What Odd Thomas Taught Me

One of my favorite authors, Dean Koontz, has several books about a character named Odd Thomas. Though blessed (or cursed) with a supernatural gift, his favorite thing to do is provide people exceptional pancakes at his fry cook job. When he considers taking other jobs, they’re always simple service jobs to provide people with something they need and send them happily on their way.

I’ve come to adore my job at the deli and coffeehouse. I love bringing people a mocha latte piled with whipped cream–their faces always light up, and it’s not uncommon for people (mostly females) to smile and clap when they see it coming. People love our food. They love our cozy building. They love discovering this unique “hole in the wall” and eating all the things you just can’t get anywhere else, because we make it ourselves. They love talking with us and they love that by their second or third visit, we know their names (or at least their faces). Main Street Deli & Coffeehouse makes people genuinely happy, and what better job can there be, really?


“Kids Are So Dumb”

I spent a very enjoyable weekend with my family, including my little 17-month-ish old niece. She was a bundle of energy and kept running from room to room trying to be the center of attention everywhere all the time! During one of her sprints, she tripped and fell pretty hard, but the tears had not yet come. Rather than running to console her, Steve and I clapped and cheered and told her what a good thing it was! She looked at us in confusion, tentatively clapped, and then started laughing with us instead of crying. Surprised that actually worked, Steve continued smiling and clapping while saying, “Kids are so dumb.”

It’s true.

It is quite silly to let other people’s reactions convince you you’re not actually hurt, and it doesn’t take much growing up before we learn to think for ourselves a little better than that.

But it remains a constant temptation to fall into what other people think and feel rather than figuring out things for yourself. While it’s all well and good to allow others to lift you up, and to empathize with others when they’re in pain, don’t be dumb.

Two Is Better Than One?

You’ve probably seen the new Wendy’s commercials; they’re pretty much unavoidable. One of the newest commercials for the Pick 2 features two (I assume) attractive girls eating their Wendy’s lunch in the staff break room, each so happy that she got two things for $5.99. When a guy joins them with his lunch, they are very snide that he has one thing, whereas the pair of attractive girls has two things.

But the guy trumps them! In addition to his lunch, he has his cell phone. Which takes that opportunity to ring. The ringtone makes it clear that the call is from a girl he’s in a monogamous relationship with. The implication is that, once again, the guy’s one thing is inferior to the idea of having two.

Real classy, Wendy’s.

Biting Into a Memory

The other day, I decided to make some white bean soup. I sauteed some onion, pepper, and celery with some seasoning, then threw in the beans with some broth. After digging in my cabinet, I found a small can of mild green chilies. Why not? I thought, and threw them in.

When it was all cooked, I removed about two cups, blended it, and threw it back in with a can of cream of chicken. It smelled yummy, and I got an unexpected bonus as soon as I started eating.

With the very first bite, I was transported back in time.


I was about 10 years old and sitting on the deck at a restaurant at Opryland right on the river, eating a very similar bowl of bean soup at the Riverside Cafe. It was spicier than I’d normally like, but I’d been riding water rides, and it was evening and I was just a little chilly, so the extra heat was welcome.

We used to go to that restaurant specifically for that soup, yet I’d forgotten all about it. It’s still hard to believe that one little taste of something similar brought back the memories so vividly.

My homemade soup was delicious in its own right, but that made it super special and gives me an extra reason to put it in my recipe book.