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Was sorely disappointed in Shoney’s Thanksgiving Meal today.

We celebrated our Thanksgiving back in October when my daughter made it in. As per usual, the entire family managed to get together then and we’d agreed the year before to move Thanksgiving to whatever day fit our schedule best then. We’d made that agreement due to Jimmie’s not being able to get any time off from work for the family to have “family” time.

In October we had a great Thanksgiving complete with stuffed bellies and heavy eyelids. It was good.

With all that behind us Tess and I opted to make today a no cook day and other than the biscuit and gravy she fixed me for breakfast, it worked great.

We’d read about and was aware of the Thanksgiving buffet offered by Shoney’s and having had mostly pleasant experiences there we decided we’d partake of their kitchen wares.

It actually started bad when I ordered tea, my main drink for almost every meal. While the tea was being delivered I went to the buffet and looked. On what I’ll call the lower end (the end nearest the bathrooms) they had mashed potatoes, a light brown gravy, fried chicken, peach cobbler and had just ran out of glazed ham. On the upper end they had dumplings, creamed style corn, butter beans, a beat up piece of what was supposed to pass for dressing, no additives in the bread, just bread for dressing. Their offering of the traditional turkey (bird of the day) were sliced pieces from what appeared to be a Wal Mart turkey roll dabbled with a touch of what was supposed to pass for gravy.

I grabbed up two plates and got some of the dumplings and cream corn on one. On the other I put some of the pseudo turkey, “dressing,” a touch of squash casserole I forgot to mention as being there and, moving back down the counter to the condiment section, I located what I really thought was cranberry sauce.

Went back to the table with Tess, we blessed and gave thanks for the bounties given us this day and sat down to eat. My first thing was to get me a good slug of tea. Giving Shoney’s credit ‘cause I’d had their tea before, I really took a strong pull on my glass. I was never happier that I’d squeezed a lemon slice into my tea than on this occasion. At least the lemon gave it a touch of a pleasant taste, there was nothing else pleasant about it. I told Tess that something seemed wrong with the tea, had her do a taste test just in case it was my taste buds messed up. She confirmed that my taste buds were working fine.

She’d also gotten some chicken and dumplings and made a remark about them tasting good. That’s where I started on my plate and I agree, the chicken and dumplings were good. Also the cream corn was on the same plate with them and I cleaned that plate up with no problems other than nothing to chase the food down with.

I moved over to the “turkey” and dressing and had a bite of it next. I thought my regurgitatator was going to burst out in the open. There was absolutely nothing that bore any semblance to the taste of Thanksgivings I’ve known. I really wasn’t disappointed in the “dressing,” it tasted just as I’d pictured it. I even added a touch of cranberry sauce just to see if it might make the dressing more palatable. Quick answer to that, obviously they purchased their cranberry sauce from the low bidder and they fulfilled Shoney’s wish to have the worse stuff available.

I pushed Tess into trying some of it too and, again, it was determined my taste buds were not screwed completely; she confirmed it wasn’t very good either.

By this time they had brought out and restocked the glazed ham. Tess went up and got me a piece of ham. Again severe disappointment. It tasted as if it had been double glazed in pineapple and just didn’t taste like anything I really wanted to introduce into my body.

At least we had good service while there and when I told my waiter about the tea he told me he’d gladly replace it with any other drink they had. I traded over to lemonade and had a good glass of it.

After washing out on everything else, I tried the peach cobbler. I was tasty but hot. I let it sit and cool for a little while and I sure enjoyed it.

Ranking Shoney’s Thanksgiving meal, which, by the way was advertised for $12.99, I left there in a full state of disappointment. I know Shoney’s is better than that. It’s as if they took advantage of one of my favorite holidays, jacked their prices up, lowered their taste standards and put it out there for me and anyone else to “take it or leave it”. I won’t stop going to Shoney’s because of this but I’ll certainly remember it next Thanksgiving and any other holiday from now on.

I know the owner personally and he is a very nice guy. Hopefully this will get back to him and he’ll take some action to ensure some travesty such as this will not occur again.

James Leon Windham