A Very Different Morning Experience and Fitting Into A Booth and A 1923 Model T
There's something special about sleeping on mom's couch. It's soft, it's warm, it's completely comforting. It holds a comfort way beyond the material. It's the shelter and warmness of being with mom, and sleeping under the same roof with my mom and dad, well---it added another element to the mix. Completeness.
I usually get up at 4am, so I guess waking up slightly before 7am should feel pretty lazy for me---honestly, my body wanted to sleep longer, but my mind didn't want to waste the time. We had some precious time to enjoy this morning and it wasn't going to happen if I slept much later. I was getting up for this! The first thing was morning coffee at mom's kitchen table. It was kind of a strange thing, sitting at the table with both of my parents, sipping coffee. I don't remember any of the conversation really, I was too caught up in my own thoughts. Wow, is this really happening? In all of the times I've sat at a morning table with mom, from childhood to my adult years, I was always completely in tune with the conversation and the moment. This morning, I was simply over-joyed in the moment, and the words spoken were like the teachers in a Peanuts cartoon. It was a very cool experience.
We decided against preparing breakfast at home, opting instead to go out to a Stillwater landmark for more coffee, conversation, and food. Shortcakes Diner is a little place where you can see everything behind the counter---the cook preparing your breakfast is doing it right in front of you. It's an old fashioned place with chairs that line the counter and with fixed seating, the once dreaded “Formica-lined-row-a-booths,” or “fat people traps,” as I always called them---yep, definitely not a “fat-friendly” seating establishment. At over 500 pounds, I often avoided this place because of the seating, because when I would rarely go---it was so uncomfortable to sit there and enjoy anything with the table cutting into my mid-section and my fat spilling onto the table. Not a big deal today, not a big deal anymore at all. What freedom! To their credit, they have added a couple of tables in the back, with chairs---I'm not sure it was an effort to accommodate heavier customers, but it was nice to see.
Mom and I sat on one side of the booth, dad on the other---and we thoroughly enjoyed the food and conversation. This place is known for their greasy specialties, but I successfully avoided the deep fried breakfast fare, opting for three eggs over-easy and a dry toast. They cook the eggs with butter in the pan, so I adjusted the calorie count accordingly—my breakfast was still under 350 calories easy. But it wasn't about the food, it never is these days. We eat because it's time to eat, we're hungry, the metabolism needs fuel to burn...It's a very different food attitude. And it's such a very natural feeling these days. In a small crowded diner like this, it's easy to be distracted by the conversations and characters surrounding you, but I was focused---if I was in my own little world earlier at mom's table, it was the opposite here. I blocked out the rest of that little diner---like we were the only table in there. The booth where we sat, was a booth that mom and I had slid into many times during my childhood. I never thought back then, that I would ever be back in that booth 30 years later, with mom and dad. It was just the greatest thing.
After breakfast, we headed out---we were planning a tour of Stillwater. Dad had me drive his truck, mom was riding in the passenger seat, and dad in the back. It was cool. The tour was going to be of all my old “stomping grounds,” but a puddle of some kind of fluid leaking from the truck put a halt to those plans. Instead, we had to find a place to identify and repair the truck immediately. I knew right where to go, we did, they luckily got us in and the truck on a lift---but still, it took some precious time, so that tour will have to wait until next time.
We returned to mom's place and visited a little more before heading back to Ponca City. I had to get back soon, because even though I had the morning off—I still had a broadcast to conduct from Draggin' Grand starting at 5pm in downtown Ponca City. Before that broadcast, I had to stop at the studio to pick up a few things, get home and write this blog, and then grab a little rest before the big broadcast and evening at the theatre. Time was short, we had to move. I left mom with a kiss and a very big hug. I hope this visit was as good for her as it was me. I know where I am mentally concerning it all, and it's a very good place. I just hope mom is in the same place, because it's a very good place to be. I hated to leave her today, but we didn't have a choice. The rest of our Friday was calling!
