Sunday Post: My favorite Spot

The Sunday post from Jake’s Printer could not have come at a better time. The theme this week is to post your favorite spot.

Although, I have many, many favorite spots. I have one in particular that means a lot to me. It is a restaurant called Sushi Zone located in Arlington, Texas. In my three years of blogging, I have written about it twice. Once for our Friday nights with Sushi and, again years later with photos.

I wrote it about twice……because I LOVE THIS PLACE.

It is my favorite spot, not just because I discovered I loved Sushi here, but because, my husband has gone here for years, and years.

Then? I became a part of that world – like I became part of his world.

Then? It became my world too. And I brought my daughter Sydney into the fold. A well-blended Sushi family. Dining at our home away from home.

This is the place we go for meet-anniversaries, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays.

This is our special place.

And yes, you can get Sushi at a lot of restaurants in the city, but you can’t get the atmosphere of this place. You can’t make memories that last. You don’t know the chef’s name, where HE eats, and the sports teams he follows. You don’t know the waitress, how old she is, that she is a widow, and she works part-time at the IHOP down the road from us. This is a place where they don’t ask where you want to sit. They just know.

At the Sushi bar, you are greeted with the most delicious cucumber salad. It is pickled in something divine, because that is exactly how it tastes.

The first thing we order is Salmon. Always. It is my favorite fish, and that first melt-in-your-mouth piece explodes the taste buds. Boom!

We always drink sake – Japanese rice wine. We ordered a special bottle this time, an incredibly pure Sake, served chilled.

Jason then shows Sydney how to use the chopsticks….again. He is ever so patient, but she has yet to get it. Not after years of being handed them. She tries to pick up one piece, it falls, and then she just digs in with her fingers. Every time.

She would say, she knows HOW. She just CAN’T. Sorta like bike-riding..ahem.

A California Roll usually comes after our fish pieces. I love this roll….it’s called California! Yes! My favorite State. AND it is LOVELY for photos. So pretty! And colorful!

I can’t help it. I have to PHOTOGRAPH this wonderful display. It’s like fine art.

Lastly, after I have stuffed every bit of fish and rice I can hold in my stomach. They deliver the yum-a-licious orange. Cut, flavored, and sprinkled with orange-suckling goodness.

And I feel healthier for eating it.

We LOVE this place.

That is why I took so many photos on Friday night. So that we can always remember all the times we spent here, all the memories it holds, and how special it will always be.

You see, Sushi Zone closed their doors on Saturday, September 29, 2012. They served their last roll, their last order of edamame, and their last sashimi. Koji can hang his Sushi-chef hat high. What a wonderful service he has provided all these years. The outpouring of patrons visiting for the last time, like us, was truly phenomenal.

We wish he, and his crew much love, and success in the future. And really hope to see them all again.

Sushi Zone…this post was for you. ♥

You will always be my favorite spot.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

I parked the car as close to the house as I can listening to the voice in my head sneer, “It’s better to load you with, my dear.” I struggle to stack ONE more box into it. One more set of childhood photos, and drawings. One more heirloom punch bowl. One more antique secretary empty of the fantastic treasures it held in my childhood. I wish I could fit the Grandfather clock in the car too, but there is no way, even if I repacked everything. I have zero room.

Already, the long drive back to Texas, and the unload will take many hours. I look back at the house. The house I grew up in. Where I had many tea parties, birthday pool parties, and wild teen parties. The house where I saw my first car parked in the driveway. The place I would leave to explore. Across the street to the pond, among the big pine trees, or over the barbed-wire fence next door to Mr. Sliger’s pasture. I would dodge cow patties down to the river bed where I would find a big rock to sit on and pretend I was a girl in a storybook. But that was many, many years ago…..

Now, at forty-one years old, the cows are long gone, Mr. Sliger has passed away, and I am driving my Mom back to assisted living. I had to come here. I couldn’t just let it all go.

My brother said, “You better come get what you want before the house (and everything in it) sells. She doesn’t want to come home anymore.”

Earlier, when I told her where I was going, and she asked to come with me, I hesitated. I didn’t want to bring her here. I didn’t want to see her in her house with all the dogs gone, most of the rooms empty, and every cabinet cleared out. I wasn’t sure how she would react, but I needn’t have worried. This place is empty since her husband died, and her love of the things she kept for so long is no longer. This revelation is conflicting to me. I revel in sadness, gladness, and awe. I never imagined this day. But I am happy for it. And I am so glad she is not lonely anymore.

I look back. Just once more, and that is when I see it…….

I grab my camera. “I’ll just be a minute, Mom.”

“What are you doing?” She calls out. “Angie, we have to go. I have to get back. I can’t miss dinner.”

Her voice fades as I get closer and look through the viewer of my camera.

One solitary butterfly has landed on Mom’s butterfly bush.

One orange glimmer amidst the green and purple hues. It’s not hard to spot in the shadow of my childhood home.

I can’t help but click the shutter – just one last time.

