Please enjoy my reading of the poem “Going Out to Eat.” Going Out to Eat was written in May 2013 in Estes Park, Colorado, and originally published in vox poetica Magazine on January 27, 2014. Annmarie Lockhart is the founder of vox poetica. Nathan Gunter is the current managing editor of vox poetica. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did writing it.
Going Out to Eat
Sweetheart, do you have a preference for where we go out to eat?
…..No. Anywhere you want is ok with me, dear.
Great. There’s a McDonald’s. They have a senior coffee discount.
…..Oh, but look! There’s a Subway. I think that would be better.
OK. Subway it is. I’ll let you off at the door and then park the car.
Do you see anything on the menu you prefer?
…..No. Anything you want is OK with me, dear. We can share a foot-long sub.
Great. How about a foot-long Italian meatball sub?
…..Oh, but the Black Forest ham … I think that would be better.
OK. Make it a foot-long Black Forest ham on wheat bread, please.
…..Oh, get whatever you want, dear, but white bread …
Ma’am, can you change that to white bread, please. And American cheese.
…..Dear, pepper jack … I think that would be better.
OK, make it pepper jack cheese.
We’d like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos …
…..Anything you want, is OK with me, dear, but maybe not the tomatoes and pickles.
Ma’am, hold the tomatoes and pickles, please.
…..What if we skipped all the peppers and just got black olives?
OK. Make it black olives and mayonnaise instead of green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos.
…..Maybe you should go with light mayo. Remember your waistline.
Yes, dear. Ma’am, we’ll take light mayo instead, please.
“Sir, do you want to make that a combo with chips and drink?”
Sure, that sounds–
…..Dear, we’ve got water and apple slices in the car. No need to splurge, but …
OK. Just the sub, not the combo.
That was a very good lunch.
…..Yes. Thank you for taking me out to eat. Aren’t you glad I let you have whatever you wanted?
And I recalled the words of the Apostle Paul,
…..Love is patient, love is kind.
Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written in Estes Park, Colorado
“Going Out to Eat” was originally published in vox poetic in print and electronic form. The electronic version can be accessed at: Kepler, Jimmie A. “Going Out to Eat,” vox poetica, January 27, 2014, Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://voxpoetica.com/eat/.
When I read the first draft of this poem to my late wife, I was shocked at how visibly upset it made her.
“You’re making fun of me and telling the whole world!” she said.
I was taken aback by her comment.
“I don’t understand,” I said with honesty.
“That’s what I did at the Subway Restaurant at Amarillo,” she said. She didn’t smile. She only lowered her head.
It was apparent the memory was fresh on her mind.
“It’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted,” I said.
Again, she did not smile. She rolled her eyes.
“It’s not about you,” I said attempting to reassure her.
“It’s about me. Everyone will know it’s about me.”
“But it isn’t about you. Even if it were, who do you know that reads poetry?”
“So you admit you wrote it about me.”
“Sweetie, it’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants,” I said trying to reassure her.
“And you’re going to submit it for publication?”
“Only with your permission. I don’t want it to upset you.”
“So it’s my fault if you don’t submit the poem?”
This time I rolled my eyes.
She glared at me for a minute and then sat silent for another five minutes. Finally, she started laughing and said, “I guess if I’m honest wives do that to their husbands. Go ahead and submit your silly poem. No one publishes or reads poetry these days.”
I submitted it. It was accepted for publication. And no, it wasn’t about Miss Benita. It really is a composite of so many of the older couples I’ve seen at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted and then hands him a coupon to use.