Draggin' Grand is a big annual event here in Ponca City---and one that has always found me hoping and praying for cooler weather. At over 500 pounds, in the heat---oh my, it would leave me miserable...but today, with the temps over 90 degrees---it felt good, it was nice. I'm not the same---the weather doesn't effect me like before. I found an excerpt from last years event on June 5th, 2009:
In years past, The Poncan Theatre has hired me to do stand-up before the headlining act at this annual event. We decided a while back that I would not perform this year. I bet I will next year! They did ask me to take the stage tonight and make a few announcements before introducing the band. I wasn't worried about the structural integrity of the stage this time. At my heaviest, I remember finding some “soft spots” on that stage. “Soft spots” didn't even cross my mind tonight. The biggest difference tonight was the fact that I could breathe easy up there. My last performance on that stage was a struggle and I believe my comedy suffered because of my winded delivery. I certainly couldn't move like I can now. I remember making the decision last year that I would do all of my material with the mic left in the stand. Even during some of my more animated bits, I still left it in the stand, because I wanted to avoid becoming out of breath. When Dave May introduced me, he made sure to mention the 173 pounds I've lost so far and when he did, the entire theatre erupted in thunderous applause. OK, maybe not thunderous, but pretty loud and proud, it was a very cool thing.
I wasn't scheduled to perform tonight---I was just going to enjoy the show. My performance time on that stage comes tomorrow night---dressed to the nines in a perfectly fitting tuxedo! I'm seriously looking forward to the experience and the pictures! It'll be so fun to compare these new tuxedo pictures with last years. I guarantee a huge difference!
This was the 12th year for Draggin' Grand---and about the 7th time that I've broadcast live from the event. In the years that I was over 500 pounds, I was never offered a ride in a classic vehicle---but if I remember right, I was last year---and this year. Tonight, I was offered a ride in a vehicle that really, I don't even know if my 170 pound loss from last year would have been enough to fit comfortably. The vehicle ride offered tonight was a 1923 Ford Model T Bucket, or “T-Bucket” for short. It's a tiny two-seater with the motor exposed---over 500 horse power, and trust me---when he punched the gas, I was glued to that seat. I climbed in and fit perfectly. Bruce, the gentleman who owns the vehicle---was very nice in offering---and I was just thrilled to fit and enjoy the cruise in this rolling car show. I actually did a break live on the air from the car as we cruised. Bruce asked if my dad would enjoy a ride too, and I said, “oh yeah—absolutely!” We returned and I asked dad to snap a picture of me in the car before I switched places with him. I snapped one of dad in the car---and they were off. Later, I mentioned to dad how I knew there was absolutely no way I could have ever fit in that car before, dad reminded me-- “He wouldn't have offered.” So very true, very true.
In going back into the archives, like I do everyday---I discovered that today was the day that I received “the call.” I'll never forget that twelve minute conversation last year. I grew up watching and admiring Richard Simmons---so this was a big moment for me. Here's that very cool excerpt from June 4th, 2009:
Today started out like any other Thursday, but shortly after 12:30pm, it became a very special Thursday. I had a call on my cell phone from “withheld.” I've never noticed “withheld.” I've noticed “blocked” or “unknown,” but never “withheld.” I almost didn't answer the call. I figured if it were real important they would leave a voicemail. For some reason I decided to answer it anyway, and what I heard on the other end was absolutely wonderful: “Sean, it's Richard Simmons.” I immediately recognized his voice, this wasn't someone playing a joke on me, it was THE Richard Simmons! I've looked up to and admired him since I was a kid. Even as a child I was keenly aware of his compassion and sincerity toward people struggling with morbid obesity. We talked for over twelve and a half minutes about my journey so far and my family's weight loss success. He asked me many questions and I was happy to answer each one. I told him about how happy I was to have Amber home for a summer of losing weight. I also shared Courtney's triumphant girdle story and how after years of being strapped into that thing, she burned it on the patio! And I talked to him about Irene's weight loss success and how switching jobs really helped her kick start her weight loss. I was honored that he took the time to call and offer encouragement. I can't believe I almost didn't answer the phone!
Can this experience, this week get any better? I'm not sure. Tomorrow we'll try---we have a big broadcast from the Quality Water Services Beach party 2010, a benefit for Cystic Fibrosis—from 10am to 2pm, then, we're free to do whatever---and there's so much to choose from. It's our last day together, dad leaves in the morning, so we're going to make it count. We might head out to the the big car show at the lake, followed by a trip down to a private dock of a friend---hey, who knows---we might do some jet skiing on the lake---yeah! We just might. I did that last summer---and it was amazing...I bet it would be even better now. And with dad along for the ride---well, it would be something very special.
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and...
In the booth at Shortcakes Diner---the sun shining brightly as we enjoyed breakfast, it was nice!
In that “T-Bucket”
Dad taking his turn to drag in that 500 horsepower machine!
Dad—checking out the parade of vehicles and sporting that Draggin' Grand Shirt!
Amber and Me—in front of the theatre before making our way inside to enjoy the concert with dad. Good times, good times!