My mom loves this garden. She labored many days over her plantings. Seems she was always making new garden beds. I wrote a post over a year ago (seems longer) Mother’s Garden. Her beautiful garden. So enchanting. So much part of her.

To see this butterfly bush grow from a small container plant to tree size…it reminded me of the past, and of the future.

My capture of it seemed a fitting good-bye.

But the magic is witnessing this lone butterfly.

Maybe it kept my heart in my chest. Maybe it spoke to me in a way that only nature can.

It’s not really good-bye… it?

Nothing can take the memories of home away.

Like the butterfly…life changes…it morphs…it grows…it becomes something beautiful.


It flies away.

So I go…..but I don’t forget.

As I enter the car, I pass my camera to my mom. “Did you get anything good?”

I display the screen with the orange butterfly alight on her bush and her breath catches. “Oh! That is beautiful. Can you make me a copy for my apartment?”

My heart smiles, “I can, Mom. No problem.”

I turn the car towards town. I take my mother home.

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown

See more of the weekly photo challenge by visiting The Daily Post

A place I return to……

I pulled through the narrow opening of the rusty swing gate. I steered the car carefully down the gravel path making the sharp left turn. I stopped and backed up going off-road, inwardly cringing I could be driving over a grave. I apologized in my head and straightened the car to face back the direction I came. The rusty white gate lay ahead in the distance. I briefly wondered if I could navigate the beast back through without a scratch…then pushed the thought aside.

I was stalling.

This is the hardest part for me. Getting out of the car and walking to the grave.

Most times I like to go alone because, with him, my emotions are raw. Too raw for me to share easily. Plus, I like talk to him. I tell him everything. Oh I know he is not there, not physically, but in my heart, I know he hears me. I know this is what I need.

I exit the car and briefly wonder if I should take my camera, then I think….no, I have my phone. The slam of the car door seems too loud in the small, quiet graveyard. I softly crunch through the yellow grass as I head towards the black stone. I glance at the other stones, and I smile sadly.

This place. Where so many cried, and yearned, and missed someone deeply. It’s not just their loved ones here, but part of them too. The part that died with them.

I approach his grave expecting the brick to hit my chest, and the burning tears to fly as my throat chokes. I wait and I smile my sad smile in remembrance of such a wonderful father and I realize………

I’m not as sad as years past.

In fact, I almost didn’t come this year. So many things to do, at home, and with the kids. Physical ailments – hives, hormones, and the stress of work on top of work.

I needed to get so many things done. I did not have time to drive six hours to Oklahoma and back to visit a grave. A stone. A stone in the ground and that is it.

Yet, here I am………because I couldn’t NOT come.

It was on a Sunday then too…..FOUR years ago……I hugged his neck for the last time.

I didn’t know it would be the last time. How could I? He was fine. He was my rock. He was always going to be there… least for many more years.

But in an instant. A blocked artery. A fateful night. He was gone. So suddenly.

So I come. I come on the Sunday I saw him last. I come to remember, and to thank him for all his years.

I bend down. Surprised by the peace I feel. Surprised that the years passing really do make it easier. My hand rests on the hot stone.

We talk.

And it ends as it always ends. My heart emptying out my thankfulness for his goodness, for his love, and for his shining example of strength. His handicap taught me so much about always pushing forward with your head up – no matter what.

My God, if a crippled man could do life so well. I could too. I could learn from my mistakes. I could love myself in spite of my failures….in spite of my anxieties… spite of my overwhelming stress of doing too much, seeking too hard, and falling over my dreams in a rush.

I feel his pride in my soul. My strength. The reason I keep my head up.

Maybe he is gone. Maybe he isn’t.

The tears drop as I turn away. In a blur, the dry dirt swallows them.

I turn to see his view and I think…how perfect.

A beautiful setting for a beautiful soul.

I whisper as I walk away….I’ll see you again…..real soon. And I smile.

Remembering Dad

Two years ago, I lost my Dad.

It was unexpected. He was only sixty-three years old.

I am not one to question the timing of anything. I know there is a time and a season for everything…even our loved ones – as hard as that is.

I don’t want to be sad (there have been a few tears). I just want to commemorate his life, and the time I had with him.

I found this poem online, and it couldn’t be more perfect.

    A Perfect World
    by Ron Tranmer ©

    In a perfect world,
    death would never be.
    Love would be forever,
    and last eternally.

    In a perfect world,
    you’d still be by our side,
    lighting up our happy lives.
    You never would have died.

    In a perfect world,
    sadness would not be found.
    Love and life, and happiness
    forever would abound.

    Dad's OU blanket and Christmas fern.

    Perhaps that perfect world
    awaits us when we die.
    A world where eternal bliss
    is found in heaven’s sky.

    We’ll cling to faith and hope,
    for God is a God of love,
    and in His time we’ll join you
    in a perfect world above.

I miss laughing with you Dad. I can’t believe two years have passed. I think of you often, and know you are in my heart always.

“What the heart has once known, it shall never forget.” — Author unknown