Tom suggested the sesame coated peanuts. He also pointed out the ice cream cooler in the back. We had stopped from a road trip at the Hong Kong buffet, after having spent the morning at Bob Evans discussing how to start an equipping church movement among our fellowship of churches. I was still full from breakfast, but Tom persuaded me into eating more. He has a way with words.
The Hong Kong buffet was hidden at the far end of a strip mall in Van Wert (OH). Years of traveling US 30 between Ohio and Indiana acquainted Tom with culinary treasures in conspicuous places. We took residence in a booth close to a couple of pot-bellied men and a threesome at a nearby table. The waiter stopped picking his fingernails to take our drink order. Tom ordered tea; I asked for water.
It was during this meal that I learned an important lesson about Tom, a detail I should have assumed from years of Bible study, but nonetheless ignored. Tom is not perfect. He ate more than he needed. He admitted to eating more than he needed. He proceeded to get a plate of desserts following his confession.
And then there was the incident of the sesame coated peanuts. Tom's plate was covered with them. The pile on his dish made me assumed they were a delicacy. I secured a few peanuts for myself. They were terrible. Sticky and pungent. I warned Tom; he seemed unfazed. Rather than avoiding them, Tom wrapped them in a napkin and stuffed them in his pocket for secret snacking.
We paid for lunch, and Tom ambled to his car while I stopped by the bathroom. On my way out the front door, I noticed a sign forbidding customers from taking food from the restaurant. I thought of Tom's sesame coated pocket. When he picked me up at the curb, I mentioned the sign; he seemed unfazed.
After returning to the highway, Tom pulled the napkin out and tried one of the peanuts. They were hard to chew. Their taste was nasty. Tom ate several before resigning.
No: Tom is not perfect. He is a godly man who dabbles in gluttony and breaks buffet law. He even ran a red light on the way home. I guess my mentors need the grace of Jesus as much as I do.
(PT 4: Travels with Tom)