I mentioned on Face Book that after I had my blood drawn for routine blood work, that I’ve been putting off since last year, we went for bacon, eggs, toast, jelly, and coffee. Delicious after fasting since I got up two hours before.
The diner style café was one of a modern chain, but the clients at the table next to us gave it a down home, old timey feel. First there were three men sitting at the table talking, you get a lot of that in Florida during the week. We heard one man called Shorty. You could tell they had known each other a long time. For writers, a cardinal rule is: eavesdrop in public places whenever possible. You may even be able to take it off your taxes as research. (Not really). Anyhow, I heard one of them say something and the other answer, be careful you don’t get shot. Down here in Deep South Florida, we call that Red Neck talk, no offence.
An elderly couple came in. The man was pale and tottery. There was only one seat at the men’s table and the husband walked around to the empty chair while the wife went to the counter to order. To the tottery man, Shorty said, “You better sit down before you fall down.” I haven’t heard that since I was a child and I have never heard it spoken more appropriately. When the wife came back they offered to move a table, but she said, “No thanks, I’ll just sit here by myself.” She had her newspaper and therefore only had to listen to the parts of the conversation that interested her. A jolly waitress bustled over and set something in front of the tottery man.. “This is for you, sweetie, “she said. “You’ve got to eat something.” He said thank you and asked what it was. “Fried Pie,” said the waitress. That’s what I want when I get tottery, I thought.
“I got two coupons for those,” said Shorty not wanting to be left out.
“I’ll bring you some, honey,” said the waitress,” just as soon as they come out of the fryer.”
The men talked some more the way friends do. They casually mentioned their grandchildren. Then the woman at the next table took a page from her newspaper and offered it: “Anyone want to read the obits?” she asked.
A man took the paper from her and looked at it. “This isn’t the news, he said. “It’s the obituaries.” But then he set to reading it and silence reigned. “Edgar’s in here.” The man looked up. “He died at 83. There’s a whole page write-up on him.”
We left before they did. My dear husband who also must have been eavesdropping gave the tottery man his free coupon for fried pies. Everybody thought that was real nice of him. It felt good to be with just plain folks like the ones we came from and remain to be to this day. We wish them well. Fried pies, anyone?