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GROANING AT THE GROANING BOARD
31 May 2003
The table was piled high with cheese and crackers,
cut pieces of meat, fruits and veggies, and a big bowl of punch. On another table were
several huge sheet cakes, piled high with frosting, both on top and between the layers.
Everyone in the place had a plate and everywhere I walked, I ran into someone with
frosting around their mouths.
Initially things were fine. I hadn't intended to stay 2-1/2 hours
and I knew that I was going from the reception to the supermarket with a long list of
ingredients and enthusiasm for making some of the recipes in the new WeightWatchers
cookbook I'd bought at the meeting on Tuesday.
The reception was honoring Bob Gonzalez
("Gonz"), band teacher for the local junior high ever since we've been in Davis
(30 years). When I signed the guestbook, I put "I guess we can call you the
grandfather of Lawsuit." That was before I found the picture of Jeri and Marta
standing together in the high school marching band.
I think it's fairly safe to say that without Gonz, Lawsuit in the
incarnation that it became well known, would never have existed. Because of Gonz, Jeri now
teaches music at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
When Jeri entered junior high school, she'd been studying piano for
several years, but she wanted to be in the band and it's kind of hard to play a piano in a
marching band (even if Woody Allen could play a cello in one -- see Take the
Money and Run). She didn't own another musical instrument, so Gonz rummaged around in
his instrument closet, handed her a clarinet and an instruction book and told her to
practice fingering. She now also teaches clarinet and saxophone to grammar school kids in
It must be amazing to be a teacher, like Gonz, at the end of your
career, hearing the stories of the impact you have had on hundreds or thousands of lives.
Lots of people came out with stories like that--the
impact he had on them, or on their children. It was a lovely tribute.
I took lots and lots of pictures, which kept my hands
busy, but kept finding myself standing by that food table. I was sorely tempted to
just take a piece of the cake, but stopped to realize what one piece would do to me--and
tell myself that I really don't like chocolate cake anyway (only chocolate frosting).
It helped a bit that my stomach has been slightly
unsettled all day, but not even an unsettled stomach, in the past, has kept me from
eating. I finally had a game plan and stuck to it. I got a plate, took some
carrots, some pearl tomatoes, and a small bunch of grapes, and then walked away from the
I kept finding myself in front of tables with bowls of
corn chips and salsa for dipping, then I'd turn around and be facing a long table with
little pieces of cake on little plates just staring at me.
However, by the end of the reception, though my feet
were killing me, I had not eaten anything I shouldn't. I think I had 3 carrots, a
few tomatoes and one teeny cube of cheese. All nicely within the point range.
What's more, though I was "unsettled" being around all that food, it was an
empowering feeling to leave the school and walk to the car knowing that I had stayed on my
That tasted better than the fleeting pleasure eating a
piece of gooey cake that I probably wouldn't have liked anyway would have.