was enough to make my mouth drool.  He deftly sliced a generous portion and I grabbed it with my tongs and laid it on my plate.  But, I did not have a chance to taste since another server was quickly at my side.

On his serving skewer was a perfectly aromatic lamb roast.  I had to say yes.  When he sliced the tender portion and I laid it on my plate, I could not wipe the smile off of my face.

Another server sliced me a heavenly portion of prime rib.  It was succulent and overflowing with juices.  Quickly I turned my card over to red to stop the flood of food.

It was time to enjoy the moment.  Each slice erupted on my palate with the perfect balance of flavor, heat and tenderness.  This was an ideal spot for us to celebrate a fabulous year together.

Eagerly the four of us rehearsed the last academic year, discussed our hard lessons and reminded ourselves of what we could do better.  Each of us spoke specifically of our great strength, our faculty and staff team.  Others make the success possible, of that we assured ourselves, while downing another slice of roasted perfection.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

IMG_3319On the road, when the tummy is calling for a refill, it’s easy to look for a familiar sign and pull in and grab something satisfying.  Naturally, eating healthy is also a big draw.  When it tastes good, it is even better.

One of our choices has been a sandwich chain.  It has a national presence and our far and wide travels makes it a common choice.  No matter where we have been it seems as if one shows up when the hungries make their call.

They had ads for a month-long sale. Every sandwich was marked down.  “Hey,” I exclaimed, “let’s pick up a couple of their sandwiches for dinner tonight.”  “Sure,” my bride smiled back, “I can grab them on my way home.”

With honest expectations of a delicious meal my day went along with its normal brutal pace.  But, I had the anticipation of a fun dinner with my bride over bargain priced sandwiches.  It was a satisfying drive home.

My phone rang.  It was my bride, “I’m at the shop. What kind of sandwich would you like?” “Get one of the deluxe ones since they are all included on the sale.” “Does cheddar bread sound good?” “Sure!  At this price we can go all out!” I exclaimed and garnered a laugh from her.

Not only could I taste the dinner but I could smell it as well.  Naturally a smile broke out on my countenance.  It was going to be a pleasant evening.

There is something very gratifying about earning a good day’s wage from hard work and then relaxing at home with the love of my life over a shared meal.  My home was in sight.  I parked my rig and entered our retreat with an appetite ready to be satisfied.

Together we sat at our dining table.  Each of us had our sandwiches still wrapped and sitting in front of our seats.  We gave thanks for our meal.

We rehearsed our day to each other.  The blessings of people and circumstances were shared with delight.  Together we sliced our sandwiches in half and ate while we talked.

Then, as if on cue we both slowed our munching.  We looked at each other and then at our meal.  Each of us set our sandwiches on the table and opened up the bread.  The same quizzical look came over both of us, “Where’s the meat?”

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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