Gregory Case - Taco John's

Most of my friends believe I have "retarded" taste buds. I have not been a fan of fancy/gourmet courses or expensive food. I'm the person you see in the car, in the drive through lane, running late, eating and driving (too many years in Southern California does that).

Four years ago, I celebrated my 40th birthday. On that occasion, I sent out a packet of letters to a variety of people who I felt had contributed greatly to my success and happiness. One of these letters was to Taco John's, in Omaha (Nebraska). (For those who have not heard of this establishment, Taco John's is a regional, inexpensive, Mexican fast food joint.)

I sent the letter care of the manager. I'm sure she had not received a letter like that before. I told her that I ate there often—at least one meal each time I fly back to the Midwest. Usually I visit home several times a year. My family and friends have lost any interest in eating there, so often, I will be in the drive through lane, ordering my 2 extra-beef, extra onion, sure, put some cheese on ‘em, burritos. Of course, a large Coke (no ice, please) accompanies the meal. I try to eat this meal only on the days that I work out (hard).

Good food I realized exists at the intersection of desire and fulfillment.

On the plane ride home, I fantasize about when I can break away from family and using my mother's car, take a trip to TJ's. The months of waiting are soon over.  I pause before the first bite, grateful for being here, at this time and space, to enjoy this meal. As I finish the Coke, I think, it is just like I remember it—the desire has been satisfied (at least until tomorrow).

In some ways, I am glad TJ is not where I live now, in San Jose (California). Part of the excitement in going home is knowing that Taco John's is waiting for me.  It's my comfort food—the feeling that all is right in the world.

I have seen the manager numerous times, and have been tempted to let her know, "I'm the guy who wrote you that letter on his 40th," but then I think it is more fun being anonymous, just another satisfied customer. Course, my 45th is coming up, therefore I best get out the stationary again. I think this time though, I will deliver my gratitude in person. But only after I have eaten.

gregory s. case, case@metacomm-taxi.com

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