Wouldn't you know, after weeks on end of dry weather, the sky opened up about the time I got off work, and for the next three hours we had a dazzling display of lightning, accompanied, of course, by the Heavenly Thunder Orchestra, featuring drums and cymbals. In the middle of it all, my daughter and I had to use jumper cables to breathe enough life into her dead battery to get us to the Wal-Mart automotive department, the only place we knew of to get a battery replaced after hours.
They told us at Wal-Mart that we'd have to wait for up to three hours, so we decided to grab a bite to eat. My daughter's doing the low-carb thing right now (doing it splendidly, I might add--or "Splenda-ly"), so we opted to duck across the street to the Western Sizzlin'. We knew the steak wouldn't be memorable, but we also knew we wouldn't feel too conspicuous in our rain-dampened clothes and hairdos.
While we were eating dinner and drying out in the rope-and-saddle ambience, I remembered a family story about the "color-the-cow" contest the local Western Sizzlin' used to have. They'd give the kids a couple of crayons and a coloring-book-style picture of a cow, and the kids could then turn in their colored pictures at the cash register. Once a week, the restaurant would randomly choose a winner. The prize? A free meal for the child, when accompanied by a paying adult, of course.
Well, there's a pretty little teenager in our family who won that color-the-cow contest when she was about seven years old. Her daddy told us about taking her back to the restaurant a couple of weeks later to claim her prize. He said she was a happy little girl as they walked across the parking lot. She held his hand, smiled sweetly, and said, "You know, I bet they're in there looking out the window and saying, 'Ohhhhh, there's that girl that won the coloring contest. We've been wondering when she was gonna come in.'"