ITB 2024 Special Reporting
On the Lighter Side: The Forty Six Dollar Salad.
By Rick Johnson
Thursday, 13th June 2013
Do you have a 'Son-In-Law' in your life?  If you have a daughter that is married – you certainly do; Much has been said and written about relationships with our 'Mother-In-Laws' but very little has been said about the 'Son-In-Law'.  I actually have three "Son-In-Laws" in my life as I have three married daughters.

So, today I'd like to tell you about an adventure with one of my "Son-In-Laws". See if you can imagine being with us as I describe the adventure I call --- "The Forty Six Dollar Salad".

Have you ever had a relationship with an In-Law and yet you really didn't know them. Well, that was the case with my "Son-In-Law" Dave. Dave is Lesa's husband. (Yes I spelled her name right, her Mother didn't at the time of her birth). They have been married for over twenty years and yet I have never really had the opportunity to know Dave very well.  That is until we experienced the $46 salad adventure. Think about that… Forty Six Dollars for a salad – Really? Not in New York City but in a retirement community in Central Florida. What would you think?

My other two Son-In-Laws are better known to me because they both play golf and we have been on numerous outings together. It's easy to get to know someone on the golf course. You not only see and understand who they are but you can easily determine their character, integrity and honesty.

Dave, however, has always been a little bit of a mystery to me. Think about that. Who in your family is a little bit of a mystery to you?  I know there must be someone you can think of.

I have always liked Dave; I just didn't get to know him very well. My daughter describes him as a wonderful thoughtful husband with just a few idiosyncrasies. Things like, he will never leave the dinner table until everything on his plate is completely gone. I thought maybe this was due to his upbringing in the mountains of West Virginia but my daughter nixed that thought stating he isn't from West Virginia. Dave is small in stature (even shorter than me) and probably doesn't weigh more than 140 pounds.

He is a hard worker and I would consider him an ambivert (Not an extrovert or an introvert) as he is kind of quiet. Unlike my other Son-In-Laws he doesn't need to argue his point vociferously. She describes Dave as gentle in his nature, meticulous about his garage and work area and precise in everything he does including how, when, where and what he eats. He is such a slow eater that everyone at the table could be starting to eat their desert and he hasn't even finished his appetizer yet.

So … the adventure began last month when my daughter Lesa and Dave came to Florida for a visit. It was only a five day visit so Tracy planned everything out specifically knowing how my Daughter Lesa is a little OCD herself when it comes to her vacations.  Lesa loves horses so Tracy included a visit to horse farms, a tour of the carriage museum and attending our "Cowboy" church. This is a church where the preacher wears jeans, cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and the service is actually held in a converted open barn.

It can sometimes be a little chilly depending on the weather and rain also makes it a little unpleasant.  The barn is located in the middle of a horse ranch with corals very close to the church itself. I often kid Tracy saying it's easy to determine how good the sermon is based on much complaining (whinnying) the horses do while the pastor is delivering the message.

Since May was the Month of my daughter Lesa's birthday, Tracy planned a very special dinner. This was not an easy task as Lesa must eat only Gluten free meals. Things worked out great as the restaurant Tracy selected as being very special assured her that all their food was gluten free.

This was not a typical restaurant. Have you ever been to a Brazilian restaurant where you eat multiple varieties of meat including sirloin, chicken, pork, lamb, veal, several types of sausage and who knows what else?

We had been to this particular restaurant many times and we love it. The deal is simple, you pay one price to get in ($46) and you can eat as much as you want including a well-stocked salad bar that looks more like an independent brunch. They give you a coaster to put on your table with one side green and one side red. Green means you want more meat, red means you don't. They actually come around with skewers of different meat and cut pieces of whatever is on the skewer right at your table. I think we experienced at least thirteen different types of meat that night. As long as you had the green side of your coaster up the waiter would stop at your table and give you more meat.

That afternoon we took Lesa and Dave to one of our club pools and when it was time for lunch Tracy was adamant in her dissertation to both Dave and Lesa telling them to eat very light – perhaps only a salad since the evening was going to be special and they will want to save their appetites for this very special cuisine adventure.

We arrived at Ipanema's, the Brazilian Steak House right on time for our 6:30 reservations.  We again explained the process to Dave having been informed about his eating disorder or disability whichever is more accurate. Tracy wanted him to realize what was in store before Dave hit the salad bar. It just didn't matter. When Dave saw the salad bar, which included everything from jumbo shrimp, smoked salmon, goat cheese, fruit, numerous different vegetable salads and capers among many other Mediterranean items he kind of went into a zone all his own. Lesa commented she had only seen this kind of reaction once before and that happened on their wedding night.

So, Dave came back to the table with a salad plate so full it could have easily weighed fifteen pounds.

Can you imagine a "Food Possessed OCD skinny 140 pounder "that has a 15 pound plate of everything on the salad bar in front of him?

When I first saw his plate I told Dave that they quit serving at 10PM and after watching him eat the previous three days we might not make that curfew.

Everyone at the table finished their salad including Tracy's Mom who was the slowest eater on record in our family until we experienced Dave in his food utopia.

The waiters kept coming to our table serving multiple varieties of meat while Dave kept his coaster turned over on red while he was mesmerized over his salad plate. Lesa kept telling him how good the meat was encouraging him to give up on his salad and partake in this special eating experience.  Dave, however, is stubborn and has never let his plate leave the table until it was completely clean. He reminded us that his mother would never let him get up from the table until his plate was clean.

Time passed and as it began to approach 9pm Lesa finally turned Dave's coaster over thinking he was pretty close to being done with his salad with only the potential of licking his plate to delay any further. The waiter came by with a large slab of filet mignon, Dave protested but Lesa took a slice and placed it on his plate.

"Eat the Darn thing", Lesa exclaimed with less than the wedding night syrup dripping off her every word.

And just what do you think Dave's response was?

"Honey, I'm stuffed. I just can't eat another bite".

And that my friend is the adventure of the "Forty Six Dollar salad."

But, I did get to know Dave a lot better. He's actually a pretty good guy and a pretty good sport.

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.  Don't forget to check out the Lead Wolf Series that can help you put more profit into your business.
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