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Friday, September 4, 2009

On Free Breakfasts and Free Speech


I love to be warm, to collect old books, to read home magazines, to eat treats, to meet with friends, to play with family, to teach, to sing, to listen, to visit the library, to write, to make others happy.

I don’t have high expectations when it comes to continental breakfasts. I mean, bagels, doughnuts, orange juice and coffee seem to be a typical selection of continental breakfast goodies. It is, after all, free. I guess generally I don’t have high expectations of anything that comes after the word ‘free.’ Free continental breakfast, free trial, free dinner at Olive Garden—(click now!). The value of these free items is generally just a step above free, or it comes with some giant catch, like taking out a second mortgage to pay for all your new subscriptions that qualified you for your “free” gift card.

But I’ve got to tell you, each year, when we stay at the Abbey Inn in Cedar City, I eat a better breakfast than I do the rest of the year. And it’s free. It used to be a “typical” continental breakfast, where we all crowd in together in the lobby and hope there’s still a frosted doughnut left, and then stand in each other’s breakfast space while sipping orange juice. And then we’d all end up at the IHOP next door anyway. But about five years ago, the Abbey really ramped things up. They bought a house just behind the hotel and turned it into their breakfast home. Every morning from 7-10 a.m., three nice ladies cook breakfast for guests.

Most anything you can think of is served at the Abbey Inn Continental Breakfast. Waffles, sausage, eggs, English muffins, cereal, toast, juice, milk , coffee, etc. etc. Oh, and every other day they serve biscuits and gravy (In case you’ve flown in from Tennessee or something).

One morning, I arrived at breakfast with my family, and we were filling our plates when I heard, “Where are the biscuits and gravy?”

Then, one of the three nice breakfast ladies said, “Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t have them today, we only have them every other day.”

“You don’t have them today? What will my mother eat? There is just nothing my mother can eat here.”

At this point, I turned my head, and looked at my family in disbelief. I think I sort of gasped. I repeated the comment (in hushed tones of course) and we were all totally shocked. No food to eat? What? Did she miss the Tupperware filled with muffins and bagels? The bowls for cereal or the eggs and sausage in skillets cooking right in front of her? It couldn’t be an allergy thing, because who is allergic to everything but biscuits and gravy? Nobody is. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

“You’d be surprised how often we hear things like that.” The third nice breakfast lady stated.

This got me thinking about perspectives. And complaining. And just how funny it is that two people can be at the same breakfast and one can be having a marvelous time, while the other (and her mother) are miserable. How glad I was to be the one having the good time.

It just so happened that the same ladies were checking out of the hotel at the same time as my grandma. My grandma, who hadn’t been with us that morning at breakfast, joined the rest of us in the car. She was visibly disgruntled.

“I can’t take it anymore. Some ladies are in there complaining that there were NO biscuits and gravy for breakfast, and the mother just couldn’t eat a thing.”

Upon hearing this report, my cousin went in to defend the nice breakfast ladies (now our friends after two days). After catching a moment of the “Debby Downer” conversation (by now they were complaining that there wasn’t whipped cream and strawberries with the waffles) she said, “Oh, are you guys talking about the breakfast? We’ve never had a better continental breakfast.”

At which point, she came back to the car. And with free waffles, sausage, cereal, eggs, toast, juice, milk, English muffins and bagels in our stomachs, we drove home.


The Despot said...

is it me, or is that jayniemoon kind of hot? oh yeah, and her post was really insightful.

Kim said...

Indeed, it is insightful! There is always a Debbie Downer @ the free movie in the park that we attend. Debbie and her screaming kids complain that the free movies should have free popcorn too.

Ohioans (Buckeyes) love them some biscuits and gravy too. It's everywhere! You will see in 2 weeks!

Gerb said...

I have found that it is always much better to look at the positive side of things than to be the complainer. And that breakfast looks AMAZING, biscuits and gravy or not! Great post, Jayniemoon.

Sarise said...

Jayne!!! So good to randomly see you posting on here!!! Your kids are to-die-for cute (I peaked at your own blog for a few minutes)!

Gerb said...

Wait... Sarise?! How do you and Jayne know each other?

Janssen said...

Oh wow, now I know where we MUST stay next time we're in Cedar City.

Teachinfourth said...

I, too, find myself amazed that there are individuals who just can't seem to enjoy what they have when there is so much in abundance around them.

Thanks for such an insightful post, Jayne!

Anonymous said...

Great story, Jayne. And a perfect example of perspectives. Well done. My goodness we did have a lot of good laughs about those ladies and their complaining over biscuits and gravy.

(After seeing the theme, I'm also thinking of Jones saying, with tears in his eyes, "I happy.") Shana

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you wrote about those obnoxious fifty something woman at the Abbey Inn. And for the record, the cousin who went in to contradict the (witchy) ladies is seventeen years old!

Maybe next year, I'm going to complain that they don't have Instant Breakfast (all flovors of course),or rice cakes!

The Abbey Inn rules. :)

~j. said...

Great post, Jayne.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man. I love some biscuits and gravy, but that's a little over the top. I'm glad someone said something about how wonderful the breakfast was, and hope that it made those ladies think. (It's an odd truth about stupidity and short-sightedness, though, that that's usually not the case...)


Sarise said...

Gerb - Jayne and I were in the same ward when Boyd and I first got married. I had Hazel in nursery, and they lived two doors down from us. Then we both moved....

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