On a return trip from Sapelo Island this weekend, we stopped in Jesup, Georgia for a huge Sunday lunch at Sybil's Restaurant. Right in the middle of the dining room is a country buffet so long you almost need to stop for breaks between the deviled eggs at the front and the fluffy biscuits at the end. We were near starvation by our arrival at 10:50 am. After planning to sit in the parking lot until the doors opened at 11:00, we noticed locals trickling in minutes before the Sybil opened for business. In hopes of getting in line early, we waltzed in and found several tables filled with people just waiting on the food to emerge from the kitchen.
We, as well as everyone else, watched the buffet tables pouring out steam like a good sauna. It was torturous! As the hotel pans, filled with Southern food that only a Sunday lunch can justify, came out one by one, the others at their tables sat patiently. Once each and every pan was out, a tall, slender woman in an apron stood near the swinging kitchen door and asked everyone to rise for the blessing. After we were all up with our heads bowed, she eloquently asked the blessing. I've eaten out my fair share and certainly have partaken in countless Southern country buffets, yet I've never been a part of a formal blessing in a restaurant. Just for a minute, it was easy to forget that all the others in the room were strangers. We were all there for the same reason, good food, and we were grateful for it. That's a blessing in itself.