Cracker Barrel—I’m eating bacon and eggs. In the background: Ernest Tubb is singing about waltzing across Texas. I've been on an interstate all morning.
There is an old woman at a table near ours. She was here before my wife and I arrived. Her white hair is fixed up. She is wiry, wearing a nice zebra-striped Sunday blouse.
She smiles at me.
She is alone, sipping coffee. It doesn't take long to strike up chit-chat.
She has lines on her face, and a husky voice. She is from the old world. She calls me “sweetheart” twice in the same sentence.
And even though I don’t know her, I know her type. I'll bet she prepares chicken and dumplings that would make clergymen use the Lord’s name in vain.
She tells me that for most of her life, she’s been a mother and a wife.
Her husband died many years ago. She has two kids. A son, a daughter. She hardly sees either.
“My daughter and I are supposed to be having lunch today,” she tells me, looking at her watch.
“My grandbabies should be here any second. I can't WAIT to kiss them all.”
Those lucky grandbabies.
From what I learn, the aforementioned daughter and grandchildren lead busy lives. The grandkids stay occupied with soccer, baseball, ballet, mission trips, and various special activities that require special T-shirts.
The old girl tries to get together with them as often as she can. But schedules get in the way.
Last week, she decided to drive a few hours to attend her grandson’s soccer game. She packed her folding chair, her snacks, and arrived early.
She waited for one hour on the sidelines of an empty field. A maintenance man told her the game had been cancelled.
Nobody had told Granny.
The old woman’s purse starts ringing. She digs through it. Soon, she is talking on a flip phone. She’s using a voice…