they sit alone nursing a cup of coffee, for all the world lost in their own thoughts, their own reveries.
for some reason, they smile quietly at the punch line, smile knowingly at a witticism, usually never raising their heads.
i used to eat lunch at the sportsman's cafe in yakima, washington. almost every day mike hudson would announce his presence by shouting for all the lunch counter to hear, "a 13 inch dong and a bushel basket full of balls, and you're asking me how i feel?" what can you do, you offer him a seat and say, hi!, mike.
we began to notice her increasingly frequent presence at lunch, at a little table in a window nook at the front of the store near the door, and just as the end of the lunch counter. she came in, assisted by her walker, unwrapped an afghan to ward off the cold, and took a bowl of soup and some coffee almost every day. she sat with no one, said very little.
and, we carried on. one day hudson ordered beef tips over noodles, the special of the day. his plate arrived, and soon he complained loudly to jackie ortieg, cook & daughter of the owners, "hey, jackie, this stuff doesn't have enough tips."
jackie stomped out, got his plate, stomped back into the kitchen. soon, we could see the fur flying above hudson's plate. mashed potatoes. olives. she stomped back out to the counter, and slapped down a plate in front of hudson. the plate had two nicely formed and compact round mounds of mashed spuds, with a decorative olive on top. two little breasts, replete with nipples. jackie shouted, to everyone in the place, "here, mike, enough tits for you. that's more than you'll see this week."
the place roared.
i looked down to the end of the bar. the little lady was sitting there, leaning over her soup blowing at a spoonful, with the slyest little grin i had ever seen. a connoisseur, relishing every delicious moment in a very satisfying dining experience. from that day forward, i would stop on my way out to wish her well, occasionally to make an inquiry if she needed a ride in inclement weather. she always said no, that the walk was good for her.
i was reminded of her this morning at heather's ("a wee bit o' heather's," officially.)
a fellow sat by himself at a table, leaning over a cup of coffee between both hands, warming them. four of us sat at a table, listening to larry spin one of his yarns, and twitting him all the while. as we got up to leave, i looked over at the man, who was bent over his coffee, with a little grin on his face.
john jay @ 11.19.2012
p.s. some do not smile. they are the dangerous ones. they are not there for the enjoyment. they give no tells.