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Food and Family

Written By: Lauren Howard

When my dad passed, we did a tour of all of the places that he liked to go. 

It just made us feel closer to him, I think. 

There was nothing my dad liked more than food—not even me, and I was his self-proclaimed favorite child. 

There was a long list of restaurants that we had to stop into. 

He had a habit of becoming a regular and getting to know everyone there. He had the servers he sat with often, and they all knew his favorite dishes. 

Everyone, no matter how they knew him, called him Doc, and Doc was welcome any time. 

We stopped into one of his favorite restaurants, a historic Cuban restaurant by his house, a few days after he passed. When we got to the host stand, I saw his picture from his obituary peeking out from under the plexiglass that covered the table layout. 

We sat and visited for a long time. When we went to pay, they wouldn’t bring a bill. 

“Nah. You’re family.” 

I was shocked and tried to pay anyway, but they refused. 

A few days later, we went to one of the finer establishments on his list. It’s a pretty business-oriented restaurant that manages large parties for conventions, but we did all of our family stuff there. I brought the baby for the first time, and they took her around the restaurant to meet everyone. We ate and enjoyed and got to spend time with people who had been at my baby shower, our office Christmas party, and my dad’s 75th birthday party because they had hosted all of them. 

Again, we went to pay. And again, “Nah. You’re family.” 

It was like they had all consorted beforehand and used the same line everywhere we went. 

I mean, they hadn’t, but it felt like it. 

When we went to his favorite Mexican place not long after?

“Nah. You’re family.” 

“What the heck??” I said to the manager. This was the person he knew least out of the whole bunch and she still wouldn’t take our money. “Why does this keep happening?” 

She got a little misty-eyed.

“When my son was in trouble, like BAD trouble, I called your dad and he answered. He told me what to do. He told me how to help him, and he didn’t try to make me feel better. He told me it was going to be hard but that it was the right thing to do. He told me that it wasn’t my fault but that this was going to feel nearly impossible and that I had to do it anyway. And then he listened. He listened for what felt like forever.” 

I have since found out that just about everyone had a story like that that I never knew because he never told anyone, even me. He just did it. 

Live your life in such a way that no one will take your family’s money. 

That’s the goal. 


Founder & CEO at elletwo

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