It’s Monday morning and I’m a visitor.
I found a little restaurant on the north side of town. A row of picture windows across the front. It’s a concrete block building, a flat roof. The place was built back in the 1950’s. I’d bet it’s been painted white about a hundred and fifty times since then. Inside, maroon colored vinyl booths line the wall. The tables run from left to right.
The sign says they open at 6 every morning, including Sunday. There’s no WiFi.
I’m trying to get a cup of coffee and some toast. The menu sells Mom’s comfort food, morning, noon and night.
Back in the back, a group of old men drink coffee. Every cup is a white china mug. The waitress returns every five minutes with more coffee. They’ve pulled two tables together. There are six of them, holding court with each other. The sign at the doorway says “reserved.” They are laughing out loud. They must be sharing a lot of secrets.
The waitress leads me to a booth. I settle in.
Two booths away there’s another man. He’s got his whole world spread out in front of him. I see a newspaper, two notebooks, a cell phone, a pen and one of those yellow high-lighters for marking on paper. He’s not even drinking coffee. Just a glass of water on the side.
She brings my coffee and a glass of water. She sets the water on the side.
“Can I get you anything else?” I order my toast.
I sit there for a while. Two college girls come in. They claim a booth, order some eggs, biscuits and juice. They never stop talking to one another.
“He did this. I said that. He’s funny.”
“I know what you mean.”
The man gets up and leaves his “office”, taking his cell phone with him. He’s stands outside, I see him through the windows. It must have been an important phone call. He puts the phone down and comes back inside, settling into his office once more.
The coffee is good, some of the best I’ve had in a while. I don’t much care for the jelly that comes with my toast.
Another man comes in. He’s a lot younger, maybe in his early 30’s. He orders coffee as he walks in the door. This is not his first time here. He’s wearing jeans, plaid shirt and a heavy canvas jacket. His boots are muddy. He sits near the front door, close to the cash register.
He and the owner are talking about who is making the most money in town. Someone up the road has the Midas touch. Everything he touches makes him a million bucks or more and he’s touching all he can right now.
The two men laugh at what they are saying.
A husband and wife find the booth in front of me. They order ham and grits with biscuits. I hope they like the jelly.
America at its best!
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2 thoughts on “COFFEE AND TOAST”
Your stories often make me think of Joe McDonald.
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Mike, I had not thought about Joe in several years, but I do remember that I truly enjoyed his writing and his way with words. I may have learned more from his work than I thought. Hope all is good with you in Florida. Me, well, I’m still dealing with Pace. 🙂