I pushed open the door to the rural restaurant and the little bell above the door jingled. I had been on the road since six that morning. I was road weary, depleted, and in dire need of monounsaturated fat.
An older waitress glanced up from her smartphone and peered over her readers at me.
“Wherever you wanna sit, sweetie.”
I love it when they call me sweetie.
The joint was mostly empty so I chose a spot by the window because I like window seats. Plus, the doctor recently told me I needed more vitamin D in my life. Two birds; one rock.
Immediately I noticed the waitresses were using their downtime to deck the halls of this café. There were three waitresses involved in the impromptu beautification committee and they were hanging plastic Christmas decorations on each vertical surface.
I checked my internal calendar to make sure I had the date correct. It was barely the second week in November. But here in the hinterlands of Alabama it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
On my way to my window seat I passed an old guy at the counter wearing an Army ball cap, clad in a cook’s apron. He was holding a broken ceramic figurine in his hand, squinting at it, using a tube of super glue to repair it.
A henna-haired waitress hollered at him.
“You finished gluing my little drummer boy back together? My manger scene ain’t right without it.”
Army Hat held the figurine up to the light.
“Almost done,” he said before squirting more glue. “What happened to this thing anyway?”
“My three-year-old son happened to it,” said Henna Hair.
“Sounds like quite a kid.”
“You should see what he did to Baby Jesus.”
In my booth garland strung over the window and fake spray-snow covered the glass. I peered out the wintery window to see sunshine and robins singing in plush…