My Field Trip To The Chocolate Fountain

One kid told me that it was the best day of his life.

The other one said something that I couldn’t understand while mashed potatoes fell out of his mouth. I’m sure that he was agreeing with his older brother.

We were at the Golden Corral. My kids weren’t this happy when we all went to Disney World. For the record, Disney World is 412 times more expensive than the Golden Corral. Guess where we’re going for vacation next year.

My wife decided to miss out on our trip to the home of the chocolate fountain. Just driving by a Golden Corral makes her nauseous. Not me. In my single days, the Golden Corral was my kitchen. At the one in Lagrange, Georgia they keep my picture up front by the cash register. I think it says something about not letting me back in because of that one time when I allegedly showed up in my pajamas at breakfast and stayed through dinner. Never mind the details.

So this was sort of like a reunion for me. And it was in a completely different state so I didn’t have to worry about that lifetime ban. With my father-in-law joining us, we were like four kids in a toy store. A giant toy store with gently used sneeze guards and workers named Rita that liked to call you names like “Sugar” and “Hun.”

I started to think that my kid was on to something. This could very well end up being one of the best days of my life.

After we got to our table my kids went straight for the chocolate fountain. I had to cut them off and remind them of the appetizers otherwise known as the main course. And so they settled for a few pieces of chicken and some mashed potatoes. Minus the chocolate fountain. For now.

Now it was my turn to get food. I moved freely around the buffet. This is never a good sign. If you are at a buffet style restaurant at 12:00 in the afternoon and nobody else is in the entire building, you might want to reconsider your dining selection. There are two reasons for this.

1. The locals are probably on to something.

“Ellis, you wanna go eat at the Co-rall?”

“Shoot no, mother. Don’t you remember when they found that sock in the chocolate fountain?”

“Oh that’s right. Let’s go to Hardee’s instead.”

You, being from out of town and all, never saw the news report about the sock in the chocolate fountain.

2. The food has probably been sitting in the same place for at least 20 hours.

“Boss, where you want I should put this here mac and cheese?”

“Leave it. Maybe somebody’ll eat it tomorrow.”

At the end of my journey through the buffet, I noticed something peculiar about my plate. It was empty. That’s because everything I saw led me to one of three responses.

1. “That’s probably been sitting there for 20 hours.”

2. “I didn’t know they were allowed to sell fried turtle in this state.”

3. “If I eat that, my chances of being around to see my kids graduate from high school will go down by at least 36 percentage points.”

So I walked back to my table with something that looked like mashed potatoes and something else that I hoped was chicken and not that sock that they found in the chocolate fountain. I sat down at the table where we all pretended to eat while we waited for the main course. The chocolate fountain.

After pushing my food around enough I figured that it was time to go and get what we came for. The chocolate fountain. That’s about the time that my son said that this was the best day of his life.

The chocolate fountain bar was designed strategically. There were three different chocolate fountains, white, caramel and milk chocolate. Three different types of desserts were placed in front of the fountains. Cookies, marshmallows and Rice Krispy treats. They were all on sticks. This was the Golden Corral’s way of saying, “Please do not put your mashed potatoes in the fountains. Only foods that are on sticks can go in the fountains. And no, corn dogs may not go in the fountains. Sincerely, Management.”

My kids were in heaven. Chocolate fountain heaven. It didn’t seem natural for me not to join in. So I grabbed a Rice Krispy stick. About that time, some kid behind me had the same idea. Only he was faster. And he didn’t grab the stick part.

“Dead-ee, I touched the food.”

Suddenly I wondered how many other kids and their dead-ees, “touched the food.”

So I walked back to my table with a bowl of ice cream.

By the time I arrived my kids were covered in chocolate.

And then there was my father-in-law. Seated quietly. Enjoying a plate full of fruit.

For a minute I thought that he looked like a genius. But before I got up to grab my own bowl of fruit, a quote popped into my head.

“Dead-ee, I touched the fruit.”

I stayed put and finished my ice cream that came from a machine that was in a sealed bag before being poured into said machine. Only at the Golden Corral is ice cream your healthiest option.

After that, I went home and burned the pajamas that I wore to the Golden Corral.

And next time, we’re going to Disney World.