It was a Monday evening at the Twin Rocks Cafe, and the flow of diners was light but steady. It was my shift until Steve closed the trading post at 6:00 p.m., whereupon he would take over and I could go home. I was casually sweeping dust bunnies from beneath unoccupied booths and visiting with patrons as I moved about. The soft golden glow of the late afternoon sun filtered through the interior of the restaurant in a warm, pleasant manner. As I worked, I enjoyed a low volume of easy listening music over the intercom and casual quips of soft spoken conversation surrounding me. Reaching the entrance of the cafe, I proceeded to clean the tile rug pattern inlaid on the floor. As I did, I noticed a cream colored Cadillac pull up near the front steps. A portly gentleman of approximately seventy years exited the vehicle. He had a full head of salt and pepper hair, wore a pink polo shirt snugly tucked into tan slacks and brown penny loafers, no socks. As I watched, the old boy limped his way up the steps and in through the glass doors.
Navajo Collage Basket - Peggy Black (#342)
Pushing his way inside, the guy spotted me and nearly shouted; "What are the odds I could get a menu?!" It was like a mini percussion grenade went off in the building. Our diners seemed to hunker down a bit, wincing from the impact of his amplified inquiry. "The odds are good!", I said handing him a menu. "Where are you from anyway, New York City?' "Close," he bellowed, "Brooklyn. How did you know?" "Lucky guess." I said, guiding him to a booth. "No, really," he queried, "how did you know?" "Well," I said, "Don't take this personally, but several people I have met from "the City" can be rather . . . loud. That, your accent and your license plate clued me in." The man guffawed hardily and said " Where I come from you have to be loud to be heard." "Well," I replied, "here people appreciate the sound of silence." The man laughed again, this time at a slightly lower decibel. He then settled into the booth and bent to study the menu.
A few minutes later, as I was brooming my way toward the back dining area, the man waved me over and pointed to a particular portion of the menu. In a hushed, almost conspiratorial, voice he asked a question. Because of his unexpected tone, I did not hear his query. I stood there looking at him, confused and wondering if he had taken my comment about his clamorous nature to heart. Had he made a life altering decision to change his boisterous ways right then and there? The man gave me a frustrated look and waved me closer. "What are the odds that these marinated steaks are tender?" he whispered, "I just got new teeth and can't tolerate a tough steak." "Oh," I said, " the odds are very good, I haven't had a bad one yet." "Excellent!" he boomed, making me and everyone around us jump. "Give me the 6 oz. marinated steak." I looked to Tara, our server, who gave me the "I got it" nod and began punching in the order.
The "New Yorker" kept up an amplified dialog all through dinner, dominating the atmosphere of the entire restaurant. The steak proved tender, and the guy was happy with his meal. The one good thing about his outspoken attitude was that everyone coming and going knew of his contentment. As he came to the register to pay the bill he leaned in close and whispered, "Thanks for that steak, one day you too will loose your teeth and need some tender vittles." "Not me", I told him, "I just visited the dentist and he assured me my teeth would go in the box with me. I worry about a few other body parts, but my teeth are sound." "What are the odds?" he boomed, making me and everyone around us jump again. "What are the odds?" I said as I waved him out the door.
With warm regards,
Barry, Steve and The Team
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