Saturday, August 14, 2010

We Went Out for Breakfast

This morning Joyce and I dropped off one of the cars for a lube & oil change, then headed to breakfast. On our way to Cracker Barrel Joyce shared that she was looking forward to a quiet visit over breakfast. Now, those of you who've been to a "Cracker Barrel Restaurant & Country Store" (and who are therefore familiar with the acoustics of its dining rooms) are probably already sensing a conflict between Joyce's hankering for a Cracker Barrel breakfast and her hopes for a quiet visit.

We found the parking lot brimming with cars and the rocker-lined porch filled with walker-pushing patrons all conga-ing toward the front door. We joined the Xavier-Cugat-led procession and snaked our way past the front doors and through the racks of Halloween decorations which the wooden floor has so recently sprouted. Amid Maple Nut Goodies, Neccos and other vintage treats that festoon the hostess's station, the staff informed us there'd be a ten-minute wait. No problem -- we made a sharp 135-degree right turn toward the restroom alcove and thence perused our way to the far corner where one finds all the grandchild-worth garb.

No sooner had we noted that the stock of "bee" raiment (T-shirts embossed with imperatives like: "Bee Sweet", "Bee Good", etc.) was dwindling, than the god-in-the-rafters beckoned us return to the hostess station. So we again navigated that fifty-foot-long maze of festive ceramics, '60s-TV videos and near-stationary senior citizens -- but this time we managed it in a record two minutes. The hostess seated us next to the window in the far corner of the middle dining room, right behind the massive guy who very effectively blocked our view of the fireplace.

After a respectable period, the waitress (a cheerful Latina) came over and asked (over the din of forty simultaneous conversations): "Are joo reddy to orther?"

We were indeed. Joyce asked for the two-pecan-pancake deal and I ordered the "meat and eggs". But our prompt replies only extended the interrogation: "So wha woo joo lie to dreen?"

Joyce asked for water, but I (being the venturesome sort) requested milk, which of course prompted her to inquire: "Two person a hoe?"

I, of course, answered, "Hunh?"

So our kindly waitress (showing amazing patience with this deaf old man) leaned closer and repeated a little louder and slower: "Two-perSEN oh HOE?"

"Oh sorry. Whole milk, please."

"One carto oh two?"

"Are they half-pint cartons?"


"Two then.

"So how joo lie jur ecks kook?"

"Scrambled hard."

"Wi toes? ... or grizs?"

"With toast please."

"Bayco or sossaz?"


The longsuffering lady left, but soon returned with the correct order. I left her a nice tip.

After we'd left the restaurant (driving back to pick up the other car at the shop), Joyce and I laughed about how much more interesting what we hear is ... now that we can no longer hear.

I commented: "Well, at least we weren't the only elderly diners. The median age in there had to be over sixty. And did you notice, it was either groups of women or couples? There were lots of chatty women and not very many men. The ratio had to be three-to-one."

And naturally Joyce answered, "Who's Horatio?"